It was unplanned and as last minute as it could get but it ended up to be a good idea to meet in Amman, Jordan instead of in Dubai and Al-Ain, UAE.
We did get the work we wanted to do done and I got the opportunity to visit Sami Khader's Asia Chess Academy.
Here we are competing to have the better Blues Brothers look but we are failing to even look like Chess Gangsters.
The academy is wonderfully situated, centrally located and very accessible, yet in a quiet area, and is one of the most children friendly I have seen.
I loved the energy and passion, and the kids showed great focus and determination whether playing or working on exercises. Sami is to be congratulated for creating this learning environment and the evidence is in the rapid improvement showed by students just after a year and would surely be very strong players in two or three years time.
Besides the main area, there were smaller rooms where smaller groups could work.
Yes, Russian books. Sami might claim to have Arabic as his first language but he also studied in the old Soviet Union.
Jordan lays claim to the best sweets in the Middle East and I think we have to concede that as fact.
Sadly I forgot to steal one of these before I left.