Armenian chess grandmaster Hrant Melkumyan landed in Canberra at the start of the year for his annual three-month visit to Australia.
Thanks to COVID-19, he never left.
Which goes a long way to explaining why the world number 75 is one of 60 entries in the Vikings Weekender, competing for a first prize of $1000 in Tuggeranong as part of Canberra's first live open tournament since the global pandemic.
It's a miniscule purse compared to what Melkumyan usually plays for on the European circuit as a long-time chess professional, but it does offer something of a return to normality, and the chance to compete over the board again.
"That's one of the main reasons I'm playing, it's a different feeling when you can touch the chess pieces, move them around," Melkumyan said.
But don't expect the 31-year-old to take it easy, despite his superior rating.
"When you're a professional, you take every single game seriously, there's no mucking around or anything, you just try to give your best - if you start playing 80 per cent of your ability usually you get punished for that and it might turn into a bad habit," Melkumyan said.
"It's a two-day chess tournament...much less pressure. Usually tournaments take two weeks - you arrive two or three days before, you basically isolate from the rest of the world and concentrate on your tournament.
"Usually the games start at three o'clock and go for six hours, you can't really do much before the game, you just prepare, you go out, you eat lunch, you walk a bit, have a cup of coffee and that's it, you have to go to the game.
"The two weeks takes lots of energy, especially if it's an important event then you also put lots of time into preparation."
For the Vikings Chess Club, Melkumyan's inclusion is a massive coup. His presence in the tournament will shine global interest on a club which plays in the humble surrounds of the Erindale Vikings Club basement every Monday night.
He's one of two grandmasters in the tournament, the other being Australia's strongest active player Anton Smirnov - a 19-year-old who earned the highest possible chess title in 2017.
Smirnov is one of 10 grandmasters in Australian chess history, in a country where the game still dreams of achieving a more mainstream status.
Armenia meanwhile, a country of barely three million people, boasts 33 active GMs and several more who have retired including the ninth world champion, Tigran Petrosian.
They have won three Chess Olympiads in the past 14 years, and on each occasion their successful players were mobbed by throngs of fans at the airport upon arriving home.
Chess has been compulsory in schools there for almost a decade now, and their number one player, Melkumyan's good mate Levon Aronian, can't walk down the street without being stopped for photos and autographs.
His profile is arguably higher than star Arsenal soccer player Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
Melkumyan playing in the Vikings Weekender is akin to a USPGA professional playing in a local golf tournament, or a tennis grand slam regular featuring in a Canberra club event.
MORE CANBERRA SPORT
Yet he is cloaked in anonymity on his regular hikes around the capital.
Canberra is a special place for the Armenian. His long-time girlfriend, Emma Guo, lives here - she was a child chess prodigy herself, and the pair met at a Chess Olympiad in 2012 in Istanbul.
He usually visits for three months at the start of the year, plays in Canberra's Doeberl Cup (Australia's most prestigious annual chess tournament) and then heads back to Europe for the summer season.
"Europe was hit pretty badly by COVID so all my plans have to change," Melkumyan said.
"I applied for a new Visa to stay in Australia, that's my best option at the moment, and the Australian government granted me a new Visa.
"I've been enjoying life in Australia, going for hikes, not traveling or anything, playing tennis, just doing normal things people do."