Bhopal first came to the worlds attention 0n December 3rd, 1984 in the most tragic way, after the Union Carbide factory spewed tons of poisonous gas, killing thousands of people and injuring over half a million. I remember the gutwrenching feeling when the news reports first appeared on the television and the images circled the globe.
Like Chernobyl and Fukushima, these cities, never before known to the majority of the world's population, are now etched into Global history. Perhaps one day we will learn not to build dangerous installations near population centres, or even better, do without them altogether.
What is even more remarkable is that people stay and rebuild. Nowadays Bhopal is known as the city of lakes and one of the greenest cities in India. Most of the rounds start at 4pm, so hopefully, I'll be able to show you some of the sights.
Traffic is definitely not as intense here as in the major cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Ahmedabad. Crossing the road is a lot easier although zebra crossings are still just decorations like everywhere else. Cows have priority and all seem to be unescorted but know hwere they are going.
Just up the road from us is a well maintained and very neat nursery, which looks strangely out of place in the surrounding chaos.
Fresh Coconut juice is available everywhere for 60 cents.
The tournament then sort of got underway. The first minor hiccup was that the players meeting and lunch was scheduled at the same time, 1.30pm. I turned up to the players meeting only to find that I was the only one there. Everyone else preferred lunch. So I joined them and we convened about 2pm.
At the players meeting 7 people were nominated to the appeals committee, including yours truly, the schedule and rules, as stated in the brochure were spelt out, and, most importantly, dress regulations were stated in no uncertain terms.
NO SHORTS !!
This is FIDE's new obsession after the incident in Tbilisi.
We then moved straight on to the opening ceremony This is one of the two extremely spacious playing halls. At this point, I should mention that the top 20 boards are all streamed live. Also, a strict code of conduct is enforced by the many arbiters. Absolute silence is maintained in the playing hall and naturally, all electronic devices are banned. This is how tournaments should be run.
After a few brief speeches by the major, the president of the Bank, a famous hockey player, and the president of the chess association, the traditional torch lighting ceremony took place.
Three players were also honoured with this task, first the top seed, GM Timur Garayev, who recently broke the blindfold chess world record with 48 games, followed by myself and last but definitely not least, GM Alberto David. I was terrified of stuffing it up by letting the candle go out or something and when he got back to the table, Alberto took the words out of my mouth! he had exactly the same fear :-)
|Photo credit: Sagar Shah (Chessbase India)|
Timur then made the ceremonial first move against one of the dignitaries.
Nice shorts :-)
My first round opponent was visibly nervous during our game and dropped a piece to a nasty little trick so I managed to finish early. He was so incredibly polite after our postmortem, thanking me repeatedly for analysing with him. I sincerely hope he does well in the remainder of his games. Actually all the Indian young players I have played and watched have great manners.
You may notice that I am not posting games on a replayer like I used to because chessvideos.tv, the site I used for many years seems to have collapsed and all my laboriously entered games over the years have disappeared.
While I search for a solution to this issue I will post the pgn, which is inconvenient for you the viewer but I need a little time to find an alternative. Perhaps there is a way to do it without relying on an external source? Suggestions extremely welcome.
[Event "Bhopal GM Open"]
[White "Wohl, Aleksandar"]
[Black "Choubey, Saurabh"]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Be2 Bb4 5.Nd5 Nxe4 6.Nxb4 Nxb4 7.Nxe5
d6 8.a3 dxe5 9.axb4 Qd4 10.O-O Qxb4 11.c3 Nxf2 12.Rxf2 Qb6 13.Qa4+
Bd7 14.Qa3 a6 15.d4 exd4 16.Bg5 f6 17.Bh5+ Kd8 18.Re1 Qd6 19.Qxd6
cxd6 20.Bd2 1-0
I had wins in rounds 2&3 as well but they were too long and it was a double round day so I hope you don't mind if I refer you to FollowChess where you can see all the games from the top 20 boards live or saved.