Sunday 8 January 2017

Things are fine up north

To most Australians, England is quite small. Having finished up at Hastings' Harry and I have now travelled up to Yorkshire and are playing in the 4NCL Congress in Harrogate. It took us around 4 and a half hours by train, was a pleasant journey, and we hardly noticed the travel. Based on conversations with locals however, this seems to be a significant journey, even if the distance is probably the equivalent of Canberra to Dubbo.
The Congress is a 5 round FIDE rated swiss divided into 3 sections. It seems to be a small-ish congress (typical of tournament you can find in the UK on most weekends) but still has attracted 133 players. The equivalent kind of event in Australia might have a field of between 40 and 60 players for comparison. The schedule is 1-2-2, starting on Friday night, although a significant number of half point byes were taken for that round. The only odd thing about the tournament is that each tournament has the same value of prizes, so winning the Minor will earn you as much as winning the Open (which happens a lot in the UK I am told).
Finally, the venue is fantastic. It is being held in the Old Swan Hotel in Harrogate, which for fans of detective fiction is notable as the hotel where Agatha Christie was found after going missing in 1926. Comfortable playing rooms, good lighting, and very posh amenities.

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