Archive for the Moscow Category

28 May: Tiebreak for the crown

Posted in art, Filatov, Moscow, Tretyakov with tags , , , on May 28, 2012 by Chessurfer

On the first day of the match, the trophy for the winner of the match was shown in the VIP lounge for a few minutes, and I managed to take a few pictures. Well, nobody asked me NOT to take pictures, to be precize! However, I decided not to publish them, because I thought that it would be annoying for the organizers if a picture of the trophy would be published at the start of the match on a blog and not on the official website. Therefore I decided to wait a bit, but after the 12th game today, the trophy was officially presented in the VIP room by the artist, Andrey Molchanovsky. So finally, I can open my vault and share the pictures with you.

The trophy

Carefully packed in a wooden box…

And here it is…unboxed!

On the first match day, only a few people were allowed in the VIP lounge to take a look at the trophy: you may recognize Ilya Levitov, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and Andrey Filatov. Next to Filatov is the creator of the sculpture, Andrey Molchanovsky.

Irina Lebedeva, the director-general of the State Tretyakov Gallery, is carefully studying the trophy.

A proud artist showing his work. More information about Andrey Molchanovsky can be found on his website  http://www.molchanovsky.com/.

You can recognize the crown in the chessboard. The trophy is made of gold and bronze, the chessboard is made of optical glass. The trophy weighs about 8 kg.

A closer look at the crown…

The inscription on the socket reads: World Chess Championship 2012.

HWS is excited and has a chat with Molchanovsky: “Can I have one, pleeeeeaaaaaase?”

There is additional prize for the winner, sponsored by the Tretyakov Gallery.

I don’t know if these are the championship games that are inscripted, but it looks nice. You can also see the chess pieces on the trophy.

“No Sir, you cannot take this as handluggage, please leave it here.”

Your Chessurfer with the trophy. Picture taken by Dirk-Jan ten Geuzendam.

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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.

Blondes vs. Brunettes vs. Art

Posted in Chess Tigers on Tour, Gunina, Moscow with tags , , , , on May 22, 2012 by Chessurfer

Yes, this is the match we all have been waiting for! On Saturday, 19 May a blitz match (Scheveningen System) between a team of blonde players and a team of brunette players was organized in the famous Botvinnik Central Chess Club in Moscow. The regulations were actually quite simple: a 2100 ELO+ was required, but the hair colour was the main entry ticket and there was also a dress code: the blondes had to wear light clothing, dark clothing was requested for the dark-haired players. So the players should dress like this:

The dress code, but who said something about wearing hats and high heels?

In this respect it might be interesting to quote a few regulations of the heavily discussed ECU (European Chess Union) dress code for chess players:

13.2 Dress rules for the players during the games
In general, players are required to follow the code of casual dressing which means:

-For women blouses, turtleneck, T-shirts or polo’s, trousers, jeans or slacks, skirts, dresses, and appropriate footwear (boots, flats, mid-heel or high-heel shoes, sneakers with sock) or any other appropriate clothing modification.

-A jacket, vest or sweater, a scarf, as well as jewelry (earrings, necklace, etc.) coordinated to the outfit may be worn.

-In respect to shirts, the second from the top button may also be opened in addition to the very top button.

More information about the dress code here: http://eiwcc2012.tsf.org.tr/images/stories/files/Appendix%201.pdf

Multimedia Museum

However, before I went to the Central Chess Club at Gogolevkiy Blvd. 14 for the match, I made a stop at the Multimedia Art Museum, in Ostozhenka Street 16, which is actually close to the chess club. During the world championship match a multimedia exhibition “Chess figures of the20th Century wil be shown and will run from 17 May through 24 June. The exhibition presents over 100 photographs, made by such prominent artists as Boris Ignatovich and Boris Dolmatovsky, as well as posters  from important tournaments.

Tournament posters

A part of the photo exhibition in the big lobby of the museum.

A photo of a young challenger.

Karpov vs. Kasparov in one of their endless matches. Hard to imagine a 24-game match nowadays.

In addition to the photos, the exhibition feautures a number of unique chess sets, including rare instances of the XIX century, the original Soviet sets “Town and Country” and others.

Beautiful chess sets. If you get a chance to visit the exhibition, go! If not, visit the web site of the museum: http://www.mamm-mdf.ru/exhibitions/shahmatnyie-figuryi-vek-20-y/, with pictures of the opening of the exhibition.

The match

It is just 10 minute walk from the museum to the Botvinnik Central Chess Club, and it is easy to see that you arrived at the right place when you get there:

This memorial plaque, dedicated to Mikhail Botvinnik was inaugurated on the last day of the Botvinnik Memorial in September 2011. The plaque was revealed by Vladimir Kramnik and Vishy Anand, and reads: “5 times world champion, the founder of the national chess school, Mikhail Moiseevich Botvinnik, worked in this building from 1988 to 1995”.

A beautiful building, in which you can breath the rich history of the game and the spirit of Botvinnik. There are loads of never-seen-before- pictures on the wall.

Now it is time to see some pictures of the girls match.

What does the ECU say in their dress code regulations about these 20 cm stiletto heels?

Anna Burtasova, chess journalist and photographer, pondering a move in her game against Valentina Gunina.

This 16-year old talent is Maria Severina (ELO 2247) European Champion under 16. She played against Kasparov in the simul one day earlier and almost managed to score a draw.

Russian Super GM Ian Nepomniachtchi (ELO 2717) with dark hair, playing a fun game against two (!) blondes.

The blondes: Maria Fominykh, Chess Pro reporter, photographer and Morozevich’ girlfriend (left) playing together with European champion Valentina Gunina.

White roses for team blonde: 39,5 points. The blonde team in random order: Valentina Gunina, Olga Girja, Irina Vasilevich, Maria Fominykh, Irina Zakurdjaeva, Marija Severina, Irina Bivol and Julia Dogodkina. Correct me if I am wrong!

Red roses for team brunette: 24,5 points. The players in random order: Varvara Saulina, Anna Burtasova, Elvira Mirzoeva, Yana Melnikova, Olga Grigorjeva, Maja Gvivala, Darja Charochkina and Anna Vasenina.

All together now! The group photo of both teams with their roses.

The original hand-written final table.

And the final version! Another fun day in Moscow. It became even better, since  Bayern lost to Chelsea later that day!

21 May: Robots in the streets of Moscow

Posted in Chess Tigers on Tour, grishuk, Gunina, Moscow, robots, rogers with tags , , , , , on May 21, 2012 by Chessurfer

As I wrote in an earlier post, “Super Saturday” was a very busy day for chess loving visitors and despite the free day in the match, it was a day full of chess in Moscow. The day kicked off with a very amusing event in a park on Strastnoy Boulevard. A match was organized for the title of Absolute World Robot Chess Champion. That is quite a mouthful. The contestants were Kuka Monstr from Germany and Chesska from Russia.

Here is some information about the robots from the official press release.

CHESSka

The Russian robot CHESSka, the first chess robot to beat grandmasters in blitz chess, was created by Konstantin Kosteniuk, Honored Coach of Russian Chess and an inventor with tens of registered patents. CHESSka is already well-known among Russian chess fans. This “chess terminator” has played against former world champions Vladimir Kramnik and Alexandra Kosteniuk, as well as Sergei Karyakin, one ofRussia’s leading players, and has beaten a number of well-known grandmasters.

 KUKA Monstr

Challenging our hardware heavyweight for the title will be KUKA Monstr, created by the German company KUKA Robotics, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of industrial robots. Though it is younger than its Russian opponent, its creators favor it to win the match. They say that blitz chess is precisely where KUKA can fully manifest its intelligence, accuracy and speed. Other world-class robot makers showing interest in developing chess-playing robots include FANUC Corporation of Japan and ABB of Sweden.

Say hello to KUKA Monstr. Or “Guten Tag, since she/he is German.

If you want to see videos of the robot vs. robot match, you can go here: http://chess-king.com/konstantin-kosteniuks-chesska-is-2012-world-robot-champion.html. Absolutely fascinating. CHESSka won the match and is now the best chess robot in the world! After the machine had a quick rest and a snack (chips), it was time for the next event:

Match KUKA Monstr- Alexander Grishuk

Top Grandmaster Alexander Grishuk (ELO 2761) played six blitz games, time control 5+3 against the guest from Germany, playing with the latest Rybka version. Grishuk easily drew the games in which he played white, but he had no chance against the monster with the black pieces. The match ended in a 4,5-1,5 victory for KUKA Monstr. Here are some impressions from the match.

The stage is set for an unusual man vs.machine match, in the middle of the park. In the front you can spot Evgeny Sveshnikov.

Grishuk: “Hmm, how do I shake hands with a robot before the game?”

Actually the hands look pretty similar…the human hand and….

…the KUKA Monstr Arm!

A short flying lesson for the bishop.

Every time the robot had to make a move close to Grishuk, the grandmaster moved back. The sudden movements of the machine might have been a bit scary, when you sit opposite the robot. During the games there was commentary and loud music, which did not make things easier for Grishuk.

Spectators and side events

The show attracted many spectators, you can spot Australian GM Ian Rogers and GM Evgeny Sveshnikov in the audience.

Moscow is beautiful: Galiya Kamalova (left) and Valentina Gunina, who played in the “blondes against brunettes match” later that day.

Oxana Kosteniuk (the younger sister) and Mama Kosteniuk.

Lost of things to do for the spectators: this is an indefinable game on a chess board, possibly a variation of “musical chairs”. Very funny.

The game was hosted by Anna Sharevich (Belarus).

A simul with a  strong GM, Farrukh Amonatov from Tajikistan, ELO 2607.

“Mommy, can I take this robot home?

Chess all over the place. A very enjoyable event!

20 May: Super Saturday

Posted in Chess Tigers on Tour, grishuk, Gunina, Moscow with tags , , on May 20, 2012 by Chessurfer

Saturday was a rest day for the players in Moscow, but there were many other events going on in the city and some of them had to do with chess, so your @Chessurfer actually had a very busy day. This is a short teaser with few pictures, later this week I will present full picture galleries of: the Kasparov simul on Friday; the Grishuk-Kuka Robot match; the exhibition of chess photos and chess pieces in the Multimedia Art Museum in Moscow and the fascinating Blondes vs. Brunettes match in the legendary Central Chess Club.

So, I went off with Hans-Walter Schmitt and the girls and we decided not to walk but to take the car today.

First stop of the day was Strastnoy Boulevard to see the Chesska vs. Kuka Monstr robot chess match. The winner of that match, played six blitz games against top GM Alexander Grishuk.

..and the winner was KUKA Monstr…no not cookie monster. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cookie_Monster.

Next stop was the Multimedia Art Museum (http://www.mamm-mdf.ru/en/) on Ozthozenko Street, to see beautiful chess sets and great photos.

And the last stop of the day was Gogolevskiy Bld. where I attended the match “Blondes vs. Brunettes”, a blitz match with very good female players like European Champion Valentina Gunina. The “Blondes” won 39,5-24,5.

And then there was the Champions League final, the Museum Night in Moscow and the Dutch festival. Super Saturday, indeed!

18 May: Opening ceremony – part 3/3

Posted in Gelfand, Gorbachev, Karpov, Moscow, Tretyakov with tags , , , , , on May 18, 2012 by Chessurfer

This is the last picture gallery of the opening ceremony, that took place on 11 May in the Tretyakov Gallery. Chicks and chessplayers, oil traders, FIDE officials and a former Soviet President attended the ceremony and the cocktail party. An enjoyable evening, with the best drinks and fingerfood, talking business and chess.

Pictures: piano concert and cocktail party

After the speeches, Denis Matsuev entered the stage.

 Denis Leonidovich Matsuev (Дени́с Леони́дович Мацу́ев; born June 11, 1975) is a Russian pianist, one of the most popular classical music performers of his generation, the winner of the International Tchaikovsky Competition in 1998 in Moscow, laureate of esteemed Shostakovich Prize in Music and State Prize of Russian Federation in Literature and Arts. Today the name of Denis Matsuev is known to the whole world. The man, whose career started so dramatically and in such a young age, is now associated with one of the best world pianists, who managed to mix in his performances the grandest of Russian traditions and innovatory creative conceptions, high quality of concert programmes and moving rendering.

One more interview after the piano concert. The players did not attend the cocktail party. In the back you can see Denis Matsuev packing up his piano.

After the concert, the cocktail party took place in the most beautiful setting possible in one of the galleries of the Tretyakov. Look at those paintings.

Some nitwits just put their empy glasses next to valuable statues, much to the chagrin of the Tretyakov staff.

 “A glass of champagne, Sir?”

 The highly decorated legend Yuri Lvovich Averbakh talking to English GM Nigel David Short. “Did you try the champagne yet”?

Former world champion Anatoly Yevgenyevich Karpov (Russian: Анато́лий Евге́ньевич Ка́рпов, born May 23, 1951) attended the party.   He was the official world champion from 1975 to 1985 when he was defeated by Garry Kasparov. He played three matches against Kasparov for the title from 1986 to 1990, before becoming FIDE World Champion once again after Kasparov broke away from FIDE in 1993. He held the title until 1999, when he resigned his title in protest against FIDE’s new world championship rules.

Karpov chatting with former president Mikhail Gorbachev and FIDE president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. It’s a small world.

New in Chess editor-in-chief Dirk-Jan ten Geuzendam enjoying a glass of champagne with Ilya Levitov, Chairman of the Management Board of the Russian Chess Federation. “Tell me Dirk-Jan, how to knot a tie?”

Sergey Alexandrovich Karjakin born January 12, 1990 in Simferopol enjoying the fine fingerfood with Hans-Walter Schmitt and the beautiful young woman in the center, whose name I do not know. Shame on me! If anyone knows her name (and telephone number) let me know!

Update 18 May, 23:05: Macauley Peterson, who is following the blog in St.Louis at the US Championship, knows who the beauty in the center is: Galiya Kamalova. He even has her phone number! Thanks!

This is Mr. Vasily Zhukov, talking to HWS, who retired as president of the Moscow Chess Federation this February. He invited HWS and your @Chessurfer to visit famous chess clubs in Moscow on a free day. Zhukov is a highly decorated scientist, founder and rector of the Russian State Social University, a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Honoured Scientist of the Russian federation, Laureate of the State Prize of the Russian Federation in the field of education.  In 2011 Mr. Zhukov was awarded the Order of Holy Prince Daniel of Moscow II degree.

After the party, everybody was sent home with this limited edition medal. Check Ebay….

 ..and the other side of the medal.

 The final shot of the opening is reserved for our favourite photographer.

16 May: Behind the scenes – part 1 (VIPs and Grandmasters)

Posted in Moscow, music, press, Tretyakov with tags , , on May 15, 2012 by Chessurfer

The spectators who come the Tretyakov Gallery go through an X-ray, enter the playing hall, don’t have to pay an entrance fee and follow the games at their leisure. In the hall they can listen to the Russian or English commentary with an infra-red receiver and a headphone (also free). Mobile phones or any other electronic devices have to be switched off, and it is strictly forbidden to use  flash on the camera. However, some incurable mobile telephone junkies do not even manage to switch off their phone during the game. But the security guys in the hall are tough cookies and when they catch somebody who is making pictures with flash, making phone calls during the game or if somebody uses an iPad and checks some variations with a chess engine app like Stockfish, (this really happened!) they immediately spot him and kick him out of the hall. This happens with normal spectators, but also journalists, photographers and FIDE vice presidents have to stick to the rules.

It is a bit odd  that both players are off-stage at times.

Big business and networking in the VIP lounge

But there is a lot more going on in the Engineering building  of the Tretyakov Gallery. If you are watching the games at home, you can see the wonderful HD live coverage and the live commentary. In the press room, many journalist from all over the world write their stories for magazines, paper and online newspapers. Camerateams conduct their interviews after the game and in the VIP room, special guests, dignitaries, FIDE officials, grandmasters and commentators socialize and do business.

Here is a look behind the scenes, in which I will show some off-stage pictures. In the next weeks I will post some more galleries, because there are many guests and grandmasters around and there are fresh VIPs every day.  Here is a first selection.

A true legend:  Yuri Lvovich Averbakh (Ю́рий Льво́вич Аверба́х; born February 8, 1922) is a Soviet and Russian chess player and author. As of 2012, he is the oldest living chess grandmaster.

Granmasters Joel Lautier (left) and Jan Timman chatting about the 4th game. Timman (born 14 December 1951) is a Dutch chess Grandmaster who was one of the world’s leading players from the late 1970s to the early 1990s. At the peak of his career he was considered to be the best non-Soviet player and was known as “The Best of the West”. He has won the Dutch Chess Championship nine times and has been a Candidate for the World Championship several times.

Timman did the commenary for game 3 and 4 with his compatriot Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam. They are the editors-in-chief of the renowned New in Chess magazine: http://www.newinchess.com.

After game 4 Timman did an interview with another Dutchie, Peter Doggers, editor-in-chief of ChessVibes. I suggest to organize the next world championship in The Netherlands to save travel costs.

This sweet girl is Valentina Gunina (born February 4, 1989 in Murmansk, Russia). She is a Russian chess player with the titles International Master (IM) and Woman Grandmaster (WGM). In 2006 and 2008 she won Qualifying Russian Women Chess Championship and 2011 Superfinal Russian Women Chess Championship. She won the gold medal at the Women’s European Individual Chess Championship in 2012 (Gaziantep)

In the middle is the Israeli Ambassador to Russia, Dorit Golender, talking to German journalist Dagobert Kohlmeyer (right). Dorit Golender has become the fourth woman ambassador of Israel in Russia. Even in Soviet times, Israel was represented in Moscow, by the legendary Golda Meir, who later became foreign minister and later led the Israeli Cabinet. In 1990 the Israeli embassy in Moscow, was headed by Aliza Chenard.

On the left we see Yury Dokhoian (Russian: Юрий Дохоян; born 26 October 1964 in Zyryanovka, Altai Krai). He is a Russian Grandmaster of Armenian origin. For many years, Dokhoian was Garry Kasparov’s second. In 2009, he started cooperating with Sergey Karjakin, being at the same time the coach of the Russian Women’s team. He is chatting with the legendary chess coach Boris Postovsky.

Hans-Walter Schmitt and Mark Izrailovich Dvoretsky (Russian: Марк Израилевич Дворецкий, born December 9, 1947, Moscow). Dvoretsky is a world-renowned Russian chess trainer, writer and International Master.

Dvoretsky is not only a phenomenal chess trainer, he speaks several languages. Here is doing an interview with Tamil  TV. The interviewer is Venkatachalam Saravanan. Nice chap.

Aruna Anand is introduced to Andrew Paulson  by FIDE treasurer Nigel Freeman.

Viktor Viorel Bologan (born December 14, 1971) is a Moldovan chess grandmaster. He did the Russian commentary in game 3 and 4. His major accomplishment has been winning the Dortmund Sparkassen 2003, ahead of higher-rated and well-known players such as Vladimir Kramnik, Viswanathan Anand, and Peter Leko.

Meanwhile, in the VIP room…a top level FIDE meeting with FIDE treasurer Nigel Freeman, American entrepreneur Andrew Paulson, FIDE Chief executive officer Jeffrey Borg and FIDE Vice president Israel Gelfer.

At the press conference on game day 4, the famous Russian poet, singer and songwriter Timur Shaov explained the connection between music and chess. Check http://www.shaov.ru for more information.

Shaov designed this beautiful pen. The chess journalist who writes the best article about the connection between chess and the Tretyakov Gallery will win this valuable piece of art.