The early signs were ominous. As I approached The Reform to set up for the inaugural Knights’ Tour, the heavens were tipping it down. The idea of a peripatetic competition in four locations does not lend itself easily to the sort of deluge that attacked me as I walked down Pall Mall.
However, no matter, I am a positive person, the weather can’t stop us having a good time, I thought. And then it dawned on me that I hadn’t a clue how to reset the wretched clocks.
As the players arrived into the Smoking Room of the Reform (the first room at the Reform to have outlawed smoking, just as the Coffee Room at the Club never used to serve coffee!) they were met with a bedraggled rain-sodden mechanically-obtuse individual wrestling with the devious devices that simply refused to be set at 30 minutes.
Eventually, with the invaluable help of David Openshaw the matter was resolved – although it was later discovered that I has set one clock for 30 hours rather than 30 minutes!
Clocks sorted, 26 hardy individuals not only braved the weather, but also arrived with impeccable punctuality.
For the record, the players were:
David Jones, Vivian Woodward, John Godfray (Oxford & Cambridge)
Andrew Havery, Konstantin Yelin, Jon Conlin, Paul Hendrick, Danny Rosenbaum (Reform)
Peter Lee, Nicholas Smedley (Athenaeum)
Alex Lynford, Janine Mackinlay, Sheldon Marshall, Henry Mutkin, Trevor Dunmore, Roland Saam (RAC)
Ian Reynolds, Peter Rust, Wil Ransome, Chris Waites, Keith Richardson, George Arthur, David Longrigg, Michael Clappe (MCC)
Robert Gordon (Hurlingham)
David Openshaw (Roehampton)
It was great good fortune that for the most part we were able to create teams that to some extent kept Club members together whilst at the same time ensured that nearly everyone one was able to get three good quality games in with players of their own level.
The aforementioned clock incident happened on Board 1 of Round 1 in the tussle between Chris Waites and David Openshaw.
Chris Waites’ pawns kept storming and in the end proving too much for David Openshaw, who had strong chances until the end. David has kindly sent a record of the match with a couple of comments – which you can access from this link. There is also photographic evidence of this game and others below.
Fortunately, by now it was just Chris’s pawns that were storming. Outside the weather gave up its tempestuous fit and inside all was running smoothly in the event.
In the end, two teams ended up with two match wins out of three and two teams finished with one match win out of three. Nobody went home empty-handed.
There was a fantastic convivial atmosphere all day and this continued over dinner in the wonderful Strangers Room at The Reform.
Over dinner a silent auction was held and Andrew Havery of The Reform, made a marvellously generous bid and walked away with a great Nette Robinson print, all in aid of the English Chess team.
At dinner there was widespread agreement that this should be the first of many Knights’ Tours.
Eagle-eyed readers will have noticed that in the past I misplaced my apostrophe! Many thanks to Peter Rust for his excellent suggestion to slot it in at the end.