Blood Rock Tournament Review by Øyvind Straume

I have been travelling to tournaments in quite a few countries now (hopefully with more to come) and just wanted to write a few lines on what just might the best tournament I have had the pleasure of playing in. In part to give a bit hype to this great tournament. And in part to mention some aspects of tournament play all tournaments should aim to achieve. I will start to highlight all the the “simple” things being done right in this tournament.

Simple things all tournaments should aim for:

– Game rounds 2h30m. I know this will be controversial, but for me game rounds of 2h30 makes the tournament a lot more enjoyable. Sometimes you will finish 45 minutes before the time, but that only gives time to chat with people and look at other games. I see the argument of shorting down the rounds on the Sunday to finish early, and I can understand the argument “it shouldn`t be a problem to finish in 2hrs”, but I just think more time makes the experience a lot more enjoyable.

Numbered tables and pitches ready by the organizer. Everyone grabbing their own pitch might be fine for games night, but in a tournament I like to see numbered tables. Benefits: You can find people you know by name and not by face by looking at the table numbers, you “move up” or down in the room depending on how you do and it is easier to find the guys at the top tables to have a look (if you have time)

– Prizes for random draws. I don`t think a tournament need to go crazy with the prizes, but I think every tournament should aim at having at least one nice price for random draw. This gives everyone the chance to win something, even if you have a bad weekend on the pitch.

Online draw. Every tournament should have a minimum of online presence to make some hype beforehand. Getting the round draws online during the tournament is also very convenient.- Running round clock on screen. Not a big deal, but certainly nice

– Some sort of organized Friday evening social. Just designate a bar and have at least one person from the orga team be there to say hello to those travelling in wanting to say hello and have a beer.

– Some organized Saturday evening social. Get people something to eat, if they want to socialize and drink/eat this should be helped by the organizers. The Maltese went for a whole roasted pig. That does the trick.

Easy access to something to eat. Ready made lunches work. Otherwise a store/café next door will do the trick, but there needs to be access to food.

Drinks for sale at venue at an affordable price. A bar is nice, but if not do like the Maltese: Get a cooler bag with coke and beer for sale.

– A speedy upload the NAF once the tournament is finished. Then we have some things we saw at the Rock that is not so easy to aim for, but also makes it a great tournament.

– On-site accommodation. Sweeet!

– Mediterranean climate (hardly fair, but what can you do!)

– Mediterranean food (…it might not be white Twix bars, but it beats the tournament food I have had anywhere else)

Finally I would just mention Janninu (Jean Mark) and his unparalleled hospitality. 10 mins after I signed up back in February he messaged me with, “I saw the great news, when do you land, I am going to pick you up”. On Sunday after the tournament (when I expect a tournament organizer to wind down and relax) he said; “Yeah, I am taking you in to Valletta to look around and have some beers.” And now I haven`t even mentioned that his Monday was used to take the Italians and Danes on a boat trip. This is certainly not something you should expect, but this hospitality is really something that deservers an extra mention.

Hope to be back next year!