Like almost every tournament, individual and team, we had missed opportunities and lucky breaks. And like in almost every event, it is the final rounds that determine one's performance. We got more points than we deserved against Mozambique in round 7 but returned the points in round 8.
Everyone is all smiles at the start.
The very patient and supportive parents
Members of the Malaysian team practising.
Coaching this team was rewarding, especially the evening postmortems. OUr preparation was limited because of the tight schedule and the fact the pairings only came out after 11pm. Also, not all players had many games to look at.
It is not possible to sit for 4 hours watching, so I had a chance to stroll around and watch some of the other games. One of the highlights was the board one game in Iran - India Blue. Black to play.
In our match, nothing went right. Hughston played a natural looking move in the opening that turned out to be a mistake (9.Rd1), followed by a tactical oversight two moves later. He fought on for a long time and was the last to finish, his opponent showed too much endgame class.
Isaac didn't understand the urgency of playing e5 or c5 in the opening around move 8 and suffered from space deprivation for the rest of the game. I am partly to blame for that as I advised him to play this solid system without explaining it properly.
I thought we had salvaged a point on board three when I saw the handshake with Gordon having an extra piece. He had played an excellent game. To my horror, I soon realised that a draw had been agreed. Gordon was on the increment, had a stomach ache and couldn't find a way to win so that explains it. When it rains.....
Brigitte Watkins played a great game only going astray late in the ending. I feel that if she had found the unnatural 22...Rfd8 with the idea of Nf8-g6 black is doing well.
The real disappointment, however, was that we got the bye in the last round. Oh well, win some, get the bye some :-(
Now just the closing ceremony to go and the bus is waiting...