Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Day three of the Ponters chess jamboree.

Some people got up early this morning to get to the chess venue ready to start playing at ten. Not us. Apart from final rounds, when there is no alternative, if there is a morning game as well as a late afternoon game Phil takes a bye in the morning and earns a half point. A young chess playing friend of his was complaining bitterly yesterday about people who took byes for rounds one and two, mostly because they were playing in another tournament in nearby Cambados, which finished yesterday. That was a bit of brilliant organising and coordinating by the Galician chess people. Both Cambados and Pontevedra had good reasons for wanting the dates they chose but surely someone could have worked out some kind of compromise. 

Anyway, our young friend was quite indignant about the host of people joining the tournament at round three, with one point under their belts but no games played here. He regards it as unfair. But rules are rules! And it works the same way for everyone. 

We thought it had been hot playing here in Pontevedra but some friends who played in Cambados were adamant that it had been worse there. Temperatures soared up to beyond 40 degrees. What made it even worse was that the playing room was a sports hall with walls made largely of glass. Consequently it was rather like playing in a greenhouse. 

After a slow and cool start today, 18 degrees at the bottom of our street at 9.00 am, it hotted up again. We had lunch with our friend Colin in Pontevedra and my plan had been to say in the centre and visit the Castelao exhibition at the museum once more. However, after a walk from the train station to the centre and then a couple of hours in the centre, with the temperature gradually creeping up, I decided I didn't want to carry my rucksack around any longer and joined the chess players on the bus up to the venue. We shall see what the rest if the day brings. And there are cool places to sit here if you are not tied to a chess board. 

We were almost in danger of missing the bus from Plaza de Galicia this afternoon. At the last minute they moved the pick-up place. Had we not spotted a friend we might have simply watched the bus drive off into the distance without us. I doubt if we could have run for it, unlike the person in this news report who went to great lengths to catch his plane. The lengths some people will go to in order not to miss their holiday are quite amazing. 

As the Galicians are rather like the English, everyone has been talking about the weather, assuring us that this heat is not usual: esto no es normal. It certainly seems that, whatever the climate change deniers might say' something odd is happening. My Italian poolside friends told me about a friend of theirs who has his own beach - almost all the beaches being private in that country - who has been complaining that he has not been able to use his beach much because the tides have been too high. Poor man! 

He should be condemned to use one of the few public beaches. And then I read that they are changing the rules about the use of those public beaches, making it illegal to leave towels, sun umbrellas and the like in prime spots to reserve your place on the beach. People have been doing this apparently. And the local authorities have been going round confiscating stuff left to that purpose. Here's an extract: 

"Authorities from the coasts of Tuscany to Sardinia are cracking down on holidaymakers who seek to reserve prime beach territory by leaving their gear out overnight, with those responsible facing fines of €200 (£170). The forces behind operation Safe Sea say the use of deckchairs and umbrellas by tourists who want to stake optimal spots is widespread and unfair to others who follow the rules. 

On Saturday, the Livorno coastguard seized 37 deck and beach chairs, 30 umbrellas, towels and even some bathing suits, according to a report in La Repubblica. The paper called the reservation of beach spots an “ancient and ingrained habit” that began as the first big waves of tourists started to visit Italy after the second world war. Attempts to claim back chairs and umbrellas could be an expensive exercise, as some areas are ready to dole out fines." 

It's a hard life! Even for holidaymakers! 

Later: the chess player won!

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