Monday, March 30, 2015


Saturday was the traditional clashing-with-the-US-Memory-Championship othello regional in Oadby, and since a trip to New York is too expensive (it's still open to Americans only), I took the train to Leicester and the bike out to the traditional Baptist church venue. The pub down the road where we always used to go to lunch has closed since I was last there (apparently it was also closed last year, when I must have been doing something else that weekend), but otherwise very little changes. Eight competitors, including organiser Steve Rowe - Imre Leader, Phil Marson, Iain Barrass, Roy Arnold, Ken Stevenson and Ken's son Neil, who was the British Champion in 1985 and hadn't played for around 25 years. I played pretty terribly throughout, which is what happens when you don't play a single game since the nationals last year (the two othello tournaments in between happened on the two weekends I was in China), though I somehow beat Phil in a way that I'll have to analyse on Zebra to see what happened.

The thing about that list of competitors is that they've all been coming to othello tournaments for a fair bit longer than I have (Steve I think predates me by a year or so; the others by at least a decade), and I've been around for quite a long time now. Like 16 years or so, in fact. I can't help wondering if our attempts to encourage new players to take up the game need a bit of work. While we've got Imre with his unfailing excitement over every game, pointing out great moves and playing through possible alternate lines for hours thereafter, I don't think the game's ever going to die out from lack of interest, but we really could do with attracting a few more newbies...

Imre won, 7 out of 7, Phil beat Iain in the last game to put them both on 5, Neil obviously wasn't too out of practice on 4, me and Steve on 3, Roy on 1 and Ken on 0. I need to get back in the habit of playing online, that'll get my brain working again.

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