Our deepest thanks to Jenni Oliver for sending us a copy of Michael Brown's updates from Georgia whose son, Andrew, is a participant in the World Youth Championships. For easier reading, we're not going to blockquote the text.
By Michael Brown
Yesterday as I said goodbye to Andrew and he went into the playing hall there was a beaut scene that I'll remember for a long time. As I watched Andrew go in, his 2nd Azerbaijani opponent - the one who had outplayed Andrew for most of the game a few rounds ago but had been stunned and left open-mounted by a sudden somewhat lucky checkmate - saw Andrew coming and raced across to Andrew with a great big smile and handshake and then they entered into one of those "gestures conversations" as they had no common language as they walked in together. Given that the Azerbaijani boy, who looked like about half Andrew's size, could be expected to have rued his missed opportunity against Andrew, I thought that was a beaut gesture - great to see.
The Australian team put in a shocker in yesterday's 9th round (2 wins, 4 draws, 10 losses for 25%) and Andrew put in an absolute shocker. Every one of the older players (U12, U14, U16 and U18) lost except for Angela Song,who drew. The good news is U8 Cedric Koh's form - he is on 5.5 from 9, having strung together 4.5 from his last 5 games. He now has 1/2 a point more than Raymond Song! Today's 10th round, now underway, is bound to be better! Andrew is on 4.5 from 9,and Megan Setiabudi is on 3 from 9. There is some mental fatigue around.
Andrew and I enjoyed some tennis yesterday afternoon. The courts we've been using are tournament-standard courts - which doesn't stop us hitting the ball over the wall from time to time!
I am enjoying many things here that strangely remind me of my childhood in Korea in the 1960s and early 1970s. Figs, chestnuts, persimmons, little muscatel grapes. Given that Korea was then a 3rd-world country, other things here that remind me of Korea of 34-46 years ago are the tiny little street stalls that make you wonder how on earth people eke out a living, and the state of the roads and buildings.
Overnight it rained. More furniture rearrangement in our room so that the steady drip from the ceiling hit the edge of my bed rather than the middle.
The thought occurred to me that maybe this hotel isn't real. Maybe it's one of those Hollywood facades, put up temporarily. Maybe as soon as we leave this weekend the cardboard will all be folded up and there'll be a vacant lot once again.
Yesterday I saw the Gregorian (Armenian) church; a gallery; the aquarium; and a museum. The museum was certainly worth a visit. Once again there was a 5 staff to 1 visitor (ie me) ratio.
That's all my news for the moment.
After 10 rounds, Cedric Koh, playing in the U8 boys section, is the highest scorer amongst the Aussies on 6.5 points. The last 4 rounds were all wins for Cediric. Raymond Song is on 6 points, a run that included a string of 3 straight losses from the 7th to the 9th rounds. The rest of the Australian tally is available here.