Well folks, here I am again after an extended absence, which I will explain a bit later, escaping the Australian summer, to coach the Australian World under 16 team in India. I decided to arrive a few days early to acclimatise and because I had never been to Mumbai before.
In the end, I spent most of the last few days sleeping as the journey was quite taxing at my age. My flight left at 7am which meant no sleep the night before.
I did, however, take a few walks around the city and the sights and sounds were a feast for the senses. Here are a few examples.
The "Gate of India" is quite a spectacular monument even though the police and military presence did not make it so easy to move around. Let us not speak of the traffic.
Directly across the road is this architectural wonder.
And this is the Railway station or one of them to be exact. The name is too long to remember.
I'm not sure how to read this restaurant's name. If you order the chicken, good luck?
Anyway, now to semi-explain my absence. Back in July I got persuaded to sacrifice my weekend, normally devoted to the beach, to play in a weekender. The first day went smoothly with all four games finishing well before the second column of the scoresheet. All against juniors and none worth publishing. Then in round 4, I was paired with my eternal opponent, Steven Soloman.
He didn't play any better than the juniors in the opening and by move 12 I was +3 according to Stockfish. Unlike the juniors, he then stopped blundering and put up fierce and desperate resistance as always. Regardless, 23.Ne4 would have finished the game but playing on general principles I decided to swap as many pieces as possible and so we reached an equal ending by the time we were both down to the 10 second increment. Here are the moves for those interested.
1.b3 e5 2.Bb2 Nc6 3.e3 d5 4.h3 Be6 5.Bb5 f6 6.d4 Bb4+ 7.Nc3 Ne7 8.
dxe5 fxe5 9.Qh5+ Ng6 10.Nf3 e4 11.Nd4 O-O 12.Nxe6 Qf6 13.O-O Qxe6 14.
Qxd5 Qxd5 15.Nxd5 Bd6 16.Bxc6 bxc6 17.Nc3 Rae8 18.Rad1 Re6 19.Rd4
Rfe8 20.Rfd1 Nh4 21.Rc4 Rg6 22.g4 h5 23.Rxe4 Rxe4 24.Nxe4 hxg4 25.
Nxd6 gxh3+ 26.Kh2 cxd6 27.Kxh3 Nf3 28.e4 Kf7 29.Bc1 Ng1+ 30.Kh2 Nf3+
31.Kh1 Rg4 32.Be3 a6 33.c4 Ke6 34.c5 dxc5 35.Bxc5 Ke5 36.Bd6+ Kxe4
Having reached this position we started playing like two drunken sailors jabbing at each other with broken bottles until this position occurred.
Bg7 would be spotted by a blind monkey from a plane but I played Kg6?? which leads to a draw...if white does not place all his remaining pieces on the a1-h8 diagonal, and even then more blunders were necessary.
Well, this led to a brain melt from which I am just starting to recover. The following round I played suicide chess, only to have my opponent, Yi Liu, outdo me. The last round was just pitiful. All credit to Tom Maguire, who played an excellent game but against a shadow.
The next day I got a call from the GC hospital telling me to come in for an Iron infusion because my last blood test showed extremely low Iron. I did feel a bit better after hearing that because now I had a fixable reason. This is, however, a recent development so it doesn't explain my other blunders over the years but for now, I'll just let that slide.....
Anyway folks, time for me to check out and visit the South Mumbai Chess Academy!