Danny’s currently going pretty well in the British Championships. Let’s hope it finishes better for him than the recent Scottish event!
In a sense the Scottish Championships was a typical chess tournament for me. I started well, had a good middle of the tournament but just couldn’t close it out. It was very similar to the 2015 British championships. I felt like I played the best chess of anyone there but it wasn’t reflected in the final result. Time and again my poor nervous control let me down. In round one though it wasn’t so much bad nerves as a certain amount of rustiness that caused me to draw a game I really should have won.
Despite this draw with Abrahams I remained optimistic. I felt my game was in good shape and another thing in my favour is that historically I have a good record in tournaments in Scotland. Sometimes you just feel at home in a place. Glasgow had a mixed reputation in days gone by because of links to gangland violence, but if you ever get the chance I suggest you visit the city.
It’s a fine place and I was staying just off the famous Sauchiehall street, in a youth hostel in a single room. So there was plenty of different places to go out and eat. I rarely got bored, even with not that many people to socialise with. My best game was surely in round three against Roddy McKay.
I actually felt pretty sharp throughout the event and felt in pretty good form. I was working hard during the rounds which I must admit took it’s toll, because I took some quick draws in situations where I probably should have played on. For example against Arkahamia, I’m white and I’m half a point behind and I offer a draw. This is more than fatigue though, this is a psychological weakness.
In round eight I got back on track with another nice finish against Bryson.
The final day turned into a nightmare for me. I drew my game quite quickly. My opponent was a 21 year old Estonian who was probably underrated at 2200. I felt afterwards he was about 2300. I played the Grunfeld and drew and went down the pub and got progressively more and more drunk. It didn’t help that I had a bet on Patrick reed each way in the golf and that messed up as well.
By the time I came out of the pub I was steaming. I ran into Kurt Moreby and his son James and Kurt was complaining that James he didn’t win a prize. I didn’t care about though if I’m honest, all I cared about was how Turner got on. He won. Even worse, Arkahamia won as well thus catching me on 7/9. Even less money. The fact that Arkahamia clearly deserved to take a high placing, because she already proved she was one of the best players in the event, also meaned little to me. The red mist was now descending. Weeks and months of shit. Just being crapped on over and over.
It all boiled over and I flew into an utter rage. I started losing it outside the venue and I only just about calmed down enough to attend the prize giving. Embarrassing and it brought it back to me how I should probably be giving up alcohol for good. I’m the loveliest guy you could ever meet, but put a drink inside me and I turn into an animal, a monster. It’s very sad.
So I finished up with 750 and equal second which in some ways was very good, but in other ways just left me with a sore taste in my mouth, because I felt like I played the best chess there and deserved more. But until I break out of this cycle where I’ve got no money, and worried that a loss will leave me completely out of pocket, I’ll probably still be stuck in this shit world.
Danny Gormally is a talented English Grandmaster. He lives in the bustling market town of Alnwick, somewhere near Scotland.
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