It’s inevitable that friendships, once formed, will be tested. As the World Schools 2012 is an individual championship and the rules have been set, the team now faces some of the tournament’s toughest hurdles – those which pit team-mates against each other and apply pressure to newly discovered friendships.
Yesterday’s round 4 match between Jake Liang and Joseph Dalton was no oddity. 3 more England-England games are scheduled for today. Sam Cobbold will play Alex van Lint, Luke Remus-Elliot will face Samuel McConnell, and Tai Remus-Elliot will face his best buddy, Joshua Altman.
In the case of Sam vs Alex, they have different coaches and live in opposite parts of England. Says alex, “I think its really bad, we came to play other people instead of our own team.” Sam says, “I don’t feel great because he’s one of my friends, but in the end it’s a game and we’ll still be good friends.”
From Luke, optimistically “At least he will speak English!” and from Samuel, a shrug and an “I’m not sure.”
For Tai and Joshua, they are both 8 years old and chums. They share a coach in GM Neil McDonald. The three spent the morning preparing together by going through some of Bobby Fischer’s best games, doing puzzles, and trying to laugh it off, perhaps a bit too hard. The players chime together a response in earnest “I want to win” when asked about their feelings. Neil reflects, “This is a world championship, a hard fought draw would be everyone’s best outcome – a nice, clean fight.”
Sun Tzu states timelessly in The Art of War, “He who knows when he can fight and when he cannot, will be victorious.” As the players all proudly sport their England t-shirts, it is hard not to notice the resemblance of the England flag they wear abreast to the universal symbol for a draw (index fingers crossed into a +)!
- Hillary Altman