Monday, 1 January 2018

Happy New Year from Mumbai, rounds 1&2&3.


I was having a little whine about morning rounds in Bhopal as we were leaving for the airport, for our flight to Mumbai, and Suat Atilik said to me "stop complaining, everything here was wonderful, in a few days you will miss it. Bhopal Bhopal" I laughed it off as just another one of his crazy statements. (a disturbing number of which turn out to be correct)

Within 48 hours I had to swallow my laughter as he turned out to be correct. This tournament is much stronger, has only one game per day and all the games start in the afternoon. Also, the hotel is more modern, shower instead of a bucket. The flipside is that the venue requires transport, in an old bus, through the traffic in Mumbai. While this is regular, the return journey requires waiting around until enough players have finished to fill it. This chews up several hours every day.

The worst is the venue. After the spacious, airy, hall in Bhopal, we are playing in the 3rd basement level of a prestigious, basically a converted carpark. The air is stuffy and anyone with a mild case of claustrophobia can suffer some anxiety. Am such a person.

The worst part is the seating arrangements. The boards are so close together that the scoresheets don't fit between the boards so the inventive ones fold them in half and others have them on their lap. The chairs are tiny and there is little room under the low table to put one's legs. This somehow escaped someones attention of an otherwise well-organised event, but since all the wiring for the DGT boards is in place, it is impossible to do anything now. 

For next year a much larger venue has been booked, hopefully above ground. Nothing to do now but try to survive another six rounds without any more disasters like in round 1. 

Ville Parle

Is the name of the suburb, next to the airport, where our hotel, the Hotel Avion is located. The picture below is the only example of two L spelling I could find. The other spelling has been a constant source of amusement for me. Sorry Jackie, Hughston, but small things amuse small minds :-)

The local railway station. 

On many street corners, various people are honoured. Often not translated into English unfortunately.

Tuk-tuks crossing in random directions. Traffic lights and zebra crossings are largely decorational in most of India.

A view from the rail overpass. Fruit here is widely available but with Australian prices. 

Round 1. 

I really lost it before this game even started when I saw the seating conditions. Things got worse when the first leg cramps arrived and I had to basically play standing up. Still nothing serious until move 14. My plan was to go back to f3 (14.Nf3) and force through d4&e5. Suddenly I thought, why not just take the pawn back first. Two moves later white is probably just lost. 

[Event "Mumbai International GM Open"]
[Site "Mumbai"]
[Date "2017.12.30"]
[Round "1"]
[White "Wohl, Aleksandar"]
[Black "Balkishan, A"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "2370"]
[BlackElo "2043"]
[ECO "A16"]
[EventDate "2017.12.30"]

1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 b6 3.e4 e5 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.Bd3 Bc5 6.O-O O-O 7.Bc2 Re8 8.
a3 Nd4 9.b4 Bf8 10.d3 a5 11.Nxd4 exd4 12.Ne2 axb4 13.Nxd4 bxa3 14.Nb5
c6 15.Nxa3 d5 16.exd5 Bd6 17.d4 cxd5 18.cxd5 Qe7 19.Qf3 Bg4 20.Qb3
Be2 21.Re1 Ng4 22.g3 Qf6 23.Be3 Rxe3 24.Qxe3 Nxe3 25.Rxe2 Nxc2 0-1

Round 2

I had two choices, try to calm down or spit the dummy and go home. Any other tournament, where the hosts had not previously displayed such hospitality, and I would have left before the first round had even started. Here, where chessplayers are treated so well, I decided on the former option. 

One old friend (who I shall not name publicly, came to the rescue with some good Indian Whisky. I was able to win my first game since round 6 in Bhopal. I cannot be too proud of this achievement though as my opponent was very cooperative. 

[Event "Mumbai International GM Open"]
[Site "Mumbai"]
[Date "2017.12.31"]
[Round "2"]
[White "Nikhil, Magizhnan"]
[Black "Wohl, Aleksandar"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "2017"]
[BlackElo "2370"]
[ECO "A01"]
[EventDate "2018.01.30"]

1.b3 e5 2.Bb2 Nc6 3.e3 Nf6 4.c4 g6 5.Nc3 Bg7 6.e4 d6 7.d3 O-O 8.Nge2
a5 9.h3 Nd7 10.Nd5 Nc5 11.Qd2 f5 12.f3 Be6 13.Ba3 Rf7 14.Bxc5 dxc5
15.O-O-O Nd4 16.Ndc3 c6 17.Nxd4 cxd4 18.Nb1 b5 19.c5 b4 20.Kb2 a4 21.
Qxb4 axb3 22.a3 Rfa7 23.g4 Ra4 24.Qd2 f4 25.h4 Qe7 26.Ka1 Qxc5 27.Qb2
Rxa3+ 28.Nxa3 Rxa3+ 29.Kb1 Ra2 30.Rh2 Rxb2+ 31.Rxb2 Bf8 32.Rc1 Qb5
33.Rh2 Bb4 34.h5 Bc3 35.hxg6 hxg6 36.Rh6 Qa4 0-1

Round 3

I am not exactly sure what is happening with my white play. The natural 10.h3 just gives white a nice advantage. Instead, after 14.d5 white is just lost. 15...c6 and all my queenside will just fall apart. I cannot even see a way to confuse the issue. Instead, my opponent tried to mate me and didn't quite succeed. Maybe 1.a3?

[Event "Mumbai International GM Open"]
[Site "Mumbai"]
[Date "2018.01.01"]
[Round "3"]
[White "Wohl, Aleksandar"]
[Black "Sudarshan, Bhat"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C47c"]
[EventDate "2017.12.30"]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Be2 d5 5.exd5 Nxd5 6.O-O Be7 7.Bb5 Nxc3
8.bxc3 Qd6 9.Re1 Bg4 10.a4 Qf6 11.d4 O-O 12.Bxc6 Qxc6 13.Qd3 f6 14.d5
Qd7 15.c4 Bc5 16.Ba3 Bxa3 17.Qxa3 Qf5 18.Nh4 Qh5 19.Qg3 g5 20.h3 Bd7
21.Nf3 Rf7 22.Nd2 Rg7 23.a5 Rf8 24.c5 Qf7 25.Qb3 b6 26.axb6 axb6 27.
cxb6 cxb6 28.Ra7 Qh5 29.Nf1 g4 30.Ng3 Qg5 31.hxg4 Qxg4 32.Qxb6 h5 33.
Re4 Qd1+ 34.Kh2 Qxd5 35.Rh4 Qd2 36.Qb3+ Kh7 37.Nxh5 Qg5 38.g3 1-0

Another day another game. The only place with room is board 1 on the stage but that is still many wins away... 

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