Archive for the Chess Tigers on Tour Category

05 June: Leftovers

Posted in Chess Tigers on Tour, The match 2012 with tags , , , , on June 5, 2012 by Chessurfer

In this 50th and final post in this blog, I want to share a few pictures I have not published yet. Some, because they simply did not fit into the story, some I just forgot. But why should I keep the pictures for myself, since I have noticed that so many people have visited this site and according to the feedback, have enjoyed the “behind the screens” pictures of the 2012 world championship match! As always: enjoy!

Leftovers

Let’s go back to 4 May, when Peter Heine Nielsen arrived. The door to his room was obviously closed and there was no way to open the door with his key card. A technician from the hotel came, and it took him about 30 minutes before he could open the door. Not a good start.

At  the opening press conference the journalist Igor Nekhames handed out this “lucky tie” to challenger Boris Gelfand. As far as I remember Nekhames said that it is a tradition in Russia that the challenger receives a tie for good luck before the match. Who can confirm this?

On match days, half an hour before the game started, Vishy and Aruna were picked up from the hotel  by a black Mercedes, who took them to the Tretyakov Gallery. You can get a glimpse of the crazy Moscow traffic. I preferred to walk from the hotel…

…mainly because of the odd things and cars you see in the streets of Moscow!

Nice story: Jan Werndl, a 9-year old young Chess Tiger and pupil of Hans-Walter Schmitt, had just one big wish to celebrate his Holy Communion: to come to Moscow to see a world championship game of his idol Vishy Anand.  Ulrich Stock, who wrote really great game reports and background stories in the German quality paper “Die Zeit”  interviewed Jan about his passion for chess and his unusual wish.  You can read the interview here: http://www.zeit.de/sport/2012-05/anand-schach-wm-werndl. (German)

 An unforgettable experience for any 9-year old: Jan met Vishy after a world championship game!

On “Super Saturday” I spotted this wonderful picture in the Multimedia Art Museum: Vishy Anand (24 at the time) and Vladimir Kramnik (18) played the final in the PCA rapid tournament Kremlin Stars 1994. Anand won. Russian TV carried it live from the Palace of Congress with a spectacular stage setting designed by the Bolshoi Ballet.

Kramnik 2012, with shorter hair doing the commentary for game 12 with Dirk-Jan ten Geuzendam. Dirk-Jan told me that he received a lot of emails about the teapot. 

Another one taken on a busy chess Saturday: watching the Kuka vs Grishuk match together with reigning European champion in classical chess and blitz, Valentina Gunina. On the right: Oxana Kosteniuk.

“This is my first exhibition”. GM Maxim Dlugy smiled. He showed some of his drawings in the pressroom and in the VIP room.   Always a superb speed chess player, Dlugy was formerly ranked number one in the world by the World Blitz Chess Association. More about Dlugy on http://www.dlugy.com/

Another fine piece of Dlugy-style art, called “X Marks the Spot.”

Remember that the Russian national football team (Sbornaya) stayed in “our” hotel for a week? We thought it would be a nice idea to have a chessboard signed by the players of the team.

It took me quite some googling time to find out who this friendly chap is: Aleksandr Anatolyevich Kerzhakov (29). He is  currently playing for Russian Premier League club Zenit St. Petersburg. Aleksandr is married and has a young daughter. His current market value is €13.000.000. His website: http://www.kerzhakov.net

And this is the result: “C8” is signed by coach Dick Advocaat. “D5” was reserved for superstar Andrei Arshavin, but we simply did not see him in the hotel. Sbornaya, good luck in the Euro 2012!

 You can see that the lower part of the board is reserved for the “A-Team”, but this is a different board signed by the team:  F1-Hans-Walter, G2-Aruna, H3-Eric, D1-Surya, E2-PH, F3-Vishy, G4-Rustam, H5-Radek.

Thank you!

The original idea behind this blog was to post a few pictures about Moscow  for family and friends at home.  After I shot so many pictures during the inspection of the playing hall, I thought it would be nice to share my impressions and to show some off-stage pictures to other chess fans.Thanks to Twitter and Facebook, many friends spread the link to this blog. Some of the biggest chess websites like Chessbase, ChessVibes, ChessTigers and The Week in Chess put a link to this blog on their websites and I have to say a big thank you to Frederic Friedel, Peter Doggers, Mark Crowther and Mike Rosa for their support. I also like to thank Jennifer Shahade, Robert Fontaine,Diego Garces, Alexandra Kosteniuk and many others, who retweeted my Twitter messages to their followers. Special thanks go out to Dirk-Jan ten Geuzendam and to Michael Wiemer, who wrote about the blog in his “Sportinsider” blog. Very special thanks go out to Frank Stiefel for the wonderful cartoons!

This is not supposed to be an Oscar-like “thank you” session, but I need to say thank you to Vishy and Aruna and the rest of the team: PH, Surya, Rustam and Radek. And I should not forget my friend Hans-Walter Schmitt for four wonderful weeks in Moscow: Danke HW!

I have to say thank you to my wife and kids, who did not object when I told them that I would be away from home for 4 weeks. Love you!

Finally, I have to thank you, dear readers of this blog for your visits and feedback. I hope you enjoyed the pictures and the not-so-serious captions. I certainly had a lot of fun working on the blog! I hope I will get the opportunity to do something like this blog again in the future. Leave a comment if you have an idea!

I will go through this blog thoroughly and will do some repair work, add links, add or remove a picture here and there. I will also try to turn the blog around, so newbies to this blog can start reading at the first entry.

Game over. End of blog.

01 June: The final act

Posted in Anand, Chess Tigers on Tour, Gelfand, Tretyakov with tags , , , on June 1, 2012 by Chessurfer

As promised in an earlier post, I will give you an pictorial overview of a very busy last working day in Moscow for Anand and his team.

But first: breakfast in our separate room, that we reserved for four weeks in the Baltschug Kempinski hotel. Sometimes we had to kick out some German tourists, though.

Tea with Putin

After breakfast, Vishy and Boris were invited for a cup of tea with the President of Russia, Vladmir Vladimirovich Putin in Novo-Ogaryovo, which is an estate in the Odintsovo District of Moscow Oblast to the west of the city and a suburban official residence of the President.  You can see pictures of the meeting here: http://visualrian.ru/en/site/feature/158465/ and also on the official website of the Kremlin with a short transcript of the meeting: http://eng.kremlin.ru/news/3938. If you would like to see a short video of the tea party (in Russian), go here: http://www.1tv.ru/news/sport/208542.

While Vishy enjoyed having tea with Putin, his seconds had to clean up the mess in the workroom.

Clean your table after meal…and work.

The work is done! The Anand seconds Peter Heine Nielsen, Rustam Kasimdhzanov, Radek Wojtaszek and Surya Sekhar Ganguly went to the closing ceremony after cleaning the room, waiting for Anand, who got stuck in Moscow traffic on his way to the Tretyakov Gallery.

The photographers were also waiting for the players to come. You might recognize Anastasia Karlovic (left) and next to her we spot  Dirk “Poldi” Poldauf, editor of the German Chess magazine “Schach“.

I had a seat behind Maya and Boris Gelfand in the second row. “How was the tea and the traffic, Boris?”

You can watch all the action of the closing ceremony on the official website of the match, which also provides an excellent video. You can also see an photo report on the site. http://moscow2012.fide.com/

Vishy had to weather some critical moments during the closing ceremony. He has been to the gym in the hotel quite often, but can he stem this 8 kg trophy alone? Irina Lebedeva, director-general of the Tretyakov Gallery, wants to help the world champion. Come on, Vishy!

Yes, he can! Kirsan is relieved.

Vishy and Boris also had to stamp and sign first-day envelopes issued by the Ministry of Communications in honour of the match. 500.000 copies will be sold in Russia and will be available soon.

And they look like this.

Only an handful of  envelopes were framed, for the players and special guests. A collectors item!

After the final press conference, “Team Anand”,speeded back to the hotel, dropped the trophies and flowers in the room and off we went to the next item on the agenda:

One day earlier, the Ambassador of India for Russia, Ajai Malhotra, invited the Anand team for dinner in the Embassy of India. But did he mention a felicitation as well?

More than 250 enthusiastic Indians came to the felicitation of the world champion and Vishy was really touched by the support of his fellow countrymen, who all wanted to have an autograph.

This picture is courtesy of the Indian Embassy in Russia, http://www.indianembassy.ru/.

Vishy, Aruna, Surya, Hans-Walter and yours truly with the Ambassador and his wife Ira and Nina Khrushcheva, the great-granddaughter of former Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev. What a wonderful evening, what a wonderful meal we had, what a wonderful way to end our stay in Moscow!

After a final glance at the Red Square from the hotel room at 06:00 AM…

…it was about time to go home. Bye bye Moscow!

29 May: Simul action in the Chess Corner

Posted in Chess Tigers on Tour, Karpov, Kasparov with tags , , , , , , on May 29, 2012 by Chessurfer

Now that we are getting very close to the end of the 2012 world chess championship and to the final entries of this blog, I will show you a few pictures I made during various simultaneous displays which were organized in the Chess Corner in the courtyard of the Tretyakov Gallery. Since I had to be in the playing hall during the games, and visited the press center and the VIP lounge between the moves, I missed some of the simuls. A lot of top Russian players gave simuls during the championship: Valentina Gunina, Anatoly Karpov, Ian Neponmiachtchi, Sergey Karjakin, Vladimir Potkin and many others. Most attention was given to the simultaneous display by Garry Kasparov, who played against 14 Russian and European champions in their age categories.  It took Garry Kimovich more than three hours to finish the simul and he had to fight pretty hard for his +12=2-0 score.

Pictures of the simuls

It was quite a nail-biting simul for the old master. Kasparov  normally does not like to play simuls against 1800+ players, but here he picked up the gauntlet: some of the biggest Russian talents proved to be a tough nut to crack.

This is 16 year old Maria Severina (ELO 2247) European Champion U16, who also played in the Blondes vs. Brunettes match.

Much to the enjoyment of the audience, Kasparov took his time for his moves. Here is is thinking about a move in his game against…

Kirill Kozionov, holder of the 2011 Cup of Russia up to age 14, ELO 2279. Kirill scored a draw.

And there was another draw for this 9 (!) year old girl: Ekaterina Goltseva , U10 Champion of Russia, ELO 1628. Remember her name! You can read an interview with her (in English) on this Russian website: http://www.chess-news.ru/en/node/7526/page/to/like. You can also replay her game against Kasparov on that site.

Another ex-world champion in action: Anatoly Karpov, playing against a visually handicapped young player on a special chess board.

After the simul “Tolya” was happy to sign a few books and other stuff.

And he had to pose with your Chessurfer! Picture taken by HWS.

Vladimir Potkin, European Champion 2011, ELO 2647, playing a simul under the watchful eye of HWS.

Another strong Russian grandmaster doing a simul: Vladimir Belov (ELO 2641) playing against youngsters. In the back you can see Potkin.

And here she is again: Maria Severina, playing against Belov. She had a busy week and probably played some more simuls I do not know of.

Excitement

For many players, especially young chess players, it is a very exciting experience to play in a simul against a top player. I can remember how excited I was during my first ever simul against Dutch legend Jan Timman back in 1983 (draw!).  It is always heartwarming to see the expression on the face of the players, when the grandmaster comes closer and closer and closer…

“Hah, that was a good move, eh?”

“Please, not that move, please don’t”.

Very concentrated.

A bit cheeky, I would say.

Better look at your own position missy, you are next!

This young lad was just happy: a game against Kasparov, a nice spot in the sun and daddy wrote down the moves of the game.

Daddy! Kasparov is coming!

27 May: Rest day – Moscow is Moscow

Posted in Chess Tigers on Tour, Moscow, Strange things with tags , , on May 27, 2012 by Chessurfer

Sunday, 27 May was another rest day (the last one?) and after staying more than three weeks in Moscow, it is about time to show you some of my impressions from the Russian capital. Initially I started the blog for my family, friends and colleagues back home: I occassionaly wanted to show a few impressions from Moscow, but after shooting so many pictures during the opening and the inspection of the playing hall, I thought it might be nice to share some of the background information of the match with more people. And I thank you for the positive feedback.

As I do with the chess related pictures, I do not want to show you the normal tourist shots, but just a few strange and beautiful things I saw.  I explored the streets of Moscow with Anand’s delegation leader Hans-Walter Schmitt, on a couple of days our wives accompanied us, on other days a few friends came along. HWS has posted many pictures on the Chess Tigers website: http://www.chesstigers.de/

Moscow is Moscow, what can I say? Enjoy!

Impressions from Moscow 

In case you missed this picture: on our first day in Moscow, we saw this car and we were wondering if this is an ambulance. We found out that it is a repair service for rims. The car certainly gets much attention in Moscow and we saw some more service cars during our stay.

This car owner should call the above mentioned number.

Talking about cars: on the first night of our stay we were wondering what the hell was going on on the Red Square that night, and it turned out that more than 14.000 servicemen were rehearsing for the Victory Parade on 9 May. It was an odd view to see tanks crossing the street, just before our windows.

Marching through the streets. There was another rehearsal two days later, that started Sundaymorning at 8 AM!

These young lads were marching with a bottle of vodka or beer in their hands on 9 May, the day of the Victory parade.

On the way from the hotel to the Tretyakov Gallery, a 10 minute walk, I saw many happy newly wed couples and I finally understand why these grooms are carrying their brides. The girls must have ankle fractures, because…

… Moscow girls stubbornly wear stiletto heels! And it is not easy walking with these shoes on the streets of Moscow. Respect to them!

 This does not look healthy. As an orthopedist, you can make a fortune in Moscow!

This is a crazy theme park near Hotel Cosmos. The last time I visited Moscow, in1993, it was a beautiful quiet park with nice buildings, a bit strange though.  Now it is a funfair, with loud music everywhere, a go-kart track and all kinds of sub-stuff. I was a bit disappointed.

Odd couple: Hans-Walter Schmitt and Peter Doggers had a good time in the park.

Also a strange sight during a boat tour on the Moskva river: a Russian Space Shuttle on a ferry boat. And no, it is not a photo composition.

This gentleman voluntarily posed for us in the beautiful Novodevichy Convent. A must-see. (I mean, the convent)

We did not see many animals in the streets. HWS is making a picture of the only cat we saw in three weeks. There are many Chinese restaurants in Moscow, though.

There are many parks in Moscow, with beautiful flowers.

Moon over Moscow – one last stroll before going to sleep.

26 May: Behind the scenes – part 2 (VIPs and Grandmasters)

Posted in Chess Tigers on Tour, press with tags , , , , , , , on May 26, 2012 by Chessurfer

After the chess and football and chess and art articles it is about time to take a look in the VIP and pressroom again. When the most important event on the chess calender 2012 takes place in the center of the chess world, it is no surpise that many VIPS and grandmasters step by the Tretyakov gallery to take a look, socialize,shake hands, meet old friends, comment to the game and to have a drink or two.

At most days, the playing hall is overcrowded, but there are some neat “public viewing” areas in the Tretyakov, where people can watch the games, listen to the commentary and talk about the games. As you can see, these areas are very popular.

Meanwhile, in the VIP room, you can follow the games, get a drink and a snack or take  a nap. Following the games is exhausting for some  guests…

…whereas the journalists and photographers in the press room perform a “journo shuffle” to get the best spot. You can see Cathy Rogers (Australia) elegantly performing the shuffle before the eyes of  official match photographer Anastasiya Karlovich. The Dutch jury gives 12 points.

A VIP giving a press conference on “Chess and Terror”Edvard Stanislavovich Radzinsky (Russian: Э́двард Станисла́вович Радзи́нский). He is a Russian playwright, writer, TV personality, and film screenwriter. He is also known as an author of more than forty popular history books.

Another guest at the press conference last week: Anatoly Karpov, who celebrated his 61st birthday on 23 May.

After the press conference, Karpov was invited in the studio to chat about the game and his career with host Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam and Hungarian Super Grandmaster Peter Leko. According to the expression on Karpov’s face, this was one of the most exciting games of the match!

One for the girls: Ian Aleksandrovich Nepomniachtchi (Russian: Ян Непо́мнящий; born July 14, 1990), current ELO 2716. Ian has a very difficult last name and I will never get used to it, although I met Ian at various Chess Classic tournaments in Mainz and had to write down his name very often, since he won the Ordix Open in Mainz 2008.

Here is an old “Nepo” picture I shot in Mainz during the Chess Classic 2008. Nepo is much easier to write, pronounce and to remember… He was wearing his lucky sweatshirt during the event.

After the press conference Ian played several blitz games with Maria Fominykh, under the critical eye of a 7- year old kibitzer.

Maria’s boyfriend, GM Alexander Morozevich doing an interview for ChessVibes with Peter Doggers.

Enter Garry Kimovich Kasparov for the press conference, having a quick chat with the legendary Russian coach Boris Postovsky. What is the security gorilla in the back looking at?

FIDE president Kirsan Nikolayevich Ilyumzhinov sharing the latest news of the Alien Conference 2012 in Moscow with Russian chess journalist Yuri Vassiliev, Sport Express.

All smiles: FIDE Vice President Boris Kutin (Slovenia) and Anna Sharevich (Belarus). Kutin is member of the Appeals Committee.

Peter & Peter discussing the games. Peter Svidler took his sons to the Tretyakov on two match days.

The Svidler twins Nikita and Daniel met Aruna and Vishy Anand after one of the games.

One of the strongest chess couples in the world: Robert Fontaine and Ekaterina Lagno.

And one of the strongest players in the world dropped by for a quick stop on Saturday: Levon Aronian. Levon will play the Tal Memorial in Moscow, which will be played almost immediately after the world championship match from 7-19 June.

I’ll leave you today with the “Moon over Moscow”: a quiet Saturday night in the streets and on the Moskva River.  The Russians are all watching the babushki at the European Song Contest in Baku.

25 May: Searching for the original

Posted in art, Chess Tigers on Tour, football, Strange things, Tretyakov with tags , , , , , , on May 25, 2012 by Chessurfer

In an earlier post I wrote about Viktor Popkov’s painting “The team is resting” , the art symbol of the 2012 match. Today, on the restday Hans Walter Schmitt and I decided that we wanted to see the original painting and we were told that should go to the Gallery at 10, Krymsky Val for the real thing.

But first we had to do some shopping…

…and since we needed a lot of mineral water for “our boys” as we fondly call Vishy and his seconds, we decided to take the red car today.

We just had difficulties to park the car.

Since we are regular customers of “Atak” supermarket, HWS is allowed to use the ladder.

After our shopping spree and another hazardous drive through Moscow traffic, we walked from the hotel to the Gallery at Krymsky Val, a 30 minute stroll. Since the weather was fine, sunny and not too hot, we made several photo stops, so it took us about an hour to get there.

The Peter the Great Statue was designed by the Georgian designer Zurab Tsereteli to commemorate 300 years of the Russian Navy, which was started by Peter I of Russia. At 94 metres, it is the eighth tallest statue in the world. In November 2008, it was voted the tenth ugliest building in the world by Virtual Tourist. In 2010, it was included in a list of the world’s ugliest statues by Foreign Policy magazine.

And we also spotted some flying umbrellas. Moscow is a strange city sometimes.

Triumph of Caïssa

Despite the fine weather, we entered the museum, certainly one of the ugliest buildings in Moscow, but on the inside it is a different story. We bought a photo permission (entry was free with the world championship badge) and started searching for the original Popkov painting. There was an extra interesting exhibition for chess lovers in the museum, that runs through 3 June:  Triumph of Caïssa, dedication to Marcel Duchamp.

From the Tretyakov website: “The State Tretyakov Gallery’s section of contemporary art presents special exhibition project in scope of the “Museum night 2012” and the World Chess Championship. This project is is timed to the World Chess Championship Match and dedicated to Marcel Duchamp. One of the most influential artists of the XXth century, Duchamp was an able chess player.  He claimed that his ardour for chess should be taken as a part of his creative work: “While not all artists are chess players, all chess players are artists”.

So we started the tour with a 3D chess animation in a TV set…

…and a big chess board painting in the lobby.

Then we noticed this row of chairs, with chess pieces on them, and when you look carefully…

…you can see that the chairs are resting on tennis balls! It is soooooo tempting to take a ball….

The white and black king at the end of the row of chairs, on the highest pile of tennis balls.

But we had not found our painting yet, although we saw some famous pieces of chess art in the collection, when strolling through the art gallery. This is the table of constructivist Alexander Rodchenko.

And we actually did not find it. The museum staff shrugged their shoulders, when we asked where the painting was. They suggested us to go to the main building where the chess match takes place and ask there.

And HWS really got angry, after searching for hours without seeing the painting. Thank god he found a punching bag.

I did not get mad, but decided to” improve” this piece of art. What is wrong in this picture? Please comment!

After a final stroll through the museum, it was even too late to visit the friendly football match Russia-Uruguay, to see how our new friends Dick Advocaat and Bert van Lingen would do.

Ha, there he is, doing a TV interview before the game. The game ended 1-1.

And we will continue our search for the original…

24 May: Chess and football in the Kempinksi

Posted in Chess Tigers on Tour, football with tags , , on May 24, 2012 by Chessurfer

Football is like chess,only without the dice“. This ultimate piece of football logic, the profoundest of the profound, even made it to one of Germany’s biggest news portals, Spiegel Online (http://www.spiegel.de/).

“As any devotee of the game will tell you,” the Spiegel writes, “footballers do not always make complete sense in their utterances. Perhaps it is the endorphins rattling around their system, or the sheer exhaustion of running around for 90 minutes. In any case, one can only regard such nonsensical statements with awe and wonder if they, like Zen Buddhism’s paradoxical koans, work on an intuitive level that transcends rational thought. This piece of Dadaist genius is attributed to Lukas Podolski, who will play on the German side in Euro 2012. He appeared to be channeling Yogi Berra when he came up with this instant classic from the ‘like a fish needs a bicycle’ school.”

German striker and dadaist genius Lukas Podolski.  Picture taken from his official website http://www.lukas-podolski.com/. “Poldi” will play for Arsenal London next season and we cannot wait for more linguistic gems.

Press conference with team manager Dick Advocaat

Quite a fuss in our hotel today! As I reported earlier, the Russian football team stays in the Baltschug Kempinksi this week, preparing for the EURO 2012, which will be hosted by Poland and Ukraine between 8 June and 1 July. The team is in the final stages of their preparation in Russia and after their friendly game against Uruguay on Friday in Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, they will travel to Switzerland and later to Poland. The Russian squad will face Greece, Poland and the Czech Republic in the group stage.

The home jersey of the Russian team.

At 11.00 an open press conference took place in the Kempinksi, so Hans-Walter Schmitt, Dirk-Jan ten Geuzendam (New in Chess) and your @Chessurfer went there to take a look. We have met the team manager Dick Advocaat and his Dutch assistants in the hotel on a few occasions (elevator, bar) and chatted a bit about chess and football. Advocaat  knows that the chess world championship is going on in Moscow, and even knows who are playing!

I guess we should follow this sign to get to the press conference?!

And here we are, in an overcrowded room, with TV teams, reporters and photographers. It was a press conference with team manager Dick Advocaat, the press officer and an interpreter. Loads of close-up pictures can be found here: http://www.rfs.ru/main/media/photo/vc36022/2557.html

Look who is sitting in the second row, pointing the camera in my direction: Hans-Walter Schmitt. Nobody can stop the Chess Tigers!

After the 30 minute press conference, in which Advocaat managed to reveal absolutely nothing, HWS asked him to sign a chessboard for our team. That caused some commotion, because several photographers wanted to take a picture. Advocaat: “You want me to sign..what?”

“Yes, Dick (no pun intended) , just sign a chessboard”. Picture courtesy of http://www.rfs.ru.

And we managed: Advocaat and his assistant Bert van Lingen signed the board.

HWS and Bert van Lingen are happy! Bert, you can leave the tickets for the game tomorrow at the reception desk of the hotel. Thanks. Bedankt.

Best friends: your Chessurfer and Dick Advocaat. Picture taken by Dirk-Jan ten Geuzendam.