Sunday, 10 July 2016

Antoine Favarel wins the Open De Vins 2016

Hourtin port

This is the first time I have played at the new venue, although it is the second edition. The chess charm of the Camping La Rochade is gone, with it's dedicated chess events all summer, activities such as Condi chess and the bookshop. Rike and Jules Armas sold their campsite a few years ago and the new owners, not being chessplayers, didn't appreciate our game. 

Now the new accomodation venue is the Village Western Camping which is not a chess campsite but specialises in Equestrian activities and has a wild west feel about it. Although the chess charm is missing it is a lot more professionally run (no offence Rike&Jules)  and has a lot more to offer to non chess players.

The new venue is a great improvement and although there are no goats or chickens in the adjacent paddock, there are plenty of cafe's restaurants, shops, playgounds and a lake beach where you can indulge in water sports like sailing or play mini-golf or hire a bike....etc 

Boats can also be hired from the port.

The bridge in the distance leads to Banana Island where dogs can be walked. 

And this is the Beach. No crocodiles and shallow so safe for bad swimmers.

You could get lost though. This lake is huge. 

Open De Vins 2016

Antoine Favarel scored an amazing 8.5/9 this year. He has been playing in this tournament since he has been a junior and I'm sure we have played several times. This is the first time I remember him beating me but it was well deserved. He also beat the other IM, Paul Velten, also with black. Here he is trying the side-saddle weigh in. He had to leave immediately after the prizegiving to make it to the first round of his next tournament in Condom which started later that afternoon.

Pablo Ollier scored 8/9 which is rarely not enough to win a tournament. His chess was good but his weight let him down. He got five bottles let than I although he got half his weight. 

And here you can see why.

Paul Velten, the top seed and 2013 winner didn't tip the scales much either.

Gilles Grelier was fifth with 5.5/9 and best local player

Sixth was taken by German international player Ursula Hielscher who played a great tournament but had an easy last round when her opponents phone switched itself on.

Rike Armas won the best female prize after missing the first two rounds because she was a volunteer at EURO2016. A remarkable performance as she also played organiser, announcer, and any other odd job that needed doing. She also has great taste in t-shirts :-)

Merlin Randrianaina looks happy with his junior prize.

Here some other junior prize winners choosing their game prizes.

The full results from round 9 are here. This tournament is planning to continue next year with a possible other one to follow immediately afterwards in Lesparre but thats just in the planning phase right now. I'll keep you informed.  

Round 9
My opponent in the last round is a local swashbuckling player who plays every year as far as I can tell. He played a very tough filed and was unlucky to be jumped over in the last two round as Jean had to play Favarel and yours truly.

He had a go, sacking a knight and it was a bit more dangerous than I thought. He should have held back with 16.Ng5+  and played Kh2 instead. Then it seems he had compensation. As it happened there was none and after the second piece fell he lost on time.

That's all for now folks, I hope you enjoyed the reports. I'm back in Australia, via Munich, on Friday to pollute young minds with wacky chess ideas :D

Friday, 8 July 2016

Bunkers of World War Two in Le Pin Sec and round 8


Over the years I have taken a lot of pictures of these bunkers and they change every year. They are battered by the elements and enhanced by local artists. This year the sand was high so a lot of them were quite low and it was not possible to walk inside. Also they were adorned with some new graffiti.

After the photo's we had a swim in the cool Atlantic. The waves were perfect for body surfing although this is a rare sport here. There are quite a few surfing schools but they all use boards. Wimps! :-)  

From the top of the dunes one can see the bunkers lining the beach.

Fresh water oozes from the bottom of the dunes creating a little ecosystem.

The closest bunker to the swimming area.

The other side.

This one is nearly under the sand now. They disappear and come back when storms wash the sand away.

The shade was on the other side so why spoil my photo?

There be Dragons!

One can still go inside this one.

This bunker is a different shape. The command centre?

Slowly but surely the sea is taking them apart.

Nina liked the Shark.

German Sheppard on guard duty?

Looks like half the mural is buried.

Gregor the surfing Dragon :D

Last one for today, thanks for looking.

Round 8

The target practice has started. Only Pablo Olliers is having some trouble. When I left he was in an unclear position against a determined 1900. There is hope :-)

My game was uneventful. My opponent had to jettison a pawn to get out of the bind and never got any counterplay, eventually losing on time. I guess that saved me some moves.

So one more round to survive (9am), a few bottles if I'm lucky and then back home. Tune in tomorrow for the final report. Toodles.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Open de Vins 2016 Round 7

We went to the Montalivet markets again, had a nice swim and bought some very nice food. I did manage to get a quarter of an hour of superficial preparation in but it was no great help. The game itself was my worst for quite a while.

Round 7

My first suspect decision came as early as move eleven when I played 11... Qg4 instead of the natural 11...Bg4. My thinking was that since endgames had gone well for me lately I would swap Queens early. Don't ask me why I changed my mind two moves later. My very next move 14...Bc3 was just a disaster after which good play from a strong young player, Pablo, was enough to make me look like a beginner.

The top seed lost as well so the titled players have all played each other with Antoine Favarel leading on 6.5/7, Pablo Ollier on 6/7, me on 5/7 and Paul Velten on 4.5/7. So now there's just two rounds of target practise left and unless one of us shoots themselves in the foot these should be the final standings. Mind you, all of us have bullet holes in our feet :-) Will keep you informed.

Tonight all of France was watching the Germany-France half final in the  Euro2016 soccer tournament. The atmosphere was very lively with lots of painted faces, flags, cheering and of course drinking. France won 2-0 so German tourists and those that spoke German or could be mistaken for Germans weren't lynched. Phew! 

Doubleroo gastronomic and accommodation review & Round 6

The new accommodation sponsor for the annual wine tournament is the Western Village camping and equestrian centre. While it doesn't have quite the chess family feel about it that Camping La Rochade had, it is nevertheless a nice place to stay. The grounds are very well kept and there is a plethora of activities, especially for kids.  

The office looks like the main bar in Tombstone and has a western themed counter at the reception. All kinds of wild west paraphernalia decorates the walls. 

There is a Main street with familiar names like Wells & Fargo and a Marshalls office (bike rental) and places to tether horses.

Water tower and wind pump.

And of course horses and ponies. They have riding courses, ponies for little kids and rides along the beach and through the forest.

The size of the Camping ground is quite amazing. This is the Indian village with tipi's that sleep eight! 

We are staying in one of there two bedroom mobile homes with bathroom and toilet. Very comfy.

If you are in the area I can definitely recommend this place, especially if you are into horses or Glamping. The bathrooms are spotlessly clean and the facilities are first class. The swimming pool is large and quite nice although with the lake and ocean nearby...

My only reservation is the shop. Two things annoyed me, one has to order croissants ahead of time and they don't stock full cream milk. Not a huge problem, there is a great bakery just a few minutes bike ride up the road in Hourtin and a fridge in our mobile home.

Round 6

I must stop playing total **** in the opening.  Had my opponent played 18. Re5, sacking the exchange I would have been really suffering. Instead he exchanged into a pawn up ending and offered a draw. Since I thought I could probably hold it (Karpov quote), I played on and on move (44.Bd6) he blundered, allowing me to trap his king on h6. 

We spent the evening watching the quarter finals of the Euro2016 football, first in the Bar L'escale which has a brilliant pizzeria next door and you can eat it in said bar. Really one of the best pizzas anywhere. Doubleroo gastronomic review gives it 5 stars, our highest possible rating.

Later amigoes, gotta go exploring :-)

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Open De Vins 2016 round 5

I woke up at 7.30am this morning (never a good idea) and walked down to the camping shop to buy some Pain Chocolate. The store opens early and gets a delivery form the local bakery. They had many trays of Croissants, Raisin swirls and Chocolate Pockets but I was unable to buy any as they were all reserved! Apparently you have to place an order. Very annoying.

So on my bike I hopped and made my way to the bakery, only barely avoiding a collision with a pedestrian. As I left I noticed lots of people near the Church so thought I'd go and check it out.

Hourtin is a traditional little town and has a Church in the centre square. In summer it is surrounded by a market with lots of local produce. At least no moneychangers :-)

Fruit and vegie stalls, butchers, cheese sellers, roast chicken, clothes, everything but candle stick makers. Maybe I missed them. 

Lunch was Oysters at the Montavivet markets, which were accessible today, being a Tuesday. We bought some Brebis blue cheese from the Basque region after tasting their offerings, had some Belgian chips and finished off with Arcachon Oysters and some local young white wine.

Unfortunately when we got back our area of the campsite was being trimmed so we had to have Linner (between Lunch and Dinner) with whipper-snipper music in the background.

And what about preparation? Not while I'm on holidays please!

Round 5

After much success with Larsens opening my run has come to an end. There was no problem with the opening and Stockfish gives me an advantage after 11.e4, which is the logical move, continuing to gain space. My artificial play was not disastrous but I had to play 16.Bh3. 17...Ne5 would have finished me immediately but Antoine waited a bit and played it on move twenty where it was even stronger.

Yes, a bad game and my first loss since round two of the Doeberl cup and thoroughly deserved. Less "creativity" is called for in the last four rounds.

So not a great day but they can't all be good. At least the tournament is exciting again for the spectators :-(

Monday, 4 July 2016

Open de Vins, Rounds 3&4 and Carcans plage

There was not a lot of time between rounds so we just went to a beach we had not seen before, Carcans. It is quite  a nice little town and close to Bordeaux but the parking area is a long way to the beach. Montalivet is still my favourite. With Le Pn Sec a close second. Nowthat the schedule is going to be a lot friendlier I plan to show you more of those two weather permitting.

It is a good 15 minute hike over the dunes to this point. Nina was itching to go in the water and led the way. We only had about half an hour to swim before we had to go back for the afternoon round.

Round 3

I am not a fan of morning rounds and meeting the top seed doesn't usually improve the day...unless one wins :-)

Paul Velten outrated the next three contenders by more than 100 rating points and was the clear favourite. He rattled off the opening moves without any hesitation, following my game with Moulthun Ly from the Churchie international until move six when he "improved" with 6...g6. I still don't quite get it as I played exactly the same plan, kept a slight edge (space) until he blundered badly with 25...f6 and lost shortly after.

Anyway, I am sure that I am misunderstanding something about the position but will wait until someone shows me.

Round 4

This was just a walk in the park. I prefer black by move six and by move ten...well judge for yourself. Looks lost to me. It got progressively worse and by move 19 my opponent just didn't feel like playing any more. Don't blame him.

AFter the game some friends came for a few drinks and it is now after midnight so you'll excuse me I'm sure if I get some sleep. Francoise and I plan to go looking for mushrooms tomorrow morning as the round starts at four in the afternoon, A demain :-) 

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Montalivet Markets, Soccer & Round 2

When the tournament schedule was announced it was not known that France would play Iceland in the quarter final of Euro 2016 so before the first round the players were asked if we minded playing an hour earlier. This is absolutely normal here and nobody objected. The repercussions were that we didn't really have enough time to eat oysters at the Montalivet markets because it was packed. Sunday, the first week of July and so on.

Round 2

Once again I tried to be too creative and deserved to go down in a screaming heap but lady luck was with me. of course I had to play the planned 17...Bc4 but at the last moment noticed that white had the clever exchange sac 18.Ne4 with plenty of compensation. much better than the garbage that eventuated. White still had a strong attack but material as well.

30. Bh8 and then 31.Be4 would have put me out of commission. Instead he took the exchange and allowed my two passed pawns to create havoc. I was happy about 59...Nf5 though :-)

I was one of the last to finish, the only puishment I got for my reckless play attempting to finish quickly so I can watch the football. There was still enough time to eat some dinner before the match. The bar was full of French supporters and I got strange (but friendly) looks when I was the only one cheering Icelands two goals. It may not go so well for me if I cheer German goals in the semi's on Thursday :D If you don't hear from me on Friday you will know why :D :D

Saturday, 2 July 2016

Open de Vins 2016 Round 1

So the wine tournament has moved closer to the beach and to a brand new venue. This is the second edition. I missed the first due to our trip up to the Cape.

Round 1.

My opponent was a club member of Naujac sur Mer so instead of just beating him, it was my obligation to teach him something as well :-)

My chosen exam was the Vienna. Every amateur needs to learn that the only acceptable reply is 3....d5

Now I'd love to stay and chat but am being harassed to drive to town to watch the football,
Germany v Italy. Gotta admit, am a Germany fan :-)

Later Amigoes