Visit to Antwerp 2017
Visit date: Friday, 24th February – Monday, 27th February 2017
There were eight players in the touring team again this year. We travelled to Belgium on the Eurostar from St. Pancras and checked into the Loepold hotel on our arrival in Antwerp. This proved to be an extremely comfortable hotel, offering first class rooms and an excellent buffet breakfast.
Match v Deurne
On Saturday, the team travelled to the Deurne club (Antwerp) at their venue in the Esso social club. The match was played as a double header with two games versus the same opponent with alternating colour. The first Round was a win for Deurne by 5½ - 2½. After a short interval, Deurne won the second Round by 5 - 3. This meant overall a win for our hosts by 10½ - 5½. After the match, we were invited to join the Deurne players for a meal, followed by music in the bar.
Match v White Horse
Sunday opened with a visit to Mechelen town centre via train from Antwerp Central Station. The weather was a slight, but persistent drizzle, so the intrepid team took shelter in a café for coffee. This was followed by a walk to the local Carolus brewery to have lunch and sample the famous local Carolus beer. The team then travelled to nearby Kapelle-op-den-Bos to play White Horse club (formerly Humbeek), a club we had visited previously in 2013. The chess match went better for the team than the previous day, scoring with 5 wins and 3 draws, thereby making a match result of 6½ - 1½ in favour of St. Albans. After the match, we were invited to join the host team for a meal.
During Monday the team had some free time in Antwerp for some site-seeing before catching the Eurostar from Brussels at 5 pm back to St. Pancras. Belgium and Holland have proved popular destinations for the club in recent years, but the ambition is to venture further afield for the next overseas trip in 2018.