ever delegation at World Youth Championships
Scotland sent its largest ever delegation to the World Youth Championships
in France in July 2005. Here is a report by one of the players, Amy
The World Youth Chess Championships were held from 18
29 July 2005 in Belfort, France. The Scottish party was bigger
than usual, having 14 players and 22 accompanying adults. The coaches
were Graeme Kafka and Esben Lund and the chaperone was Donna Officer.
The flights from Prestwick to Basel were pretty uneventful and our
little party of 17 were met by the bus and transported to Belfort where
we eventually met up with the rest of the Scottish group. On arrival
at the registration hall we waited and waited
for Donna to register the players and accompanying people. The crowds
were huge and the disorganisation was an experience. After about three
hours we were given the all clear and told to get our evening meal and
then we could get a bus to our hotel. In the meantime Jeremy and family
who were travelling by car failed to find the venue and after some frantic
searching and phoning they eventually gave up and went straight to the
hotel. The meals were served buffet style which meant long queues and
a lot of waiting. The food was pretty awful and there was not much choice.
Dont ever mention potato wedges to anyone who attended!!!!!
At last we arrived at our hotel to discover it was miles away from
the playing venue. The hotel was pretty basic and the rooms were damp,
smelly and not too clean. Some of the rooms were not good enough but
there were no alternatives to offer. My room had a massive damp patch
on the ceiling above my bed and it reminded me of The Grudge.
It was a very tired and unhappy party which fell asleep on night one!!!
Next day the sun was shining when we woke up for breakfast.
We hurried down to eat but were disappointed by the standard of food.
Breakfast was a croissant roll, bread, juice, tea or coffee. Then, onto
the bus for our journey to the playing venue.
We had to wait for the opening ceremony to start but that was delayed
so we just had to hang around for a couple of hours. The opening ceremony
was going to consist of all of the countries coming into the hall in
French alphabetical order, lined up behind their national flag. The
players had to go in through the back entrance which was basically,
a set of double doors. There was a disorganised rabble at the back entrance
so we literally had to shove our way through crowds of people to get
into the hall. During the two hour wait outside we saw something which
made everything that we had experienced so far look good!!! The players
toilets!! These consisted of
..wait for it
No water, no soap no chance!!! These toilets were
to be used by 1200 mixed sex players. The girls promptly decided that
there was no way that they were going to use toilets that boys had
on!! The new tactic was if you dont drink anything, you wont
need to go to the toilet, not the greatest thing to do in about 35 degrees
heat (no air-con in the hall!). Anyway, back to the opening ceremony.
We eventually got in, paraded around the hall, sat down and waited
and waited! Some players got a little bit bored (believe
it or not!!) and started playing friendlies against each other, only
to be told over the loudspeaker YOU WILL NOT PLAY CHESS!
Just remind me, where were we again????
The tournament began! Very quickly we settled into our daily routine
wake up, go to breakfast, preparation, bus, lunch, game, analysis,
dinner, bus, bed. There was no chance to see Belfort other than when
the bus drove through it. Despite all this we were having a brilliant
time! How can this be? It turned out that the worse things got, the
better we pulled together as a team! We made our own entertainment
and it rocked! We became brilliant tennis players, even
better singers and most important of all great friends! Esben
and Graeme were seeing to the chess side of things and proved to be
really encouraging and helpful. They worked long hours making sure that
we were fully prepared for our games and they helped to calm our frazzled
nerves, before and after our games. Graeme was even coached by our own
new talent Claire Officer! She taught him how to
lose a rook in an opening to a non-chess playing girl, and then how
to win a rook endgame, a rook down!! He was genuinely worried at one
stage! Notable performances on the chess playing front were by Ali Roy
who was on 3/3 at one stage, Steven Tweedie who was taking on the really
strong players and showing them who was the boss!! Okay, so he accepted
some help, before each of his games, Donna rubbed his arm and said Come
on son, youll be fine!
Because there was no real evening entertainment, (the last bus was
at 7pm and our village consisted of a hotel, a shop and a few houses)
we spent most evenings socialising in the restaurant. There was a table
football and a pinball machine and, of course, the inevitable blitz
games! The adults partook of some refreshments ;-P. However, the hotel
manager decided each night that we had to go to bed and he switched
the lights out at midnight. A couple of the players thought it might
be an idea to put on a talent contest! Anyone could put their name on
the programme and before long we had a full bill. Of course, some people
took it more seriously than others, there were varying degrees of rehearsals.
Ali, Ellys, Claire, Lynsey and I (aka Baby Spice, Sporty Spice, Scary
Spice, Posh Spice and Ginger Spice) decided to become the Spice Girls
for a night performing Wannabe. Brilliant performances
from Ivan Stokes with Love Me Do (singing to our judge
Lloyd!), Chris with his rendition of Dire Straits Romeo and Juliet,
Calum Wright and myself doing Sir Mixalots I Like Big Butts,
Steven and Graeme singing Tribute classic and Esben,
deodorant microphone and all, singing a Danish love-song! The winner
however, was a brilliant performance of Michael Jacksons Thriller
by Graeme complete with his girl Steven, and his dancers
Claire, Blair and Jonathan! We laughed so much we attracted the attention
of some Chinese tourist residents who came down to see what all the
noise was, by the end of the show they looked quite scared!! Many thanks
to our brilliant compere, Paul McDonald, and judge Lloyd Hughes (who
DOES accept bribes by the way!! ;-))
All too soon it was the end of the tournament, after a refreshing swim,
with LOVELY matching speedos, which certain boys (not mentioning names
of course!) went out and bought, it was time for the closing ceremony.
Which didnt disappoint us it was JUST as disorganised as
the rest of the tournament! Cue Connor I dont feel too good,
can we go! THANK-YOU!!!!!!
The flight back was exhilarating, we got to have fights with airport
personnel over excess baggage needless to say Donna won!!
We got the opportunity to do the movie style airport dash
by running through the departure lounge at Stansted Airport, catching
our flight with minutes to spare! All in all, a great trip, never to
be forgotten! We were very sad to say goodbye to Steven Tweedie, as
it was his last appearance playing for Scotland at the World Youth Chess
Calum Fraser McDonald 2.5 points
Ali Roy 6 points
Jonathan Wright 4 points
Rhian Hughes 6.5 points
Connor Woods 4.5 points
Amy Officer 5 points
Ian MacGregor 4 points
Blair Hawthorne 4 points
Christopher Macdonald 5 points
Lynsey Shovlin 4.5 points
Ivan Stokes 5 points
Andrew Green 5 points
Lloyd Hughes 3.5 points
Steven Tweedie 6 points