'What's This Blitz About? Let's Go Home!'

Время публикации: 14.02.2015 18:47 | Последнее обновление: 23.03.2021 10:15

(Translated from Russian by Andrey Deviatkin)

Of course, the point of view 'it's boring to see the same faces over and over again' has the right to exist. Indeed, the top players wander from one tournament to another, the tournaments are frequent, sometimes they go in a row. While those elite GMs who choose to play non-stop are at least well awarded for the tough schedule (as well as, supposedly, their coaches and seconds), the fans and especially the journalists have to suffer without any compensation.

Now it's the Zurich's turn. However, the Zurich Chess Challenge makes a good difference: apart from the habitual 'main characters', it involves some people who can make the chess lovers hold their breath in awe.

Chess is a game in which the present is unthinkable without references to the past. Viktor Lvovich Korchnoi is the traditional guest of Zurich Chess Challenge, and, while it remains so, the present and the past stay connected to each other. For we all love chess not because Caruana has made progress recently (excuse me, Fabiano), but because we have read a lot about Viktor The Terrible, his struggle, his rivals. We have empathized with the 'K's of the past and are still nostalgic for the time they were on the top. Let me suppose that, had there been no such nostalgia, the tournament in Zurich wouldn't have emerged.

'I have prepared to the Grunfeld', Korchnoi told Genna Sosonko confidentially. As you already know he will play a rapid match against Wolfgang Uhlmann here in Zurich on February 15th and 16th.
'Why exactly the Grunfeld?', Sosonko wondered. The answer was puzzling even to Genna who has been keeping in touch with Korchnoi for decades.
'He always plays the King's Indian', Victor Lvovich explained. 'But in the last round of Buenos Aires in 1960, he suddenly decided to surprise me with the Grunfeld. I failed to win that game and was eventually tied for the first place instead of taking the clear first. How can I be sure he won't do this again? I have to stay on the alert..."

If Uhlmann remembers the events happened 55 years ago, I wonder. Is he having in mind as much as one tenth of Korchnoi's suspicions?..

The participants of the main event appeared in the hall when the audience had already taken their seats. They greeted Korchnoi in person.

The main inspirer of the event, Russian businessman Oleg Skvortsov, is greeting the players and the audience, as usual.  

Christian Issler, the director of the Zurich chess club, is introducing each of 6 main participants to the audience. It was particularly interesting in case of Sergey Karjakin.

'He used to represent Ukraine, now he's representing Russia', said Christian, who then added: 'Born in Crimea'.

25 minites of great musical performance: Boris Andrianov (cello) and Dimitri Illarionov (classical guitar).
Both are renowned musicians.


This is Vladimir Kramnik's daughter Dasha who, as well as her mother Marie-Laure, I got to know 3 years ago during Kramnik's friendly match vs Levon Aronian, also in Zurich. Since then, she has got a brother named Vadim, who is still too little for coming to tournaments. Although they live in Switzerland, they communicate in Russian, which is yet another proof of the statement that the international chess language is Russian!

The grandmasters tried to enjoy the blitz that followed. I'm not sure each of them managed to do so though...

The new public image of Sergey Karjakin. Looks better than before.

Genna Sosonko and Kirill Zangalis are following the example given by Nigel Short. By the way, Nigel, as well as some other famous grandmasters, is also here. You will surely see them in our further reports.

Frederic Friedel is examining Natalia Skvortsova's ring. Kramnik's wife, Marie-Laure, seems to be slightly confused.

The players are choosing their starting numbers.

Victor Korchnoi was of course watching the blitz tournament, but at some point his interest has gone. 'What's this blitz about? Let's go home!', he told his spouse. 

As for me, I was excited by the last round battle between Kramnik and Caruana. The ex-World Champion, who was White, got a serious advantage. However, then he missed a couple of winning ways and even lost. The blitz tournament wasn't lucky for Vladimir.

The first question Kramnik got after the finish was from his daughter Dasha: 'Did you win'?
'Yes, I did...', Kramnik answered with a sad smile, concealing it from his daughter.


Смотрите также...

  • The guests have gathered at the Hotel Savoy Baur en Ville.

    The main sponsor of the 2nd Zurich Chess Challenge Oleg Skvortsov has personally welcomed everyone.

  • The closing ceremony was held soon after Fabiano Caruana ensured win in Zurich Chess Challenge

  • Viktor Korchnoi hasn't played any rated games since 23rd September, 2012. He suffered a stroke later in 2012, which made most experts think that the chess legend wouldn't be able to return to competitive chess. In March 2013, however, Korchnoi played an exhibition match of 2 games in Leipzig vs Wolfgang Uhlmann, with the time control of 60 min/game for each. Korchnoi won 2-0.

  • (Translated from Russian by Andrey Deviatkin)

    As usual, the city of Zurich is quiet and peaceful.

    The calm. In any sense.

  • Garry Kasparov has arrived to Zurich and will stay here for another two days. Close to the end of the round Kasparov entered the playing hall of Zurich Chess Challenge to watch Caruana - Kramnik encoutner.

  • On the free day of the Shamkir tournament there is traditionally a football match. As last year, four teams were playing. In the semifinals, the chessplayers of Azerbaijan and the rest of the world, alas, lost to the teams of journalists and organisers/sponsors. But Magnus Carlsen played in the final as a guest for the organisers/sponsors' team, strengthening an already strong team. He was the outstanding player on the pitch. 

  • The participants played a blitz tournament for the draw (PHOTOS)

  • An unusual situation: two world team championships starting on the same day in different corners of the world. The best women's teams are in China, and the best men's in Armenia. What distinguished the opening ceremonies of these two events? Which was shorter, which was prettier? Judge for yourselves, with the aid of photos we have taken from the official sites: chengdu2015.fide.com (author - Anastasia Karlovich) and tsaghkadzor2015.fide.com (author unknown).

  • When I started to prepare this report, I saw the appalling news from Moscow. It destroyed my wish to describe the closing ceremony of the third Grand Prix stage. I hope the readers will excuse me for this.

    The pictures are expressive enough so that you will probably need no hints to get the impression of how the Tbilisi stage finished.

  • A blitz tournament has started in Zurich in order to determine the starting numbers and therefore the pairings for the classical round-robin. The participants are exactly the same as in the main event: Fabiano Caruana, Hikaru Nakamura, Viswanathan Anand, Vladimir Kramnik, Levon Aronian, Sergey Karjakin. The blitz games can be watched live.