They've cleverly redesigned the layout of the Kings Cross St Pancras tube station so that it takes five times longer to get to the trains than it used to, but even so, I managed to get to our new London Regional venue, the Sun public house, with plenty of time to spare. In contrast to previous London pubs that have hosted othello competitions, there was also somebody at the pub with a key to let us in at the agreed time.
David had booked the room but then been unable to be there and act as tournament director, so there had been a bit of a flap on the mailing list for the past week about who was going, whether it was worth having the competition at all, how we'd get clocks and boards there, etc. (the British Othello Federation does own lots of boards and clocks, but has yet to invent a good system of arranging to leave them with somebody who can bring them to the next tournament - when last heard of, half the clocks were in Imre's office and the other half in Steve Rowe's house). But everybody and everything that had been worried about turned up at the Sun. Lots of boards and pieces, lots of clocks (albeit most of them old-fashioned analogue ones and not the groovy digital clocks that we prefer), enough players to exactly cover the cost of the room hire (this is inconvenient for me, because it means I don't have to bank any money, and so when I come to put together the BOF's accounts in the autumn I'll think I've lost the London Regional's profits somewhere, forgetting that there weren't any), a laptop with a pairings program and everything we could possibly have needed.
Except transcript sheets. The tournament director brings transcript sheets for people to fill in, and nobody had so much as mentioned this on any of the internet forum discussions, so nobody had thought to bring any with them. Still, it turns out that modern technology allows us to create them and print them out at a place down the road from the Sun, so all was well in the end.
We had nine players, which is exactly the worst possible number for a seven-round swiss-system tournament. There's a bye, which nobody likes, and everybody plays all but one or two of the other players, which is just silly. But with not enough time to make it a nine-round round-robin, we just had to put up with it. And it all went very smoothly, we finished in ample time and there was a lot of excitement and intriguing results. Iain won, with Ian second, and I played uniformly badly throughout.
Lunch in the pub was interesting, too - the pub "does food", limited to a choice of pizzas or baguettes, but it turns out that when you order it, the pub phones up a pizza place down the road and orders a delivery for you. This unnecessary middleman did lead to us getting completely different pizzas from the ones we'd asked for, but never mind, pizza is always good food.
There was a bookie's just across the road, but I still didn't have a flutter on the Grand National.