Maybe (umm… maybe not) you’ve noticed that I haven’t posted a single thing all week? Ok fine, I don’t actually post so super often, but this time around, I have a legitimate reason… I’ve been at awesome Penang for chess nationals (MSSM)! It’s my first year, so let’s just say I was super excited to the point of bursting.
Since I’m a newbie I had no idea what I was doing. I either packed the wrong things, or didn’t pack the right things. Firstly, Penang is a beach and smart me didn’t pack shorts. Secondly, I brought along my homework. Why is this bad? Simple. We’d either be so busy with training or playing hardcore chess games. So no, no time for that. Thirdly, I didn’t bring a camera. Yes, it is true that the only camera I could bring tells you it’s out of battery every time you shoot a picture, but at least I’d have more than one of these pictures to my name. Next, I wouldn’t have brought free shampoo from another hotel because my roommates would mistake it for free ones from our hotel, and finish them off for me. The list goes on and on, but I’d better not bore you with my packing dilemmas.
The first day involved what should have been a 5-hour drive in a nice bus with nice air-conditioning. Instead, it involved an EIGHT HOUR drive in a hot bus that practically resembled a sauna (to be optimistic, it was a free one). On the bright side, though, it was fun the whole drive. I sat next to a crazy peyi (tamil for ghost) who wore sunglasses so she could sleep without people noticing (of course, everyone noticed because they were all thinking “Why is she wearing those things?) and kept whacking me on the head with a pink pillow every time I shut my eyes for a few seconds. And since there were two other people with my name in the bus… things got confusing.
When we reached there, it was time to register for the competition. Of course, we just HAD to go to the wrong place for registration… I mean, duh, we can’t get it right. What’s the fun in that?
We checked in to our dwelling for the week: Paradise Hotel. Right next to the beautiful beach – which we were not allowed to go to (though some of us went anyway) – and one kilometer away from the tournament hall. I was told that last year they ended up in a hut of some sort (thankfully I didn’t make it then), so our hotel must’ve been an improvement. We checked in and heaved our bags into the lift. Everyone got rooms from floors 5-8… While me and three others were the only ones all the way up on floor…wait for it…SIXTEEN!
As I said, there were four of us… And walking onto a room on a floor stories high from everyone else’s felt like a blessing due to the breathtaking view.
Until we got into the bedroom and discovered two SINGLE beds. SINGLE beds. We tried pushing the beds together and had enough space for three people. Just as I was about to take the sofa, we came to a funny solution… We heaved the soft, short upper mattress off the hard, tall mattress of one of the beds and slept lengthwise on that, with our heads on the short (but soft) mattress and our legs flying up on the taller, harder one. Needless to say, we awoke with aches and pains.
We had training and game analyzation every night at 8:30 and most of the free time we had was taken up by either training (in room 606 with a coach or by ourselves in our rooms) or going completely crazy with roommates (admittedly, more of that). And even though we were next to the most beautiful beach ever we were BANNED from going there. Obviously, some of us just snuck off anyway… No big deal, right? 😉
The second day started off with a photo session for all competing states (yes, all 15 of them), with a banner in the background. In the afternoon of our second day we played our first 3-hour round. Maybe it was because I was a newbie, but my heart was beating so fast that I thought the world should’ve heard it by then… Like dug-dug, dug-dug… But since no one seemed to notice I guess it was fine. My stomach was twisting with funny butterflies by the time the first round was inaugurated. But of course it wasn’t as bad as I expected. I won the round (YAY!!!)
Third day… Second round today. I found out I was playing with some girl but I didn’t know who she was… I didn’t have time to find out if she was good… Until after the round. She’s supposed to be a strong player. Now this is not usually my principal, but in this case, ignorance was bliss because I won due to lack of fear that she was an awesome player. XD In the afternoon my category had a break and went for training in room 606… for hours. We were glad when it finally ended, so my roommates and I could go crazy dancing like maniacs in our room! 😛
Fourth day… I ended up zooming all the way up to the second table and playing with one of those super strong players. AHHHH!!! Well I lost this round. 😛 Even though I wanted to know what I did wrong by analyzing my game that night, I caught a cold and had to go to bed early. =.=
Fifth day and woke up with a fever. Sigh. Lost the morning round because one of the arbiters was (and still is) very biased against our state (coz we’re awesome, yeah), and also because concentration was low. Oh well. Then I drank 100 Plus so the fever sort of went down, allowing me to win the next round in the afternoon. We got some awesome news that day too. The boys under 15 team had played their last round and… won gold! 😀
Last day… I won the final round giving me a not-too-bad final score of 4/6. Since it’s my first time I won’t beat myself up about it. The best part? This year my state, KL, took home FOUR gold medals and TWO silver medals. And I took home an 8th place medal (oh well xP). The best part of the entire thing was feeling that amazing sensation you get from winning, and knowing you played for your state. Riding home was full of singing, cheering, junk food and just going crazy.
Needless to say, I had a lot of fun (understatement :P). It’s sad to see all the seniors heading off because it’s their last year, though…
Next year I am so joining again… With a camera!