Not the annoying flying insects, the not at all annoying national othello championship. Sorry I didn't post anything yesterday, but Geoff and Michael were staying over and I still don't like blogging when someone's watching me. I don't know why, seeing as I'm aware that people are going read what I'm writing anyway. Still, I'm not sure I was a perfect host, as shown by the following conversation when Michael asked for black coffee:
Me: Oh, there isn't any. I normally keep some in the house for guests, but I took it down to the community centre so we'd have something to drink at the tournament, and it's still there. Ditto milk, sugar and tea.
Michael: What is there to drink, then?
Michael: Fine. (going to the sink)
Me: Oh, also, the cold tap doesn't work.
Well, I never claimed this was the Ritz. Anyway, the competition all went fine - I had been worried that the venue, a cheap and somewhat shabby but extremely nice community centre not too far from the city centre, would have cancelled my booking, even though I called on Friday to confirm that it was still happening, or would otherwise take exception to us, but no, it was all okay. I must be a great organiser after all. We had the AGM before the championship started, which was as exciting as usual. Graham filled in as chairman while Aubrey's busy in America promoting his new book (just for a change - I think this is the fifth year in a row that we've called on Graham's services as official Acting Something-Or-Other).
By the time the competition was ready to start, we had a whopping 18 competitors. This forced me to cycle home and get another board, but we didn't start too late - luckily, really, since we only had the room till six before we had to make way for a live 'guitar vocalist'. Among the 18, just for maximum confusion value, were two Davids, two Jeremys, two Roberts and two Ians (well, one Ian and one Iain, but that's not a big help when you're reading out names). I think some othello players need to splash out on a name change to something more exotic and unique, like Imre or Aubrey.
I lost to Imre in round one, disappointingly enough - three wins in a row against him would have been something to really boast about - but made up for it with a really cool win against Michael in the third round. I've never done that before. Now I just need to work out how to beat Graham some time. Geoff's got the knack of that - he beat Graham in round two, while Iain beat Imre. That pretty much set the standard for the tournament as a whole - it really wasn't one of those championships where the highest-rated players beat everyone below them on the rating list, there were upsets and surprises all over the place. Iain drew with David Hand in round three, so at the end of the first day David Beck was on his own at the top of the table with three wins.
We went to a Thai restaurant in the evening, it being the first place we could find that wasn't full up. Actually, it was nearly empty when we all piled in. The food was good, though, but the service wasn't what you would call exceptional. A surprisingly extensive discussion about coca-cola led to Jeremy Dyer learning that they do in fact still make cans of cherry coke, and my revelation that in Bahrain, the coke cans still have old-fashioned ringpulls.
Today, I didn't manage to follow up that win over Michael with any more impressive results, unless you count winning on time against Ian when I was well and truly dead on the board. Graham also beat me 63-1, just to teach me not to get too cocky. Elsewhere, David Hand rather impressively made it two draws in a row with his first game of the day against David Beck, who then beat Graham but lost to Iain, who took the lead after five rounds but then lost to Imre and Graham, Geoff and Jeremy Das. Geoff was in contention for the lead all the way through, as were both Davids and Michael. It was anyone's guess who would end up in the final, but normality reasserted itself at the last, and it ended up being Graham versus Imre, for about the 73rd time. Imre won for the (genuinely) ninth time. Congratulations to him!
We had lunch in the Dunkirk Tavern down the road from the venue. Their food selection turned out to be rather less extensive than I'd assumed it would be from the sign outside promising inexpensive Sunday roasts - it didn't add "and no other kinds of food" - but it was very nice. All in all, the whole thing went really well, and a fun time was had by all! So I needn't have worried about it all going wrong and me getting the blame.