Halfway Home

US players and coaches pose for a team picture.  The US has the largest delegation with 94 players.
US players and coaches pose for a team picture. The US has the largest delegation with 94 players (many are not pictured here as it is difficult to get everyone together).

We are getting to know more of the American players here, which is wonderful for team camaraderie, opportunities to practice chess, and of course, tossing the football, but it is leaving me less time for blog posting (and more to write about!)  I have added in a number of pictures to older posts, so be sure to scroll through and take them in.

Back:  Kevin Chor, Henry Hawthorne, Ethan Pau, Balaji Damalapati, ??  Front: Andrew Teng, Logan?, ?, Drew Justice
Back: Henry Hawthorne, Ethan Pau, Balaji Daggupati, Harvey Zhu.   Front:  Kevin Chor,  Andrew Tang, Logan Wu, Eddie Wei, Drew Justice

Yesterday’s second game brought a much tougher opponent than his  first game of the day.  Drew was paired against an American, Atreya Vaidya from Texas.  Atreya is playing his second WYCC, having competed last year in Slovenia. (The word on the street is that the tournament in Slovenia was much more well-organized and ran much more smoothly than here in UAE.) With a solid FIDE rating and a USCF rating about 500 points higher than Drew’s, we knew that Atreya would be difficult to beat.  Once again, there was not much time for preparation.  We were able to locate games on chess-db, and Drew studied these on his own before trekking to the tournament hall for a 4 pm start.  The game lasted almost four hours, and Drew played well, but he came away with a loss in round 5.

Drew shakes hands with opponent Atreya Vaidya from Texas before their game.
Drew shakes hands with opponent Atreya Vaidya from Texas before their game.

Link to round 5 game:

http://www.chessvideos.tv/chess-game-replayer.php?id=87694

Drew was able to get a good night’s rest — he has always been one who was asleep by the time his head hit the pillow — and felt good going into round 6 paired against an opponent from Saudi Arabia.  In chess tournaments, players are typically paired against someone with the same or similar number of points.  With wins in rounds 3 and 5, Drew had garnered two points thus far in the tournament. His opponent also had two points:  one bye and one forfeit win.  Magesh prepared Drew for some opening traps during the am coaching session and then we escaped campus to visit the Bawadi Mall for a change of pace.

I have never seen Zoe smile so big about a piece of cheese pizza!
I have never seen Zoe smile so big about a piece of cheese pizza!
This picture speaks for itself! While eating in the food court, we met a couple who live in Hiram, GA -- very close to home!
This picture speaks for itself! While eating in the food court, we met a couple who live in Hiram, GA — very close to home!
Another taste of home!
Yum!!

After returning to campus, Drew and I boarded a packed bus to head to the tournament hall.  I had just gotten set up in the skittles area to do some writing when Drew came bouncing in, only 35 minutes into the round.  He won in 18 moves.

Abdalla Mezin told us that his parents are Iraqi, but that he has lived his whole life in UAE.
Abdalla Mezin told us that his parents are Iraqi, but that he has lived his whole life in UAE.  He is competing for Saudi Arabia in the tournament.

We are just over halfway though the trip and the tournament.  With six games down and five to go, it is

Drew vs. Middle East:  3-0                          Drew vs. Rest of World:  0-3

Hopefully he can even the score against the “world” in the days to come.

Round 6 game:

www.chessvideos.tv/chess-game-replayer.php?id=87701

Round 6 puzzle:  White to move and mate in 2

Answer to puzzle:

1.  Bg4+  Ke7  2.  exf6#

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One thought on “Halfway Home”

  1. Love reading your beautifully written posts and love looking at your photos! What an experience you all are having! Zoe, how was the cheese pizza? So proud of you Drew! Mrs. B.

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