Rathmines Chess Club invite all members to our great Belgium 2010 chess experience!
LATEST NEWS (Monday 7th December): We seem to have at least 8 people who want to travel, so we are going ahead with the trip!
Two people have already expressed a preference for the early flight (6.50am), so bear that in mind if booking flights…
I repeat my recommendation: BOOK ASAP to get the cheap flights currently on offer!!!
We will look into accommodation early in the new year, but the price range is going to be around 130 euros for two nights (but this is only an estimate).
I will host an informal update about the trip on the night of the Christmas Blitz, 17th December.
One of our past members, Stephan Meskens, who is Belgian himself and lives near Brussels, will be hosting this special event. So, mark the weekend of April 16th-April 19th 2010 in your diaries, for a great weekend of chess, beer, new sights, old and new friends.
Stephan’s club is in the pretty provincial town of Opwijk.
We’ll be staying in Ghent, which is about an hour, by train, from Opwijk. We think this town will offer the best combination of ease of access, beautiful sights, night life and closeness to the great tourist attraction of Bruges. Bruges is only half an hour by train from Ghent, although I cannot promise anything as exciting as the recent film, In Bruges. But I can guarantee some superb beers!
The chess match itself will be on the afternoon of Saturday 17th April. We’ll try and match players from each side to someone on the opposite side with a similar rating. They have 22 players with strength ranging from 2100+ to 1200. We expect that everybody will be accommodated with at least one game (assuming we play only one game). But the exact format (blitz, speed, or regular) can be decided nearer the time and we’ll listen to anyone travelling for their opinion. If the majority would prefer some casual games, that’s fine too. The main focus will be on having some fun.
Stephan has promised a visit to the local brewery – sure to be an interesting, ahem, “cultural” experience. It is a fully operational, classic Belgian brewery! Stephan has suggested that we might want to visit the brewery before our chess games. This is a cruel and dastardly plan – we’re bound to turn up very drunk and be soundly trounced by the Belgians.
Sunday, among other things, will feature Belgian cycling competitions – which the locals love to go out and watch.
Stephan advises that we fly to Brussels Zaventem (not Ryanair). It might be a bit more expensive but you’re going to save about two hours travel (and waiting) in Belgium. The train stops in the airport and it is direct from there to Ghent.
What we want you to do
If you want to go to Belgium, just let myself (email@example.com) or Peter Bishop (Secretary) (087 752 8052 or email firstname.lastname@example.org) know and we’ll add you to the list of interested people. There is no upper limit on the number of people going, and most definitely no other criteria. We’d love to see EVERYBODY go to make it a great weekend away!
Our intention is to leave it open to members to book their own flights and accommodation. We can make recommendations on a central Ghent hotel and will try and get a group booking and related discounts, but this is not guaranteed. Book early to avoid disappointment is my motto!
I would advise all members travelling to book their own flights as early as they can, to get cheaper prices. My initial research reveals flights to Brussels for total cost (including taxes and charges) of 92.62 euro per person (this is on Aer Lingus’s website now (Sunday 5th December), offer is for either a 6.50am flight (or a 6pm flight, arriving 8.40pm local time), on Friday, and leaving on the Sunday at 9.20pm and arriving back in Dublin for 9.55pm local time). These prices have a habit of increasing unexpectedly and especially once Christmas passes, so I’d advise early action if you intend going. (BTW, the equivalent Ryanair flights cost 125 euros and you are further away from Ghent too…!)
We will be able to choose suitable accommodation early next year, once we have firmer numbers of members travelling. But Stephan will help us choose a good quality Ghent hotel and they’re relatively cheap in Belgium.
Extra Information From Stephan…
About the team : we have 22 players (and a few from other teams who wome over to play on thursday). The rating is between 1272 and 2170. We have 3 teams in competition : one in third division (6 players with average rating of 2050) and two in fifth division (4 players each with average rating of 1780 and 1480).
We also play a club championship (two divisions : first division 10 players and second division 14 players). Our club evening is thursday.
About the chess itself (no messing around with clocks and boards : we have everything.
We can play any time control you prefer.
You will have one guide (me) and possibly a second one (one of the guys in the club said he would take some days off).
Depending on what you want to do in Belgium, we can make a selection (although I will probably insist on visiting Ghent – home of the biggest chess club in Belgium but also a lot more).