Tuesday, 12 August 2014


The World Sudoku Championships are taking place in Croydon. The competitors range from 7 to 65 years old. One American chap is there with his seven-year-old daughter, both competing. A couple of twelve-year-olds were interviewed. This is what one of them said:- 

"Some things are difficult and some things are easy," said 12-year-old Kim Yu-jae, giggling next to her teammate Yoo Jin-kyo, also 12. "I love sudoku, I have been doing it for two years. In Korea we go to a training camp for two days where we just do lots and lots of sudoku puzzles. We went to the same academy and that was where we were both introduced to sudoku." 

Now, I do sudoku puzzles on a regular basis. Yes, if a puzzle is too easy it's no good and can get boring but I don't think I could be in their competitions. One of the men interviewed for the news item said he enjoys sudoku because it is totally absorbing and takes him away from the stress of his everyday life as a maths teacher. So why introduce stress from a different angle by making a competition of it? I wonder what they do in the training camp apart from lots and lots and lots of puzzles. Of course, there are strategies for puzzle solving but surely there can't be enough to merit a whole two-day training session. 

I have been impressed with the training that goes on at the chess camp here in Pontevedra that four of our Manchester boys are taking part in. However, somehow I can't help thinking that there may be more training and strategy preparation necessary for a chess tournament than for sudoku. No doubt someone will put me wise, telling me about the different levels and types of sudoku and how you need to prepare for them. 

The attitude to training is different from one country to another. The young Spaniards involved in the chess training camp here will be off to another one in Extremadura once this tournament is over. (I suppose it's one way to keep youngsters occupied during their very long summer break but somehow I suspect that the youngsters at the camp are the sort who would have found ways to entertain themselves anyway.) I've not heard of such training camps in the UK. Maybe they exist around the London area. I get the impression that in most parts of the UK only football training gets that kind of intensive attention. 

Here in tournament world, at the end of yesterday's session Phil and one of his young protégés were on the same score. Young Jake joked about looking forward to beating Phil today if they should be drawn against each other. When the pairings for today's game appeared online, lo and behold, Phil and Jake are playing each other today. how very annoying!!! That young man may have powers he is unaware of!

I finally got in the pool yesterday. A most excellent pool, I have to say. The water was delightfully just warm without being so hot that it felt like stepping into a bath. Because of the size of the pool it didn't matter that there was a mini water polo game being organised for a bunch of smallish children, some of them with armbands; there was still plenty of room for enthusiastic fast swimmers to speed up and down the length of the pool and for more sedate swimmers like myself to plod along doing an almost sedentary breast stroke. 

The only downside was that I was stung by a wasp as I sat in the sun after my swim. These annoying little beasts appear to have reached the stage where they are slightly sleepy, but not a great deal less aggressive than usual. What happens is that they will land on your arm, for example, and crawl around for a while before you realise that they are there. You then have to be careful not to react with an angry swipe because they will retaliate in kind. Fortunately I had a tube of cream for stings and insect bites in my bag so I was able to self-medicate immediately. Since the chess boys complained about mosquitoes at the camp I have been carrying a mini medical kit around with me. Just as well!!! 

Today started grey and gloomy with a bit if drizzle in the air. This does not bode well for a swim this afternoon. I suppose I could still swim in the drizzle though. We shall see. When it's wet, however, it's harder for the chess camp organisers to set up post game analysis under the trees close to the pool, which is one of the charms of the location. Al fresco chess loses its appeal in the rain. 

The Apeles charanga band has been out this lunchtime. Is this a sign that the weather is picking up? 

So, anyway, my fingers are crossed for an improvement by late afternoon.

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