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Wellington Rapidplay

I finished on 3/6 in the major. It wasn't a complete disaster of a tourney for me. Time controls were rapidplay - 25 minutes each with a 5 second time bonus.

I lost from a winning position in round one (another King and pawn ending I'm afraid, clearly something I need to work on after the week I'd had!).

Round two saw me get off the mark with a decent win.

Round three was a draw where I was defending an awful position, having lost a rook for a knight. My opponent was significantly lower rated than me but played like fritz in order to win the exchange.

In round four, I managed to get a good position and then completely lost the plot before having to give my queen up for two knights in order to avoid a checkmate. I fought on for a while and even got some counterplay but sensible defending from my opponent bought him the full point.

In round five I was playing IM Malcolm Pein's son (yes, had you going there!!) - He's a strong junior player and I had an advantage all game but was unable to convert to a win so... drawn.

In round six I got away with it a bit when my opponent missed a clear winning line in the opening. After re-composing myself, I managed to get it together and finish with a win.

The whole tournament was well organised and played in good spirits. This is the first of a series of rapidplay/training weekends organised by Nick Pert (GM). Food was provided and the venue was nothing short of excellent.

The Sunday was a training day with two separate classes - one more aimed at beginners where they looked at the Sicilian defense and Nick's class which was a demonstration of some of his games where he put questions to the class at various points.

Nick proved himself to be a worthy teacher, mixing humour with some absolute super sharp analysis, without having to refer to his notes despite the hundreds of "useful move" suggestions being fired at him. In the afternoon, I had the pleasure of losing to Nick in what was a reasonably level game during a simul. I enjoyed the game immensely right up to the point where I made my usual one move blunder which cost me a rook. The sort of move that a beginner would have been able to avoid!

All in all, this was an excellent weekend and for £50 for the two days (included the rapidplay with prize money plus the training day plus being fed and watered) represented fantastic value. I probably shouldn't be blogging this because these weekends could otherwise become a well guarded secret!

On top of the above, for this initial event and the next three, additional coaching funds have been made available to junior players attending the training day. On this occasion, each junior was awarded £33 worth of coaching which can be reclaimed meaning, essentially, for juniors taking part, the weekend cost a mere £17! I understand these funds are available for the next three events and are split between junior players attending the training. The funds available are £300 per weekend and there were 9 juniors attending the training session.

Even though I didn't smother myself in glory, it was great for me as a coach since we also had presentations from the ECF junior chess director Phil Ehr and a sports psychologist (and top former amateur competitor) David Openshaw.

The weather played a part in that not all of the other trainers could make the venue on the Sunday however, this did not spoil a very enjoyable weekend and although Nick expressed his concerns that everything hadn't gone according to plan, I have to say, hand on heart, that this was one of the most useful chess experiences I have had to date. The big question... would this weekend revitalise my own season which has turned somewhat stale so far?......

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