It's just 10 to 8AM and I'm barely into my croissant. I've just managed to drag myself out of bed with a mild hangover. A few drinks with a couple of IMs last night didn't help. Good food, good conversations, including about prosthetic shlongs, was excellent fun. We'll do again apparently tomorrow, champers night in a pub across the players' hotel, so I'm looking forward to that.
As usual, a fairly easy going round yesterday for the top half of the field. But Kiwi visitor Vivian Smith spoiled the fun for local Malcolm Tredinnick. (Note that Malcolm also has pictures of last Jan's Gibraltar chess tournament here). For the grandmasters first rounds are more like quick warm ups. GM Rogers had only spent about 30 minutes of his time against Mike Canfell. And I'm sure I saw a little smile on Dejan Antic's face as he made a deadly move against Oleg Korenevski.
So easy are first rounds that some players even take the time to tell a joke. A friendly 2000+ Victorian pulled me aside and said something like: A man walks into surgery for a vasectomy. He is well-dressed, expensive suit, shoes, the lot. The doctor says to him, 'Why are you dressed up for a vasectomy?'. The man says, 'My mother always told me, that if you want to be important, you should always dress up'.
Get it? The joke sounds better with a Russian accent.
Other players take the time to show-off. Our friend from RP, Pinoy journo Marlon Bernardino wondered how my game was going. I'm not playing, I said. "And your game?" I asked him.
"Massacre!" was his reply.
Our readers may wonder if the SIO will present live games. The answer is they're making the effort. There was some sort of problem with the cabling or something was missing. Gary Bekker has been temporarily enlisted to see if he can help. Else, Brian Jones has considered some primitive methods of somehow relaying the moves on the net: via emails, for example.
Finally I should mention an interesting tidbit. It turns out that the NSWCA is a bronze sponsor of the SIO to the tune of $500. Half of that money is actually a personal contribution of association boss Bill Gletsos. TCG understands that this sponsorship has been criticised from a certain angle. I say that this is a ridiculous criticism and, on this occassion, the NSWCA and especially Bill deserve our congratulations.