INTERNATIONAL Grand Master Gary Lane had just one regret about coming home from Australia for the British Chess Championships – he didn't get to see his favourite football team play.
Lane, who is 48 and lives in Sydney, has been a Torquay United follower through thick and thin ever since his schooldays.
He follows the Gulls from Australia on-line and keeps up to date with goings on at Plainmoor through to the Herald Express website.
Gary had hoped to catch up with United during his three-week stay with mum Jean in Paignton, but it wasn't to be.
"The fixtures didn't work out very well for me as Torquay's first game against Wimbldon clashed with the Championships, then it was Swindon away on a Tuesday followed by Morecambe away," said Lane.
Lane last took part in the British Chess Championships in 2009, when they were also held in Torquay.
Although he hasn't lost his appetite for chess in the 27 years since he become one of the youngest international masters around at 21, there are complications playing in Australia.
"Chess is a bit like tennis – there is a circuit and it is mainly around Europe," said Lane.
"When I moved to Australia with my wife in 2004 I wanted to carry on playing in tournaments. When I asked about one I was told it was two hours away… by plane!
"These days I tend to play in Asia, Malaysia, New Zealand and other places in Oceania.
"I have won the Australian Championship, the Oceania Championship and two tournaments in New Zealand last year."
Lane moved to Australia after marrying lady chess international Nancy Jones. He makes a living by writing chess books, with more than 20 to his name since the first in 1993.
"My last book had to be written for iPad readers and the electronic media, which is a sign of the times we live in," said Lane.
"I started playing chess against my brother Nigel on a board with proper pieces.
"Now I meet youngsters who play chess on-line against people in other countries and don't realise it is a board game."
Lane was one of the big name players at the tournament, which ended last Friday after two weeks intense competition.
Some you win and some you lose. This was one of the latter for the former Churston Ferrers Grammar School pupil.
"I went off like a rocket with a bit of a bang – and faded just as quickly as one," said Lane.
"It was good to come back for the centenary championships and catch-up with old friends. It was like a school reunion."
Paignton master Keith Arkell set a new world record for the number of games completed in an hour during the championships – 37 games in all
Arkell won the champion of champion's prize for the most points scored in all events over the fortnight.
The men's champion was David Howell from Sussex, an undergraduate studying philosophy and English at Cardiff.
Prizes were presented by VIP guests Julien Parrott, the chairman of Torbay Council, and Torbay MP Adrian Sanders.