Wednesday, 24 October 2018

A long overdue holiday break.

At the Top of MaoKong Station

I managed to get some time off work this week to enjoy a vacation with my family in Taiwan. This trip would be slightly different as we would traveling alongside my sister's family, the first time we have traveled with another family overseas. The total headcount was as follows: 4 adults, 4 toddlers, 1 helper.

The holiday came at just the right moment as I was feeling a little drained from work and needed something to break the monotony of the weekly usual routine.

Overall, I was happy with the holiday experience. Although I was nursing a slight cold throughout (which really hampered my ability to go for some much-needed exercise), our daily itinerary was packed with wholesome activities to keep kids entertained and occupied. I managed to compensate for my lack of exercise with plenty of walks around to keep the muscles going.

Taiwan is a very kid friendly place with lots of activities for toddlers to do. Cable cars, amusement parks, child-focused museums, big spacious playgrounds. Delicious local food. Reasonable prices. Clean streets. Check out the pictures below!

A highly recommended place to visit if you have toddlers around the ages of 2-5.

Sunset in Taiwan

John enjoying his toddler sized earphones. Well done SQ!

The sight every parent yearns for... A sleeping toddler on a plane. Quick, time to catch some in-flight entertainment before the kid wakes up!

"What? We're going back to Singapore already?!"

This place sells great soybean milk and pancakes. 

Mozerella Cheeze. 

Boys can't live without their mummy

Who says Shopping is just for the Ladies? 

What a beautiful Sunset.

Love the view from the Ferris Wheel. Love the Air Conditioning as well!

"Er...Dad, I think I can't ride for free anymore."

Evening Shannigans. (Yes, we disconnected the phone line to spare the operator.

Green Tea Biscuits! Yummy!
A very long cable car ride up to MaoKong Station

Tracked up all the way up the hill at Taiwan's Zoo to catch  a sighting's of John's favorite animal.

John loves Vending Machines.

It's no joke traveling around with 4 toddlers. Aged 4,3,2,1 respectively! 

During the evenings, whilst the kids were sleeping, I was able to sneak in 1-2 games of online chess games before heading off to bed. I had some interesting games over the past week in Taiwan (some good, some bad/terrible) but none pleased me better than the following game:

A game that I liked (ChessBase 14)
[Event "Live Chess"] [Site ""] [Date "2018.10.18"] [Round "?"] [White "myself"] [Black "opponent"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D00"] [WhiteElo "1905"] [BlackElo "2004"] [Annotator "mark liew"] [PlyCount "43"] [EventDate "2018.??.??"] [TimeControl "900+10"] {My first victory against 2000 rated opposition in rapid time controls 15|10} 1. d4 d5 2. Bf4 c5 3. e4 $5 {this is known as the smith morris gambit.} (3. e3 {is the more restrained way to play this position}) 3... dxe4 {Black accepts the gambit.} 4. d5 $1 {the position is an Albin's countergambit with White having an extra tempo with the bishop on f4} Nf6 5. Nc3 {i think it was around here that Black overestimates his position and played the natural looking} e6 $6 {which doesn't work quite so well here because of a concrete line.} (5... g6 6. Qe2 (6. Qd2 Bg7 7. O-O-O O-O 8. Nge2 (8. f3)) 6... Bg7 7. O-O-O O-O 8. f3 exf3 9. Nxf3) 6. Bb5+ Bd7 7. dxe6 $1 {the point} fxe6 (7... Bxb5 $2 {would be a mistake.} 8. exf7+ Ke7 9. Qxd8+ Kxd8 10. Nxb5 $16) 8. Bxd7+ Nbxd7 {White is down a pawn but Black's fractured pawn structure should ensure him equality at least.} (8... Qxd7 9. Nge2 Qf7 10. Ng3 Nc6) 9. Qe2 $14 {White starts to pressure the isolated pawns.} Qa5 $2 (9... Qb6 10. O-O-O $14) 10. O-O-O Be7 11. f3 $5 exf3 $2 {this is too dangerous} ({stockfish gives.} 11... Nd5 12. Nxd5 exd5 13. Kb1 Nb6 14. fxe4 O-O 15. Nh3 $11) 12. Nxf3 {Now White's pieces get active. The drawback of Black's position is clearly e6} Qb6 13. Rhe1 { Activates White's final piece.} Nf8 14. Ng5 {everything's hinges on e6.} h6 15. Nxe6 $1 Nxe6 (15... Qxe6 16. Qf1 $1 Qf7 17. Qb5+ N8d7 18. Bd6) 16. Rd6 $1 { interferance!} (16. Bd6 $1 {is also just as good.} Bxd6 17. Qxe6+ $18) 16... Bxd6 17. Qxe6+ $18 Kd8 (17... Kf8 18. Bxd6+ Qxd6 19. Qxd6+ $18) 18. Rd1 { pins the bishops and threatens to win Black's queen via Rxd6} Nd7 19. Rxd6 { threatens mate on d7} Qc7 {forced} 20. Nd5 {White just keep on playing threat after threat after threat.} Re8 {I had expected this.} 21. Qxe8+ $1 Kxe8 22. Nxc7+ {and here Black resigned due to loss of significant material. A simple line would be 2..Ke7 23.Rxd7+ Kxd7 24.Nxa8} 1-0

This game had huge significance for me as I had never beaten a 2000 rated player before on rapid time controls. Another milestone for me in chess. Yay.

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