Sunday, July 31, 2011

Tactics Friday

Yes, I know it's Sunday but I was so exhausted at the end of the week that the Friday tactic had to wait unto today.

Both queens are en prise, but it's white's move. 1.Bxh7+ Kh8 [1..Kxh7 2.Qd3+ wins a queen] 2.Qg4 leaves black insurmountable problems. The game ended quickly: 2..d4 3.Ng6+ Bxg6 [3..Kxg7 4.Qh5+ Kg8 5.Nxe7#] 4.Bxg6 and black resigned as he will have to lose too much material just to avoid immediate mate, Samsonkin-Inigo 2011

Today's Puzzle:

White to play and win

Answer tomorrow;)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Tactics Thursday

Yesterday's position came from the recently concluded Condom GM event, and in a fit of schoolboy giggles, I had to choose a position from this tournament (I was looking for a prophylactic move, but couldn't find one...) Black to play came up with 1..Rxf2 which busts white as he cannot take the rook. The game concluded 2.e4 Rxg2+ (no half measures here) 3.Kxg2 Rb2+ (the point in all lines) 4.Qf2 Qg5+ 0-1 Barsov-Demuth Condom 2011

Today's Puzzle:

White to play and win

Answer tomorrow ;)

MCC Openings Group 27/07/2011

Tonight we had a good number of people at the Melbourne Chess Club discussing the recent novelty played by Aronian against Harikrishna at the World Team Championship. Aronian's 10.h4 (in the position above) looks to our amateur eyes as the start of a mad king side attack. A closer look at the game shows that it may just be a space gaining operation on the king side.
The question that was posed was "is 10.h4 a move that black should really be scared of?" In the game Harikrishna never really got going, dropped a pawn and still hadn't developed properly. In the end, Aronian's advanced king side pawns tied black's king and rook to the back rank leaving black with nothing.

So we looked at some candidate moves starting already from move 10. In the end, it seemed the idea of 10..Nd7 followed by e5 was ok, and the exchange sequence seems forced, but the following moves weren't so hot.
In this position Frank Lekkas suggested 14..e4 with the idea of 15.Nd2 hxg5 winning a pawn. It looks mighty dangerous for black to open the h-file, or to encourage white's pieces to the king side, but it appears that black is holding.

a) 16.hxg5 Rh5 17.Qg1 (Lekkas again) and we couldn't find anything for white.
b) 16.Qh5 (Kerry Stead said that he'd heard Alex Yermolinsky talking up this move on ICC) 16..g6 (16..g4 was also touted as an idea) 17.Qxg5 (17.Qh6 g4 18.h5 g5 and white's going nowhere) 17..Qxg5 18.hxg5
This is the position we looked at mostly. Black has a weakness on d5, but it isn't easy to get at, while white has a weakness on g5, which again is difficult to attack. The position appeared to be balanced to the group. I reckon this position may see some games in master practice over the next 12 months, and it will be with interest that we will look at these games.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tactics Wednesday

On Monday the British Championship started, which is always usually good for some tactics during the games. Yesterdays puzzle came from the British Championship in the year I was born, 1966.

Black to play was Sir Stuart Milner Barry who played the elegant 1..Bc2 attacking a rook, but more importantly, trapping white's queen. So white doesn't have time to move the the rook away, or black will simply play 2..Nb6.

Todays Puzzle

Black to play and win

Answer tomorrow ;)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tactics Tuesday

So the plan is now to offer a tactical puzzle every weekday (I have already failed yesterday!)

First the solution to the last puzzle:

1.Bg5+ forces mate in 3. 1..hxg5 2.Qxg5+ Kd7 3.Qf5+ Ke7 4.Qe6# Zukertort-Anderssen Breslau 1865

Todays puzzle:

Black to play and win

Answer tomorrow ;)

Malitis Memorial Round 2

The day before the second round of the Malitis Memorial Tournament I received a message to say that David Lacey had to withdraw from the event. It is regrettable that anyone has to withdraw and I hope that David is ok. But in one respect it made the tournament easier as we now had an even number of players, meaning that I could carry on my role as arbiter. However, on the day of the second round, Tristan Rayson-Hill joined the tournament and I was back in the field playing as a reserve if someone doesn't want a bye. This will be my role in this tournament from now on, fulfilling the role of stand by if the numbers become uneven. So hopefully next week, I'll be back to doing a live blog from the MCC.

As I was playing, I didn't get to see as much action as I would normally have seen. I did hear a draw offer on about move 7 in the game between Thai Ly and Anthony Hain. It was a Najdorf with 6.Be3 Ng4. Thai retreated his bishop to c1 and Anthony took his knight back to f6 and they repeated moves, though I don't think the same position was reached 3 times. There was a rearranged game in the draw. With David Lacey's withdrawal, and with Michael Addamo out of the country, Paul Kovacevic and Jim Papadinis agreed to play each other so they both got a game. The result was the second longest game of the night and a hard fought draw. The longest game of the night was once again played by Jack Puccini, who has no sympathy for his mum who comes to pick him up, and invariably ends up waiting for young Jack for hours. The one time she decides to risk turning up later, at say 10.30pm, he will no doubt finish by 8pm!

The top games had carbon copies, and I did my best to decipher the moves. I found it impossible in the game between Robert Franczeskos and Ari Dale which is a shame, as this looked the most interesting the back room. The full scores can be found on the MCC website.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Tactics 4

This was from one of my games. As white I had some inspiration and found 1.Nf5 and after 1..exf5 2.Nd5 threatens 3.Nc7# and costs black a load of material to prevent mate.

Today's Puzzle:

White to play and win

Answer on Monday ;)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Tactics 3

Yesterday's position was from a simultaneous game by William Steinitz. As White, Steinitz played 1.Qh5 and won after 1..Rxh5 2.Ng8+ Ke8 3.Bxf7# In fact, 1.Ng8+ may be even better as after 1..Rxg8 2.Qf3, mate is unstoppable, a sample being 2..f5 3.exf6+ Ke8 4.Qh5+ Rg6 5.Qxg6# But who can deny the beauty of a move like 1.Qh5?

Today's Puzzle:

White to play and win

answer tomorrow ;)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

MCC Endgame Group 20/7/2011

Tonight the group looked at some positions where both sides have a rook, and there is a 3 v 2 pawn situation, but all the pawns are passed on opposite sides of the board. These endings are very exciting, with the possibility of both sides promoting, and many other tactical possibilities. Games can reduce to rook versus pawns endings, or queen versus rook and pawns endings, or even crazy heavy piece endings (when both sides promote). I had the inspiration for this ending by analysing an endgame a couple of weeks ago.

I admit that I got a bit carried away analysing this endgame, but it gave me inspiration to show some interesting positions to the group.

This occurred in the game Yates-Watson London 1922 with white to make his 66th move. The Australian playing black escaped with a draw, but perhaps could have counted himself a little lucky. White's king and rook can do a comfortable job of stopping black's pawns, while the white pawns are threatening themselves.

This was Laurentius-Keres Latvian Ch 1936. The great Keres as black (about to play his 42nd move) wastes little time in pushing his outside pawns, demonstrating that a king generally would like to be stopping an opponents pawns, and white king is misplaced for this.

White here offered a draw, but we at the MCC endgame group came to the conclusion that he let his opponent off a bit easily and should have forced his opponent to find an accurate plan.. The game Grechkin-Lisitsin USSR 1938 could have continued 1..Kg6 2.Rh4 Rb1![The only way to try to draw] 3.Kxg4 Rxb3 4.Rxh3 Rb4 with the following position which is a tabebase draw, although without knowledge of the technique, it can still be difficult for black to hold:

Tactics 2

Yesterdays puzzle was from the game Vesselovsky-Misiuga Karvina op 2011. White played 1.Nc6! with the point being if black moves their queen to c7 or b6, then 2.Qxe6+ forces mate. 2..fxe6 3.Bg6#

Today's Puzzle:

White to play and win

Answer tomorrow ;)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


I am working on some tactics for Juniors, so I'll share some nice ones here.

White to play and win 

Answer tomorrow ;)

Edwin Malitis Memorial 2011

Victorian chess is at a bust time of year. The Victorian Championships and reserves are on the verge of starting, the Victorian Junior Championships have just finished, and we have just had a weekender at Croydon Chess Club, the Guy West Classic. Still the clubs move ahead with their own internal schedules, and the Melbourne Chess Club is no exception. On Monday nights, the MCC Grand Prix continues with the 7 round swiss Edwin Malitis Memorial. Now personally I never met Eddie Malitis, so I will take it upon myself to find some things out about the man and his relationship with the MCC during the course of the event.

The 3rd tournament of the year always has somewhat of a down turn in numbers compared to the 2 9-rounders that precede it, and this year was no exception. However, the tournament still attracted a field of probably more than was expected, especially seeing many of our higher rated regulars from Monday night (Mirko Rujevic, James Morris, Domagoj Dragicevic and Malcolm Pyke in the Championship, David Garner, Frank Lekkas, Roger Beattie and John Beckman in the Reserves) are participating in the State championship tournaments. We at the MCC wish all these players the very best of luck in their events, as well as newly returned Sylvester Urban playing in his first Victorian Championship after winning last year's reserve tournament, and Kerry stead and Sarah Anton who are masochistically playing in both the Victorian Reserves and the Malitis Memorial. Currently there are 30 players in the Malitis Memorial, including myself as player/arbiter, although I only played int he first round to even the numbers and should there be an even number to the field with more players entering, then I will happily withdraw and resume the task of arbiter and live blogger.

The field has Jesse Jager as its top seed, a number of Monday night regulars, and a few players newer tot he club, or at least to Monday nights. A few players took byes in round 1, but still 26 players competed. As usual, the majority of the games went according to rating, but still there were some giant killing feats. If Anthony Hain keeps giant killing, he will soon become a giant where others are looking to take him as a scalp. This round he took out experienced campaigner Richard Voon in a complex Poisoned Pawn Najdorf. Anthony's dad, Michael was also on the giant killing list. Michael needed the MCC Open to refamiliarise himself with tournament chess, and has started the Malitis Memorial off with a good win. Robert Frantzeskos is a new name to me, and a new name to Rad Chmiel who after their game described the unrated Robert as 'at least 1900 strength'. You can check out all the first round results at the MCC website, and here is a selection of games from the first round.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Back to work tomorrow

I'm lucky to work alongside schools in as much as I get school holidays off (mostly). But today is the day before work, when all the freedom comes to an end, and the daily routine changes. I will be getting up a couple of hours earlier each day, going to bed a couple of hours earlier each day and instead of being wherever I want and doing whatever I want, I will be where I'm supposed to be, doing what I need to do. To be honest, although it sounds bad on paper, I'm pretty lucky to have a job I love to do, so it's not exactly back to the grindstone for me.

 I wonder why it's called the Yellow Door Cafe?

Plenty of outdoor seating makes this area a great summer hangout, though it was bit cold for that today.

However, on my last day off, I was even luckier as my wife also had the day off, and with our best friends we went out for lunch to Albert Park Village. This is really a great place to eat, drink and hang out with short walks to Albert Park, Gasworks Park, and the Bay when you've finished pigging out. I wanted to go to the Dundas Place Cafe, but it was packed out, so we went to a place called Yellow Door, and weren't disappointed. Funnily enough, I've noticed in Melbourne that generally speaking, if an area has a great cafe, then most of the other cafes nearby are usually pretty good too. I suppose someone sets the standards so the others have to keep up, or at least stay close. We had 4 different breakfasts and we were all happy with our meals. The coffee was Grifffiths, and though it wasn't the best I've had, it was still full of body and without deep bitterness.

In fact, earlier in the week, I was here with Caroline and we went to a different cafe (which wasn't open today) and had one of the best coffees I've had in Melbourne. The Combi Coffee Espresso Window looks a bit quirky, and inside it is pretty minimal, but if you try it out, you'll be rewarded with an amazing coffee. My long black held its crema (I take a long time over my coffee), and the flavour oozed a great combination of sweetness and acidity.

 Doesn't look much? Amazing coffee inside.

Next to the cafe, if you want al fresco, you can sit in the combi garage.

Albert Park Village is a chilled out place to hang out on a nice day (or even a not so nice day), drinking coffee, good eating and people watching. From the green there is the dominating view of the Biltmore Apartments, with local historic interest, and to the side even an open air chess board, just in case someone like myself fancies a busman's holiday!

 The big colonnaded building behind this has an interesting history.

 Open air chess

Chess by the green. Across the road, the grey building in the centre is the Biltmore Apartments.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Another Day at the Victorian Juniors

What makes a chess tournament important? Well in global terms, the best players may be playing, or at least an interesting maverick. Or perhaps the tournament is of historic importance, such as a World Championship match. I have just seen a report for next years match on the chessbase site stating that the match will be played in the Champion's home country of India. This gives an interesting contrast to the last match played on the challengers home soil!

In local terms, the issue of what makes a tournament important is more complicated and may be different for each individual. At the Victorian Juniors, it is plainly evident that the players fighting on the top boards, in with a chance of winning a title, are fully focussed. Some players who are playing in their first State Junior Championship are relishing the experience. However, there are a group of players in the field (and no doubt many who didn't enter) for whom this is just another tournament, and to some extent a tournament that is not particularly exciting compared with the big adult weekenders, and even some local club tournaments. This is an issue that needs to be addressed and it may be that I will be hassling some people to answer the question, 'what can we do to make state title events more attractive?'.

Today, the tournament is reaching the pointy end. The number 1 and 2 seeds meet on the top board in the first game of the day, and it looks as if the top seed James Morris will prevail. There is a jostling for positions behind James, with Matthew Cheah and Sam Gluzman fighting above their weight. By the end of the day, the fight for age group titles will also be more clearly drawn.

Once again live games are being broadcast by Box Hill Chess Club the hosts for the event. Once again, the games are over running. There is still one game going from the first round of the day, and the second round was due to start 10 minutes ago. I have it from the arbiter that the second round will start at 1.30pm, a half hour late, but the game still going has some play left in it.
White has less than 1 minute and had to cope with the move 49..Nxf3 unleashing an attack on his queen along the long diagonal. Kyle Gibson as white responded with 50.Qc1, and black's knight jumped away having won a pawn. The game continues, black is also down to 5 minutes now, so nerves will be a big factor in who wins this game.

It is now 1.30pm and the game is still going, albeit in its final stages now. White has succumbed to the time pressure and is material down. The game should be over soon, but the next round is now going to start well over 30 minutes late. There is a lot of hanging around for the kids here, and a lot of nervous energy being used up. I really do believe that organisers have to consider their scheduling when multiple games are being played in a day. Well, let me eat my words. Zach Loh won material, then lost a piece when he played a double check, which wasn't in fact a double check anymore! Kyle was then an exchange up, and it was heading to a king and rook v king and knight ending, when Zach allowed his knight to get skewered. An amazing game, but both Kyle and Zach looked thoroughly exhausted, the round has over run by an hour and the boys are going to be made to play in 15 minutes. Not much of a break!

 Board 1, Michael Chan (left) against James Morris
 Sam Gluzman faces us and his opponent, Karl Zelesco.
 Matthew Cheah (left) and Max Chew Lee both punching above their weight.
 Alana Chew Lee (left) against Denise Lim
 Boys in blue and girls in pink!
Freak out your opponent by wearing the same top!

There isn't too much time between rounds for some players, but Maling Road is 5 minutes away, and well worth a visit for great coffee, good food, and award winning hot chocolate. It may not be brain food, but it certainly is soul food!

Walking around the hall, there is always a few interesting positions to look at. I wonder who will win this one?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Victorian Junior Championship - into the eleventh hour

The third round in a day is always somewhat of a lottery, a test of stamina as much as a test of skill. And when the games over run it is doubly hard for the competitors. So far, both the rounds have gone over time today, and the third round started an hour later than advertised. I don't think that anyone is too bothered of the last round starting at 5pm, but when it was scheduled to start at 4pm it is rather annoying, especially if anyone had plans in the evening (like me, for instance!).

 Board 1, no surprises with IM James Morris (left), but Matthew Cheah upset second seed, Zelesco in the previous round
 Board 2, Zachary Loh (left) against Michael Chan
 Board 3, Savithri Narenthan (left) against Karl Zelesco
 The main playing area
 Talented Girls (Gawin and Dilnutt) against talented boys (Yung and Yuan)
 All MCC clash, Ari Dale (left) against Nicolaas Schroeder
The back of Sam Gluzman is nearest to us, while Jimmy Ying faces him, on board 5. The line of top boards is Box Hill Chess Club's DGT transmission boards.

In round 3 we saw Max Chew Lee's great victory against Ari dale, and that looked like being the upset of the day. However, he was trumped in the next round by Matthew Cheah in the 4th round, beating Karl Zelesco. This means that only one of the top seeds remains undefeated, and that is James Morris. He has to play Matthew Cheah in the fifth round. The other top seed is Michael Chan, who had dropped a half point to top girl, Savithri Narenthran, in the third round this morning. Michael found top gear in his next game beating Ari Dale.

The juniors in the hall are not looking their brightest at the moment. In fact exhaustion is the best description of the character of the main playing hall. Half the games of the round are already finished, and mistakes are being made across the board. Arbiter, David Hacche, who hasn't fitted in an afternoon nap today, has just commented on an inaccuracy by the top seed, though I haven't actually seen the game. I'm sure it is nothing too major, though.

I would definitely be looking at scheduling as an issue to remedy from this tournament. Earlier I talked with CV Treasurer Trevor Stanning, and CV President Leonid Sandler, and the general feeling is that there is too much tournament chess being played for our population in Victoria, which means that tournaments such as the Victorian Juniors, and even the State Championship do not seem overly exciting. I will be coming up with some formulae and ideas to try to remedy this situation, because the State Championships and the State Junior Championships should be flagship events.

Victorian Junior Championship 2011

It is day 2 of the Victorian Junior Championship for the titles of U-18, U-16 and U-14. There has already been some speculation that the tournament is not particularly representative of the older age groups, and indeed, there are a number of younger (under-12's) players in the tournament hall. Perhaps a discussion regarding how best to attract older kids needs to be opened, and this may help with the wider issue of retaining players in the game generally, rather than the falling off at club level we see in the 16-25 age group. Funnily enough, some over 25's return to the game, and some of these become lifelong addicts, but they have lost some of the best chess playing years of their lives, and not as many return as give up.

Anyway, this is really a celebration of Junior chess rather than a condemnation. Chess Victoria and the Box Hill Chess Club have arranged the tournament. There are some issues with the format. It has been suggested the prizes are small, especially compared to the entry fee. However, I have certain issues with handing out anything other than nominal cash prizes in junior events, and if I go back to when I was a junior, there was no prize money on offer. Yesterday, Box Hill Chess Club had a clash with the tenants of the building they use, and the kids were squeezed into a small room, though it was sufficiently large to play, if not particularly comfortably.It is certainly not the worst venue I have seen used! Today there have been 3 games scheduled which seems a bit tough seeing the schedule is 75 minutes + 30 seconds per move. That could easily work out at 9 hours chess for some players today, and seems to be against the general guidelines of the Australian Junior Chess League for their staging of the Australian Junior Championship where even 2 games a day is deemed excessive.

The field in the end has turned out to be quite good. The late inclusion of James Morris and Michael Chan has bolstered up the top end of the field. The winner of the Under-12 event, Karl Zelesco, along with his arch rival Ari dale means that the tournament can claim to have strength at the top. All these players have made their way to 2/2, though not without some difficulties. Reports are that Karl Zelesco was a little lucky against Jason Chew in round 1 for example. The third round is currently under way, and about half way through. It is a fascinating round with some great match up's (the rounds will become more competitive through today), with perhaps the board 2 game between Zachary Loh and Karl Zelesco being the stand out game. The top games can be followed live at Box Hill's website.

Time to look at some games (there are already a few finished).

Some interesting endgames:
 Here it is white to play, and Oswald Lee on board 19 exchanged bishop for knight. Was this correct? The bishop is usually a better piece than the knight when there are pawns on both sides of the board, but white does suddenly have a passed a-pawn.
 White, Daniel Yuan, has got his rook stuck. Luckily, he knew the drawing pattern and played 1.Rxa6! as even if he loses his b-pawn, the bishop is the wrong colour for promoting the a-pawn! Well played!
One of the most interesting fights was between David Cannon and Nicolaas Schroeder, 2 pretty evenly matched younger players, and it has come to this. David has created a frontal defence to the passed pawn and should secure a draw.

Generally speaking, this is showing a pretty high standard of chess as juniors are usually weak in this part of the game, but Daniel and David are showing that good endgame knowledge can win a player valuable points and half points!

I spoke too soon in the last position. David Cannon had set up an excellent defence, but couldn't hold out. It was great to see 2 young players continuing their game to the death, and Nicholaas tried to win the position. Unfortunately, David didn't know the technique and succumbed.

I showed this to the boys after, and hopefully they have gained something from this ending.

The tournament hall is buzzing as James Morris just wins, and Ari Dale blunders a piece to Max Chew Lee. Max has a low ratin (1465) but already has some big scalps and is a dangerous opponent. Ari is going to find it tough to get a half point from this game.

Meanwhile, it has to be remembered that girls titles are also on offer in this event, although everything is run as one big tournament. Currently, Savithri Narenthran, the Australian under 18 girls champion is on 2/2 and is in a tough fight against Michael Chan. The next top seed is Denise Lim, but she is having her work cut out and Zhi Lin Guo in the following position.

This game has moved on somewhat, and white has made the most of the position. Black had a central king that was immediately hassled with 1.Rae1. After some exchanges, white has then fastened on black's backward b-pawn, and looks to be cleaning up the queen side. I think Denise will have her work cut out to hold on.

Meanwhile, Ari looks busted, Karl Zelesco has won a pawn against Zachary Loh, but I think Zach looked good earlier. Michael Chan looks to be winning a pawn in a double rook ending against Savi Narenthran. Will it be enough to win? Difficult to say. Kyle Gibson has a huge bind against Charlotte Dilnutt and is looking at breaking through, while the game between Dmitry Lee and Jack Puccini is a tough one. A perrenial favourite of openings at junior events is the 2 knights and this round was no exception.

There are just 3 of games left but none of them look like finishing soon. The next round is due to start in just under 10 minutes, which begs the question of whether the organisers have really considered the correct times for each round. It is an issue which tournament organisers need to look at. With 3 games in a day, the organisers obviously want to get the games finished as quickly as apossible, but not giving enough times between rounds is not the answer. This round will start 30 minutes late, and if the same is said of the next round, then some players could be subjected to over 10 hours play today. At the moment there is much hanging around which is not healthy for the players. Really, when there is a 2.5 hour basic time, and 30 second increment, it is obviously dangerous to give a 3 hour playing time. Are the last players to finish going to be given some time before their next games? Will this mean that the whole round will be delayed even longer? I don't know, and I'm going to have to go for a while. I will be back for the last round today, though I have no idea when it will start!

Friday, July 8, 2011

A day out down the Peninsula

It's school holidays so with 2 weeks off work (mostly) it would be criminal not to get out and about a bit. Unfortunately, the weather hasn't been great but as my wife is a photographer, that means good conditions. We decided to head down the Morning ton Peninsula, with the idea of checking out some places on the ocean side of the Peninsula. First we went for lunch in Sorrento, at Buckley's Chance, a great cafe/restaurant that does pretty good coffee, and a mean savoury pancake.

After that, we were ready for the elements. We started with a small trip round to the Sorrento Back Beach. The surf was amazing, the spray from the sea invigorating, and the sights of the cliffs, and sea stacks along with the sound of the surf and the smells of the sea were fantastic. We walked on the beach, and I took a trek to a lookout on the cliffs, while Caroline took on the role of professional photographer on the beach (hopefully she will put up some silky water, long exposure shots on her blog soon).

 Around the corner is Portsea Beach, and further is Point Nepean

 Sorrento Back Beach had great swell today.

Even Arthur's Seat and Port Phillip Bay can be seen from the cliffs.

From Sorrento we took a short drive back towards Melbourne before turning off. We weren't sure where we were going, but found ourselves on a track which led to Bridgewater Bay. This was a fantastic experience. The tide was in and was crashing high up the beach. We were able to just get down to the beach, but had to be careful to not get drenched or stranded.

 Bridgewater Bay, with the sea right in your face!

The real photographer in the family dodges the waves for her art!

You can see by the photo's that the weather was grim. We were wet, cold and getting tired, but we did manage a couple of other small stops at Gunammatta Beach (where it was literally 'blowing a gale'), and at Flinders, where unfortunately the views were marred by works machinery on the pier. And then it was home, in about an hour!

When I moved to Melbourne from England a bit over 6 years ago, it was an exciting experience, and with day trips like today, things remain as exciting as ever. And for the first time in my life, I am living this close to the sea, and it is something that I will not take for granted.