23 May: Viktor Popkov and the Championship design

Posted in art, popkov, Tretyakov with tags , , on May 23, 2012 by Chessurfer

Viktor Popkov’s painting “The Team is Resting” was chosen as the art symbol of the World Chess Title Match 2012. A press conference timed for the 80th birthday of this brilliant representative of the Soviet Art School was held today, on Wednesday 23 May. Pyotr Kozorezenko, Doctor of Art Studies was the honourary guest of today’s match. Since the match is staged in one of the most prestigious art galleries in Russia, the Tretyakov Gallery (http://www.tretyakovgallery.ru/),  it is a good idea to invite art experts to the daily press conferences, rather than chess grandmasters, although we have seen great press conferences with living legends like Yuri Averbakh, Anatoli Karpov and Garry Kasparov.

Pyotr Kozorezenko, Doctor of Art Studies is really looking forward to tell something about art to ignorant chess journalists.

This is not supposed to be an art blog, and I do not pretend to have any knowledge about Russian art, therefore I would suggest that your read more about the artist here: http://www.tretyakovgallery.ru/en/collection/_show/author/_id/338

Watch carefully

You might have noticed when you have carefully checked pictures on various chess websites, that one of his works, “The Team is Resting” was chosen as the art symbol of the world championship match and the organizers and the Tretyakov Gallery staff brilliantly integrated this fine painting in the building, on posters, paper bags, in the VIP and press room, in the playing hall and the public viewing area as you can see in the pictures below.

Here are some pictures I took during the inspection of the playing hall, in which one could see the first impressions. This is a direction sign in the main lobby of the Engineering Building of the Tretyakov, in which the match is staged.

The pressroom, on the left you can see an excerpt of the painting.

The playing hall also has some excerpts of the painting on both sides of the stage. This picture was taken during the inspection, a few days before the opening.

In the public viewing area the design is also drawn through.

This is the fill painting and as I showed you, excerpts of the painting are all over the place. The painting is exhibited in the Tretyakov Gallery and this picture is taken from the book “Viktor Popkov“, written by the above mentioned author Pyotr Kozorezenko. 

This is a very heavy book, I can tell you! Everyone present at the press conference was offered a free copy!

The author was kind enough to personalize my copy. It was a very interesting lecture by Kozorezenko, even for philistines.

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22 May: The duel

Posted in Anand, cartoon, Gelfand on May 22, 2012 by Chessurfer

The fight is on with, with only four more games remaining. A new cartoon by Frank Stiefel.

22 May: Photo reconnaissance

Posted in Karpov, Kasparov, press with tags , on May 22, 2012 by Chessurfer

In an earlier post, on 11 May, I wrote that I had skimmed some Russian newspapers in the hotel , looking for news and pictures about the 2012 match and chess in general. In “Vedomosti” (Russian: Ведомости, literally “The Record”, http://www.vedomosti.ru/eng) I found this picture  in the Sports section. I had never seen this lovely picture from the 1985-1986 match between Gary Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov.

In the Multimedia Art Museum in Moscow, I discovered the picture in the exhibition: “Chess figures of the 20th Century”.

And the text that goes with the picture:

Question answered.

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!

22 May: The tactic monster from Chennai

Posted in Anand, cartoon, Gelfand, stiefel with tags , , , on May 21, 2012 by Chessurfer

A new cartoon by Frank Stiefel. After his decisive miniature in  less than 20 moves, the tactic monster from Chennai is back  in business.

Press conference

Bonus for today: a few pictures of the press conference after game 8. Gelfand disappointed, but not broken, Anand happy but realistic.

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: Gelfman strikes first

Posted in cartoon, Gelfand on May 20, 2012 by Chessurfer

A new cartoon by our cartoonist Frank Stiefel. Super  Sunday for Gelfand.