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Gens Una Sumus!

by Chandreyee Hajra - 14/06/2017

17-year-old WCM from Kolkata Chandreyee Hajra was playing at the KIIT International in Bhubaneshwar. On the last day of the event she decided that she would like to play in the Mumbai Mayor's Cup. A lot of troubles and problems awaited her in the city of dreams, but the people of Maharashtra not only helped her, but also made her stay memorable! In this article she shares her experience and also tells us why FIDE's motto Gens Una Sumus (We are one people) is absolutely correct. There is a trivia in there as well and your chance to be sketched by Chandreyee!

My journey to the city of dreams!

by Chandreyee Hajra

That's me! - Chandreyee Hajra (picture by Amruta Mokal)

Mumbai - 'The city of dreams'. I was very fortunate to visit this amazing place during my last tournament, Mumbai Mayor's Cup 2017. Even though the journey to Mumbai was not an easy one, I think it was quite memorable.


Right after my last round at the KIIT International 2017, all of a sudden I decided to play the Mayor's Cup. Without reservation I travelled in the train for 36 hours to reach Mumbai, which would have not been possible without my chess friend Indrajeet Mahindrakar, who was a stranger earlier, but certainly a good friend now. After getting into the train from Bhubaneshwar railway station, I started to take a tour of the train where I met many of my chess-mates who offered me their seats in day time.


There, I met Indrajeet who was travelling alone and had a confirmed seat. Only few players had a place to sit and he was kind enough to offer me his seat. From there I took a travel to rest half of the train, twice or thrice just hopping from one seat to another and before I knew it was already night. After a sleepless night, I went to meet Indrajeet in the morning. There, we played blitz and spent whole day singing songs, discussing about chess and my sketches. At night I used his berth and slept while he managed himself in some other berth. I was amazed to see how he could fit himself in any corner!

That's Indrajeet from 2014! I must mention that Indrajeet was the only person who was able to beat the eventual winner Hoa Nguyen in Mumbai!

Next day I reached my destination around 4:30 in the morning but it took me three more hours to get a suitable accommodation. Soon enough I came to know that I had to stay alone! Of course, I was a tad nervous! It was going to be the first time that I was going to be without a room mate. I had a round in the afternoon, so as soon as I got the room I went to take a nap. I could hardly sleep for two hours.


After reaching the venue I came to know that I was playing with a strong player from Maharashtra, FM Sauravh Kherdekar who is also a coach. I was not ready to play with a rated player who is 300 rating points above me after such a hectic journey and having almost no sleep for two nights. But somehow I motivated myself and tried to keep my eyes open during the game. Most of the moves I played were based on my intuition and I tried to avoid complications. After a tough fight I won the game with a tactical strike.

[Event "Mayors"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2017.06.04"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Sauravh, Kherrdekar"]
[Black "Chandreyee, Hajra"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "D00"]
[PlyCount "64"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]
[SourceDate "2017.05.26"]
1. d4 d5 2. Bf4 Nf6 3. e3 c5 4. Nc3 a6 5. dxc5 Nc6 6. Nf3 e6 7. Na4 Bxc5 8.
Nxc5 Qa5+ 9. c3 Qxc5 10. Bd3 O-O 11. O-O Re8 12. Ne5 Nxe5 13. Bxe5 Nd7 14. Bd4
Qe7 15. c4 dxc4 16. Bxc4 e5 17. Bc3 b5 18. Bd5 Rb8 19. a3 Nb6 20. Bb4 Qg5 21.
Bc6 Bg4 22. f3 (22. f4 {Might have been the lesser evil.}) (22. Bf3 {was also
possible.}) 22... Qxe3+ 23. Kh1 Re6 24. Rc1 Bf5 25. Bc5 $6 Qh6 $1 26. Bb7 Ree8
$1 27. Bxa6 Red8 28. Qb3 Nc4 29. Bxb5 Nd2 30. Qa4 Nxf1 31. Rxf1 Qd2 {Black is
already winning, but the next move hastens the end.} 32. b4 Rxb5 $1 {Bd3 is
coming up next.} 0-1


Next day we had a double rounds and the food in the morning was a real trouble. I scraped through my breakfast and went to the playing hall. I was paired against P. Karthikeyan. I reached 15 minutes late, fought hard, but lost.


I had my lunch and came back to the tournament hall, took out a pillow and a bedsheet from my bag, covered myself and went off to sleep! Before the start of the third round, the arbiters tried to wake me up. I can say that their task was not easy! Before five minutes to the start of the round I got up. As the accelerated pairing had ended I was up against an unrated player from Uzkeistan. I finished my game in one hour, went back to my room and continued my sleeping episode.


The day after was another double round day and I was aware of the breakfast problem, so I went to eat my breakfast early but still I couldn’t get the food on time. As I was getting late for the round I grabbed one litre packet of raw-milk from an Amul shop! After reaching the venue, I found Meghna aunty (Atharva Jaeel's mom) whom I met during the tournament for the first time. I asked her to help me pour the milk in the glass. She not only helped me with that but also insisted to cook food for me for the next few days. I was so relieved. Thanks to her kind gesture my food problem was taken care off. I never wanted to trouble her, but she made me feel comfortable and gave me more than sufficient homemade food throughout the tournament.

Expert chef Meghana Jaeel. If you haven't tried the brownies she cooks, you are definitely missing out something in life!

I was travelling directly from Bhubaneswar tournament, so I was hardly carrying 2-3 pair of clothes. Almost daily I had to wash my dresses, so I thought to buy some clothes from the nearby market. I asked Kusum aunty (Aditya Mittal’s mom), about the best place to buy clothes in Mumbai. She instantly said that she will get me some clothes so I don’t have to buy or wash clothes daily. I knew her from a long time, she was always helpful when I went for tournaments abroad. Thanks to her I was able to solve the issue of my clothes!

Kusum aunty, who solved my problem related to clothes

Another day Dev Shah's mom Krupali aunty, made delicious lunch for me! And this is how the citizens of Maharashtra made my tournament. The conditions were not so easy, but their warmth and helpful attitude made all the difference. I am really thankful to all of them for their gratefulness. It was an amazing experience. It always blows my mind how we are a family bounded by the beauty of chess. As FIDE's motto rightly says, "Gens Una Sumus!" - We are one people! I will always cherish these memories for a long time to come!

About the author:

Chandreyee Hajra is a passionate 17-year-old chess player from Kolkata. She likes to speak with strangers and make new friends. She also loves play outdoor games like hide and seek, football, badminton, anything that involves running! She is also a good singer and a budding sketch artist. Here are some of her sketches of Indian chess greats:

India's latest grandmaster Srinath Narayanan
The little prodigy Nihal Sarin
One of India's best female chess players Padmini Rout
India's super coach Ramesh R.B
Recently married and strong grandmaster Vishnu Prasanna
Absolute legend: S. Vijayalakshmi

Your chance to be sketched by Chandrayee:

Here's a small trivia. It has two parts:

1. Chandreyee has a favourite sketch from the six that we have published above. Which one is it?

2. Who is the person in this sketch?

Hint: She is not a chess player, but related to chess in a big way!

You have to leave your answers in the comments section below. If you answer both the questions correctly, you enter the lucky draw. One person will be the winner and will send his/her picture to Chandreyee who will make a sketch out of it. Last date is 16th of June!

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