Junior chess in God's own country

by ChessBase
11/16/2004 – The enjoyment of chess tournaments, for the players and for the spectators, depends to a great degree on the venue. If it is drab and urban the mood is soured. But locate it, as they did for this year's Junior World Championship (starting November 18), on the south-west coast of India, and you can succeed spectacularly. Here's a teaser...

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Junior World Championships

The 43rd World Junior and 21st World Junior Girls Championship start at Casino Hotel, Cochin, India on Thursday , 18th November 2004 at 12 Noon, and will last till 1st December 2004.

This world mega event will be a 13 Round affair. Already 108 players from different countries confirmed their participation.

All arrangements have been made for the successful conduct of the event.

The Venue

Yes, the venue. Chess tournaments are always enhanced by being staged in nice places, in surroundings which the participants and the spectators can enjoy, during and between the games. And Cochin in the southern Indian state of Kerala, certainly fulfils these conditions.

Cochin on the southwest coast of India. Vishy comes from the Other Side (Chennai)

The name Cochin comes from the Malayalam word "Kochazhi" meaning small lagoon, which is what the southwest coast of India is full of. The language of Kerala is Malayalam, which is one of the 17 official languages of India and is spoken by around 30 million people. It belongs to the family of Dravidian languages and has less in common with the majority language of India, Hindi, than English or French have with Hindi. Malayalam is closely related to Tamil, which Anand and Sasikiran speak with their parents. A person who speaks Malayalam is called a "Malayalee" and rarely, a "Keralite". Malayalam has a script of its own and is the only language name which is a palindrome (can be read in either direction). This is what the Malayalam alphabet looks like:
അ ആ ഇ ഈ ഉ ഊ ഋഎഌ ഏ ഐ ഒ ഓ ഔ

Cochin is regarded as the "Queen of the Arabian Sea", and is a cluster of islands dotting on the magnificent emerald lakes which in turn open to the sea, making the city one of the finest natural harbors in the world. It is a prime tourist destination of Kerala State, famous for its extensive emerald backwaters, lined with palm trees, and local villages which use these courseways as their mode of travel and transportation. The weather is naturally hot – the city lies within the tropic of Cancer – but as our correspondent Manisha Mohite writes: "Right now it is then best time to be in Kerala, which is God's own country."

The Casino Hotel, where the event will take place, is located on Willingdon Island, a man-made legacy of the Raj era. As you drive to the hotel, you pass the massive dockyards of this ancient port, omnipresent coconut trees and stretches of glittering Arabian Sea.

The Hotel greets you in a traditional 'varvelpu', or welcome, a garland, the aarti and coconut water.

After that you are guided you to your room, where simplicity and elegance are the lietmotifs. The floors in the room are a distinctive touch and you can luxuriate with bubble bath and shampoo from the little clay pots in your spacious bathroom.

The recreation area contains pool and card tables, and of course chess.

From the hotel you can take a boat and sail into Cochin

Boats and barges are often the most convenient form of transportation

Towering Chinese fishing nets line the harbour

The dining room, where you can taste some of the world's greatest food

Or you can dine on the terrace with a view over the harbour

Have we driven you to a frenzy with these pictures, taken from the hotel web site? Anyone capable of a snap decision can make arrangements at the following address:

Casino Building, Willingdon Island
Cochin, Kerala, India - 682 003
Tel: 91-484-2668221, 2666821
Fax: 91-484-2668001

Full information, results, games and standings may be found at the official web site.

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