© 1997-2024
John Saunders


BritBase.Info - British Chess Game Archive

What's New | Books | Software | Reviews | Computers | Sets & Boards | Equipment | Links | Calendar | Britbase | How to Find Us
Magazine Subscription | What's In the Mag | Secure Order | Bound Volumes | Map | Ornate Sets | Bridge | Go | Backgammon | Games

10th Monarch Assurance International Chess Tournament, 29 Sept - 7 Oct 2001


The Monarch Assurance 10th International Chess Tournament is being held at the Cherry Orchard Hotel, Port Erin, Isle of Man, from 29 September to Sunday 7 October 2001.

Return to Main Tournament Page

'HOT NEWS' from the Cherry Orchard: Saturday 29 September, 11.30am...


At 11.30am your webmaster was happily typing away at his keyboard when suddenly... WHHAAAAAAA! The hotel fire alarm goes off. Don't panic! Oh no, what do I take with me? Think! OK, wallet, glasses, coat... ah, and the camera! Troops downstairs where a long line of bewildered Russian grandmasters are straggling out to the car park...

There's nothing like a good fire alarm to break the ice at a hotel gathering. Soon the assembled hotel guests (in various stages of undress) were having an enjoyable get-together in front of the hotel, where tournament director Dennis Hemsley was busy checking off names on his clipboard.

Hebden, Gallagher and Williams
"The sun's out, we're in the car park - it doesn't get any better than this, does it?" Last year's winner GM Mark Hebden (left), British Champion GM Joe Gallagher (middle) and IM Simon Williams (right) are enjoying the unscheduled break from their first round preparation.

Glenn Flear
"I'm alright, Jack!" It's an interesting test of character to see what people rescue from their rooms when a hotel fire alarm goes off. Mrs Howell (middle) brought out her son, David Howell (left, bronze medallist in the Under 12s in the recent European Youth Championship). But Grandmaster Glenn Flear (right) made sure of his shopping bags, full of food!


Colin Crouch
"Barefoot in the (Car) Park" - IM Colin Crouch rescued only the clothes he stood up in (hmm - still in bed at 11.30am, Colin?) but he seems happy enough.

Fire Engine
"Love Me Tender" - Eek! There really is a fire? The fire tender draws up outside the Cherry Orchard, and lots of helmeted men pour into the building. But they soon gave the all-clear. Notice also the couple on the left of the tender, dressed only in swimsuits and towels. But they had their love to keep them warm and were seen kissing and cuddling on the pavement. I would have taken a close-up, but this is not that sort of web site. By the way, I'm entering the above caption for the BCF's new 'Pun of the Year' award (eat your heart out, John Henderson).

So - the news is 'no fire at the Cherry Orchard' - call back later and there may be some 'hot chess' to report on...

The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Webmaster
by John Saunders, on a rock somewhere in the Irish Sea, not quite incommunicado.

Cherry Orchard Playing Hall, Port Erin, Isle of Man
Before the battle... the playing hall awaits the competitors

It's great living in this modern age of worldwide telecommunications, isn't it? Where a man stranded in the middle of a desert simply has to pick up his mobile phone and dial his mum back home in England, who then alerts the relevant country's emergency services to go and rescue her son. So I would be OK with my mobile phone on the Isle of Man, then, wouldn't I? Nope. No signal of any description. Not a flicker. Try searching for another network... well, some names came up but they weren't at home to the desperate radio waves being beamed across the water by my particular example of electronic wizardry. Mayday, mayday! Is there anybody out there? Still, not to worry, there's always email. A couple of hours fiddling with the computer, and I finally found a way past the hotel switchboard (which, like that of every hotel I've ever come across, is more 'escape-proof' than Colditz). Real hi-tech stuff - lift the telephone receiver, dial the outside line code, and then click on the connection button as fast as possible. Don't knock it, it works... now all I have to do is to connect to BT Anytime... but what's this? It doesn't recognise the usual connection number. Number unobtainable! Yes, it might be 'anytime', but it is certainly not 'anyplace, anywhere' as in the Martini commercials. Is the Isle of Man in BTAnytime's catchment area? Er, no. My first double-question blunder of the tournament. Around this point I noticed a long disused icon on my computer desktop which purported to be another mode of connection. Try it? A triumph of hope over experience? I double-clicked... and to my amazement, in a matter of seconds the little green two-screen icon was blinking happily in the corner of the screen... I'm through... Compuserve 1, BT 0.

Well, that wasn't quite the end of the story. The connection was at a miserable 26k somethings per something. I'm not sure what the 'somethings' are, but I know that is horribly slow. But enough to upload the odd web page or two. We have a form of communication. I've since found a way to receive my emails, but not to send them. So, if subsequent web reports have things appended to the end of them, like "Dear Wife, Please send me some clean socks, Yours hubby", you'll understand why.

Enough moaning about telecomms, this isn't the fault of the hotel or the tournament. Everything else here is spot on. Genial tournament director Dennis Hemsley was on hand to greet every player as they arrived at the hotel, and the staff are incredibly friendly and helpful. Some of the players have braved various transport difficulties to get here but so far only top seed Sergei Tiviakov hasn't made it. Play starts in a few hours' time, so tune in tonight for the next update with results and game scores.

As well as Monarch Assurance plc, The Tournament is also sponsored by The Isle of Man Tourism, and The Cherry Orchard Hotel, plus the Erin Arts Centre, the Isle of Man Department of Tourism, Port Erin Commissioners and the Isle of Man Chess Association.

Tournament Director:
Dennis Hemsley