Future Tournament Plans

Brunch at Tamper (Sheffield's Kiwi Cafe)

Brunch at Tamper (Sheffield’s Kiwi Cafe)

Since I last wrote, I had my 27th Birthday. It was a quiet affair. At first I was planning on going away – maybe a weekend break but actually with the “Beast from the East” and “Storm Emma” it would’ve been a nightmare to be travelling anywhere and we actually remained at home inside for most of the week.

On Monday, we went to the Home Office as my visa was expiring on the 6th March. I was applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) which is the British equivalent of Permanent Residency. I’m so pleased to say that I have been granted ILR and the next and final step will be Naturalisation. It feels like it has been such a long process to become “British”. I’ve lived in the UK for nearly 8 years now and we had a truly bad experience with the UKBA in 2012, so bad that we considered our options which would’ve included moving overseas. I’m happy that we were able to wait patiently and I was eventually granted a spousal visa. It’s such a relief that we are nearly at the end of this process but there are still many couples who are harmed by the financial requirement rules and the costs involved in applying for a spousal visa.

The Reykjavik Open has just started and, if you have read our previous posts on the tournaments, you will have seen how much we love Iceland. It was a real shame for both of us (me particularly – as I gained 50 points last year) that we weren’t able to make it to Reykjavik this year. This leads me to tell you about Gawain’s future tournament plans. He will be playing in the European Individual in Batumi from the 16th-29th of March. You can see the regulations here. As usual the Europeans are exceptionally strong with Gawain currently 31st seed. Chess-results has the starting list. I would’ve loved to play but the costs of me coming along would’ve doubled the expenses so instead I’ll be at home studying, rugby training and maybe preparing my citizenship. From Batumi Gawain will travel to Tbilisi to catch a flight to Dubai as we will be playing in the Dubai Open and then the 2nd Sharjah MastersHere are the regulations for Dubai, once they have a players list or more information I’ll either post an update or write something on twitter.  For Sharjah, I seem to currently be 12th seed with such a small field the tournament would currently be close to an all play all. I’m sure that will change within the next month and that there will be many strong players fighting for the 1st prize of $15,000 USD. These two tournaments have very big prizes and the prize money is not split but instead a tie break is used. Due to the tie breaks Gawain has won the last 2 Dubai Opens and will be back to try and make it a third in April.

I will be doing my first strange travel route to a tournament. Last year we managed to get flights for £330 return from Birmingham to Dubai but this year it was close to £700. I think the problem is it’s the start of Easter Holidays but the flight price was too high. I looked into flying from various UK airports but it was all £600+. So I’ve managed to hopefully be clever and booked a train to London, a flight from London City to Amsterdam and a flight from Amsterdam to Dubai via Moscow. Hopefully the journey will go smoothly, on the way back we are just flying with BA to Manchester via London.

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