– from Peter Purland
We had 18 players and two leaders on our annual trip to the Tournament of Young Talents this year. These were; Daniel Abbas, Gautam Jain, Dylan Hung, Hector Huser, John Croasdale, Harry Croasdale, Dominic Klingher, James Moreby, Nugith Jayawarna, David Xu, Jamie MacDonald, Prashast Vir, Micahel Ashworth, Robert Ashworth, Joesph Dalton, Thomas Finn, Saaras Mehan, Pavel Asenov). We flew Ryan Air to Ostrava, which proved far easier than going via Prague. On our arrival in Ostrava we were met by our English speaking guide Vasekand settled in.
Wednesday was a social day We set off for the Landek Coalmine just outside of Ostrava. The boys found this very interesting, and were a credit to us, as they listened very well to Daniel our English speaking tour guide. We then went to the New City Hall in Moravska, Ostrava, this has a tower constructed of glassed steel with a copper plate. We went up to the viewing platform which on a good day you can see the Beskydy and Jeseniky mountains from the 73 metres high terrace. There is a fountain with a statue of Icarus in front of City Hall, which is the third biggest bronze statue in the Czech Republic We then managed to fit in ½ shopping at the Avion shopping centre. 13 of the boys then went swimming, we had the sole use of the swimming pool, which also had a whirl pool. We then had a late evening meal, team talk, and then early night. The chess took place from Thursday to Monday with Saturday afternoon off and, as well as getting some very creditable scores in the chess we drew with Belarus at soccer (their ref!), visited the old square at Frydek and played more soccer with some Russians we had befriended.
Saturday afternoon there were chess related activities going on, and 6 of us played in the simultaneous against GM Sergej Movsesjan and WGM Julia Kochetkova. Daniel, Joseph and Gautam had wins against the GM. We then watched a cultural show on the stage with 4 men showing us their experiences of using swords made of bamboo, this was called ‘Kendo’, and a lazer lighting display, which was very good.
We were all prepared for the last round, (computers etc had been in use during the evenings) and at 10.50 Dominic was the first out of his game, beaming all over his face “I’ve won the tournament” he said, with a fantastic score of 7/8, the U15’s had their best overall score of the tournament of 8½, and the Under 12’s – 4. The boys really had done extremely well, with all of the U12’s reaching, and most exceeding their personal target, and nearly all of the U15’s reaching their personal target. Prize giving was at 13.00, with Dominic winning the U12’s and won a tablet, Nugith came 3rd and won a chess set and book, Daniel came 3rd in the U15’s and also won a chess set and a book, with Prashast also winning a suitcase (how were going to get that one home?), and Thomas winning a watch and jigsaw in the draw. Overall our ‘team 2’ came 3rd and won a cake that Dawn carried very carefully back to the hotel and all shared. After all this excitement, we then met with Vasek and Kate, and went ten pin bowling. The bowling alley opened especially for us as it was Bank Holiday Monday, and usually they are closed, so we had the whole 4 lanes to use between us. A good time was had by everyone, they even managed to order some chips while we were there, first chips in a week, you should have seen their faces.
After our evening meal, Victor took us on a walk to Mistek Square, and we had a small history lesson. We then returned to the hotel to pack. We had a lie on the last day as we were not having breakfast until 08.30! After breakfast we met with Vasek again and were taken by coach to the Tatra factory. We saw Stalin’s car that he was given for his 70th birthday, and Hitler’s snowmobile. We then had lunch and then visited the Zbrasov Aragnite Caves, they are the only show caves of hydrothermal origin in Czech Republic, we saw stalagmites and stalactites, little shrublets of aragonite and ‘doughnuts’ covering the walls. Near the caves is the deepest abyss in the Czech Republic (The Hranice Abyss, 289,5 m). We then had time for ½ shopping for some food before heading for the airport and home.