Saturday, May 04, 2013

From white to black... then flip them back!

Othello in the spiritual home of the game (in Britain, at least), Cambridge! Having bought extra-cheap advance tickets (the ones that are only valid on the specific trains they're booked for), I was a little worried when I got to Loughborough in the early hours of the morning to hear an announcement that the train down to Ely had been cancelled. Luckily, a porter (or whatever you call the people who work at train stations) came hurrying over to the platform, waving his hands and assuring everyone that the train hadn't been cancelled, it was just the computer that controls announcements had misunderstood the situation. What had actually happened was that the train was redirected - rather than going through places like Oakham and Stamford, it had to go back to Nottingham and then down the other line to Peterborough, avoiding whatever emergency had closed down the line it was supposed to be running on. So it was only cancelled for people who wanted to go to places like Oakham and Stamford, and frankly, I went to Stamford once, and it's really really boring.

So I got to Cambridge no more than fifteen minutes later than I was supposed to, still with plenty of time to walk from the station to the city centre (a walk that takes nearly half an hour - the train station at Cambridge, as well as being impossible to travel to directly from anywhere, is situated a long way from Cambridge proper; legend has it that they planned it that way deliberately, to keep the riff-raff away from the nice place) before the advertised start time of 9:30.

The competition was in the traditional and awesome surroundings of the Junior Parlour of Trinity College, scenic views from the window, right next to the city centre, usually a musician or two outside on the street (it was a violinist today), and there were six of us playing - me, Imre, David Beck, Iain, Roy and Marie - plus Adelaide joining us for lunch. I was worried about finishing in time for my advance-ticket-mandated 17:12 departure, but as it turned out we had more than enough time for a round-robin of 20-minute games followed by a double round-robin of 5-minute ones, a good pub lunch incorporating a British Othello Federation committee meeting and a leisurely stroll back to the middle of nowhere to get to the train station!

Iain won the main tournament on tie-break from Imre, whose sole loss was against me - I've mentioned a few times before that I always somehow beat him, and today's game was a fine example that prompted me to ask "What happened there? I was completely dead, and then suddenly I realised that I was going to win!" Analysing it on the all-knowing computer program WZebra, it's quite fascinating, and I might blog about it at greater length this long weekend. I was well and truly trounced by David and Iain, though. Imre won the five-minute tournament with 8½ out of 10, and I could only manage four wins - it's been a long time since my last speed-othelloing at the MSO, however many years ago.

All in all, a fun day out, and now I've got a normal two-day weekend (albeit with the shops closing early) before I have to go back to work again!


Cheeky~Bandit said...

The busway from Huntingdon ( go closer to the venue than what trains to Cambridge do (first stop after the bus gate). It also has free wifi and power sockets.

Katy said...

Late catching up on my blog reading, but the local story I heard about the station location when I lived there was that the university wouldn't let them have any land nearer the centre of town because they didn't want it to be easy for the students to escape off to London.