Jet-lagged in Japfa (part two)

4/27/2013 – Continuing the travel report on Indonesia, globetrotting WGM Alina L'Ami shares her pictures and impressions of a country rich in culture, tradition, and delicious food. Not to mention the tireless efforts made by GM Utut Adianto, Indonesian senator, to promote chess in Indonesia.

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Jet-lagged in Japfa (part two)

By Alina L'Ami

(Continued from part one)

Such an ambitious chess marathon would have obviously stumbled if not the flawless organization and attention to the very last detail. Given the experience the organizers gained over the past previous seven editions, this eighth couldn’t have been anything other than simply great! From our airport pickup to the hotel choice, everything was vigilantly selected to give us a tournament to remember. I would actually expect anything less from the team behind this beautiful event: the generous sponsor JAPFA, one of the largest and most integrated agri-food companies in the country, because you know…nothing can be done without financial backup, and the Indonesian Chess Association (Percasi).

The latter’s chairman is none other than Indonesia’s top-rated player of all-time, GM Utut Adianto, also a Senator in the Indonesian Parliament since May 2009. "Hopefully, with this position, I can raise chess to a better level in Indonesia, and for most people I shall do my utmost to bring them a better life!", Adianto said back then, and he kept his promise as far as we are concerned.

The highest rated Indonesian player of all time, GM Utut Adianto, is Senator in the Indonesian Parliament and chairman of the Indonesian Chess Association. Judging by the public's reactions, I would say his speeches are very very much liked! Adianto is not only an influential figure but also a kind, affable person.

Lunch with Kristianus Liem, tournament organizer

The delicious 'gado-gado' - Indonesian dish, consisting of boiled vegetables served
with a peanut sauce dressing.

I just looooove the way Indonesian chefs use these banana leaves!

Together with Kristianus Liem, Machnan R. Kamaluddin and Eka Putra Wirya, he founded a chess school in Indonesia, which has produced several successful players, amongst tireless lobbying for chess and endless related activities. In other words, where chess meets politics, wonderful things can happen, as one can easily see…

Besides, the enthusiasm of all Indonesian players was so contagious that even us, Europeans, surprised ourselves shouting in unison with the entire tournament hall: CATUR – Yes! – INDONESIA – Jaya! (‘Catur’ meaning chess and ‘jaya’ victory) How could it be any other way, when the warmth of the locals is such a wellspring of joy and happiness and so dangerously infectious?!

Balinese dance - it seems I have been in Bali, right?! Wrong!
All my Balinese experiences took place in Jakarta, in Taman Mini,
the miniature park of different provinces in Indonesia.

I got extremely lucky to be at the right place at the right time, during a dancing competition!!

Balinese dances are a very ancient dance tradition that is a part of the religious
and artistic expression among the Balinese people, native to Bali island, Indonesia.

Balinese dance is dynamic, angular and intensely expressive, especially the eye
movements impressed me a lot!

However, to give a fair overview of the Jakartian experience, I shouldn’t forget the horrific rush hours, in which I have been inevitably caught. The city’s traffic seems to be a separate entity, with its own thinking mechanism, which does not obey any statistics or logic. It’s unpredictable, omnipresent and with unexpected ramifications in locals’ everyday life. Without a metro system and with its eleven million people, the capital turns into a madhouse at times, a waiting lounge for the millions queuing up to make their fortune.

Traffic-traffic-traffic: during rush hours on these roads,
less than three people in one car is subject to a fine!

And yet, for me the traffic was not a torture but a cultural experience! No doubt if I moved there I would start thinking differently but hey! There is always a way to relax after a hard day, like the 90 minutes complimentary massage I got from our hotel! Three other players chose a mini-vacation in Bali after the tournament was over! Isn’t a chess player’s life at least…interesting?! I will quote myself next time when I feel I am on the verge of complaining.

This 132 meter high Monas, towering over Merdeka Square, is both Jakarta's
principal landmark and the most famous architectural extravagance of the first
president of Indonesia, Soekarno.

The National Monument is allegedly constructed 'entirely of Italian marble',
and is topped with a sculpted flame, gilded with 35kg of gold leaf.

Balinese architecture

In fact, we all had our small share of the Bali experience. After the tournament I was kindly offered a visit to a miniature park divided into mini-habitats illustrating different provinces of Indonesia. With the typical Jakarta traffic, finding a parking place was purely random, but guess what?! We happened to find a spot right in front of the Bali habitat, which was the only one we had the time to visit since this miniature park is actually gigantic.

All in all, I am telling you: Indonesia is addictive; if you ever plan to visit it, consider yourselves warned! As for myself, I surely dream of returning soon; I’m kind of feeling that Bali is waiting for me.

Copyright ChessBase/Alina L'Ami


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