I just returned from Barcelona where I participated in “XXI Open Internacional d’escacs, Hostafrancs i la Bordeta”. It is a lovely tournament, not the least because it is held in Barcelona. I cannot get enough of the food, the cafés, the abundance of trees, the parakeets and bats (murcielagos in Spanish, such a beautiful word) that come with the trees and all those things that that a city of that size with +2000 years of history has to offer.
The only downside to being in Barcelona was the heat, with temperatures soaring above 30 degrees in the days and I would not really have minded if I had not got a room at the top of a building, with windows facing to the south. This turned out to be more of a problem as days went by. I thought I would be able to deal with it, so I didn’t ask for a different room. Perhaps my hubris originated from that, earlier this summer in Brussels, I had managed to take a 8-kilometer long walk on a day when it was 37 degrees (Celsius) in the shadow, without being less sane at the end of it than at the start. But the problem was not the heat in the days. In the beginning of the tournament I had around 28 degrees in my room when I got back from the rounds, and by the end of the tournament it went up to around 30. In short, discovered that I can sleep when it is 27-28+, but that 29-30+ is too much. With the help of two strong fans I was able to get the temperature down a few degrees by 3 o’clock in the mornings, so that I did manage to get around 5 hours of sleep every night and it was just about enough until it wasn’t. For the first time in more than 20 years I lost my ability to calculate, completely. Before the last round I managed to get a meager 2 hours of sleep and I played it all on instincts. It was quite educational; especially my 20:th move tells me how little I care about material (and how important it is that I sometimes have the ability to override my instincts):
Really, it wasn’t such an awful game, but it would have been nice to see a bit more. I would love to play in Barcelona again, but next time I’ll take the heat more seriously.