Moscow Diaries: Magical Possibilities!

Moscow Diaries: Magical Possibilities! The previous article had a lot about weather and conditions in Moscow. In this

Moscow Diaries: Magical Possibilities!

The previous article had a lot about weather and conditions in Moscow. In this article, I will present some of my favorite quotes and present chess situations that connected well with the soul of the quote. The stories about food and novelties were less interesting to be shared, so let’s get started with some chess magic.


1. Magical Possibilities 

I am a great fan of Anupam Kher’s show Kuch bhi ho sakta hai and his wonderful book ‘The best thing about you is YOU’. Read on to know the relevance:

I was playing white against IM Elistratov Semen 2407 in the fourth round of Moscow Open. We reached this position and my opponent showed no signs of ending the game soon. I was taken aback by the fact that my opponent spent 6-7 minutes in this position. I was expecting the game to end in a draw very soon.

He played …g5!?

I realized that the e5 pawn could become weak and my opponent has plans to liquidate into a king and pawn endgame.  I sensed the danger and calculated well:

After I signed the scoresheets, the first thought that came to my mind was Anupam Kher’s
Agar yeh ho sakta hai, toh kuch bhi ho sakta hai’
If this could happen, anything could happen!
Stay open to magical possibilities (smiles)

2. The Good, Bad and the Ugly

Black has three options: a)…f6 b)…Be7 and c)…Qd5

I chose …Be7 and my opponent played Bxe7 immediately

There are three ways to capture back on e7: a)…Qxe7 b)..Nxe7 c)…Kxe7

I eliminated 10…Qxe7 because of 11.Nxd4. The position is very awkward! 10…Kxe7 looked bad to me and I captured back with the knight, hoping to survive the worse endgame.

In this position, the real challenge was to evaluate the objectivity of each move, by unlearning the patterns that limit the scope of original ideas.  I remember reading about Unlearning in one of the Rowson’s books. After coming back to my room, I did mention the quote from Thani Oruvan in my annotations.

I am so obsessed with this quote that I used it as an epigraph for my book ‘The Lively Library & An Unlikely Romance’ and it never fails to amaze me.

The real battle between good and bad is determining which is which – Thani Oruvan

So, Kxe7 was the best move in the position.

11.Re1 + Kf6!


12.Re4 Kg7

In the game, I went wrong with 10…Nxe7 and lost without much fight.


3. The Bright Side

I offered a draw to my opponent in this position after playing 22..h6 and he declined. I was reminded of the quote by Amitabh Bacchan’s father here.

Agar mann ka ho, toh accha. Na ho, zyada accha!
If things happen according to how you wish, that’s good. If they don’t, then even better!

Do watch this video:


I felt that there is something more waiting for me and I kept improving the position of my pieces:

The final mistake was 37.Bc2 and it loses a pawn and the game.

When things don’t go well, Don’t fret. There is something better ahead. Keep working and keep moving forward!


4. Nothing to lose

This is also a right moment for me to share another quote that has helped me to play well in minus positions. When you are in a tough situation, it is easy to go astray. But, your beliefs could help you in giving your best to the situation. When I am defending a slightly worse position, I remind myself of the quote by Anupam Kher’s grandfather – Pandit Amar Nath Kher

‘Bheega hua aadmi baarish se nahi darta’

A man who is drenched is not afraid of the rain

I would love to know your ‘Kuch Bhi Ho Sakta Hai’ stories. Do you have any? Were you able to relate to the quotes?

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About Niranjan Navalgund

Niranjan Navalgund is a young chess professional who derives great pleasure in learning about life through the game of chess. He is a former National U-17 chess champion, Commonwealth U-18 Silver Medalist and the author of 'The Lively Library & An Unlikely Romance'. Unusual stories excite him. He hopes to visit the Panda Zoo, someday.

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