World Juniors - The Indian Perspective - End of Round 5
When a Roger Federer set foot onto the pale green grass in the Wimbledon this year, nothing less than the championship was expected from him. When a Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar walks into the cricket ground with his cricket bat nothing less than a century is expected from him, When a Robert James Fischer sat on his chair shaking his opponents hand staring at the chess board, anything less than win was disappointment for his fans. I can keep going with a few more examples, but I think you guys get my point :)
Standing upto fans expectations is not an easy task and that is precisely the reason why the above mentioned people are a little above us, the ordinary mortals! When I set foot in Argentina 5 days ago, I knew that bagging 2 golds, 1 silver and 1 bronze medal out of possible 6 medals was close to an impossible task. Even today for those people who witnessed that unbelievable scene last year when India won 4 medals in the World Juniors is like a dream. India had created a record in the history of chess by winning both the boys and girls tittle in the same year in Turkey. The champion last year and a good friend of mine Abhijeet Gupta has a little less than a fortnight to cherish his tittle as it is being eyed by some extremely strong youngsters here already. This year the Indian Contingent is not as strong as last year, but we have a lot of potential in these youngsters. With their gaining experience sky is their limit.
No wonder the immigration officer in Mumbai interrogated Shyam Sundar for more than 15 mins in Mumbai airport and asked him to sing the national anthem!!!
The only mild hitch in our otherwise wonderful outing here is the food! For those vegetarians in he team like me, Vishnu, Lalith, Shyam and the women's team coach Mrunalini, it has been nothing but a nightmare. My typical lunch has been a couple of glasses of soda with a bread and a small serving of pasta where I hand pick the meat out of the food myself. Dinner is similar, just minus the pasta! There is nothing wrong with the food that has been provided here, its just the limited choice we have that is making us starve. In fact the quality of their food seems evident with our team's star diner, Ashwin! Good for him as he seems to be enjoying himself with the food provided here! One of the best qualities of a sportsman is to be able to survive under varying food, weather and traditional conditions.
A great opportunity of our players to socialize with Nigel Short over breakfast!
End of Round 5
It has not been a great outing so far for the Indian team here in Argentina. In the girls section, the top seed, Mary Ann Gomes has been struggling with her form with a couple of loses against lower rated opponents. Our current hope being the young and vibrant Padmini Rout (4 points) fighting it out for the top spot today against the Chinese WGM Zhang Xiaowen (4.5 points).. Sowmya and Kiran with 3 points each and Harini with 2.5 are having an average tournament so far.
In the boys section Adibhan started off well with a creditable draw against the top seeded Vachier Lagrave Maxime in the second round. But it was too much even for the world under 18 champion to play the first and the second seed the same day as Adibhan went down fighting against Andreikin Dmitry on the third round. Lalith Babu who is having a good tournament was unbeaten until, round 4 against a very strong opposition. He had a creditable draws against David Howell and Andreikin Dmitry. Lalith suffered his first loss in the fifth round against the Chinese GM Li Chao. Karthikeyan and Shyam have 3 points each, Vishnu and Adibhan with 2.5 points.
We still are having a good time and enjoying ourselves out here. With the wind blowing at 35 kmph speed at our faces, to keep ourselves rooted to the ground seemed like a fun task in itself!
Yeah, the performance of our players are about average, but the good news is that there are 8 more rounds to go! And the fighters that these kids are I am sure they will bounce back within no time. The cruel part about chess just like life is that when things go wrong, you really do not know why they went wrong, or for the matter of fact, when things go right, you still do not know why they went right???? I am here hoping to help these players figure things out and hopefully for those who are playing good, keep up whatever thats making things work and for those who are struggling, to improve on whatever thats bothering them.
You can find out more about the tournament results in