Nerves and Technology

Время публикации: 21.03.2015 00:13 | Последнее обновление: 26.04.2016 02:56

(Translated from Russian by Andrey Deviatkin)

The knockout system is the most entertaining formula for a chess tournament, it's hard to argue against that. Its another positive side is that you don't have to suffer till the end while in bad shape, like in a round-robin or a Swiss tournament. Once you lose the match, you are free to go back home. However, the knockout also has a very serious drawback: sometimes, you don't have the right to commit a single mistake, as there won't be any chance to correct it. Just one erroneous move can result in leaving the tournament.

That's why the tiebreaks, where events change with kaleidoscopic speed, are so much about pure nerves. The chess part becomes far less important. At some point, I started feeling sorry for the women players. All of them.

It's hard to imagine what Tatyana Kosintseva had to go through to see her name in the round 2 pairings. It's even harder to imagine what Tatyana's supporters, including her closest people present here in Krasnaya Polyana, had to go through. And I even don't want to fancy the feelings of Lilit Mkrtchian who failed to get even half-a-point in the last two games which would have been enough to qualify.

Later on, Monika Socko would adopt similar posture remembering how Deimante Daulyte hadn't mated her in 1 in the second rapid game. Instead, the Lithuanian WGM has blundered the queen:

Alina Kashlinskaya has failed to beat Chinese WGM Shen Yang. Alina's compatriot, Alexandra Kosteniuk, is now faced with the same task.

The enjoyers of live commentary by Elisabeth Paehtz should be grateful to Meri Arabidze who has 'freed' the commentator.

Aleksandra Goryachkina and Tatyana Kosintseva were the last players to pass through the Purgatory round 1

Anatoly, Tatyana's father, was all nerves. On the left of him is Boris Dolmatovsky, a famous photograther; on the right, you can see GM Ruslan Scherbakov, who has been helping Goryachkina.

The arbiters discussing the two coming Armageddons.

The decisive game between Goryachkina and Mkrtchian saw no serious struggle. Besides, as Lilit admitted later, she had simply forgot that there was no increment in sudden-death games. The Gomes - Kosintseva battle was far more dramatic.

Several readers of our Russian version have suggested that Gomes might have lost on time because no extra queens had been provided by the arbiters before the Armageddon game. That's not true: although the photo above has been taken in the beginning of another blitz game, there is also a video recording showing that the extra queens were readily available in the sudden-death game as well. What has happened, then?

In the lost position, Kosintseva, who was Black, had no other choise but trying to flag. At some point, the Indian player has promoted the pawn without stopping the clocks and asking the arbiter for the queen. Instead, she started to search for it somewhere in the air, apologizing. Having failed to do that, she just started Tatyana's clock. Kosintseva, in turn, could have stopped the clocks and claim the illegal move; instead, she pressed the button back, starting Gomes's clock without making a move. It was a mutual violation of chess rules, but, as none of the players appealed to the arbiters, their decision not to interfere was correct.

When it finally came to legal queening of the white pawn, Gomes was having 7 seconds left, with 14 seconds for Kosintseva. Could the result have been different were it all according to the rules? There is no clear answer to this question. What has happened, has happened.

The very ten seconds that have prevented Mary Ann Gomes from becoming the main hero of the first round.

After the game, the Indian player was sitting like this for about a minite, glancing at the clocks and the board alternately, while the Russian player was accepting congratulations.

Some Indian woman approached Many Ann, trying to console her.

*   *   *

Refreshment for the players.

The start of each round is announced by Zsuzsa Veroci, the chief arbiter. But the purpose of this picture isn't exactly to inform you of this fact.

Most of the players can confirm that the championship has been organized well: the playing hall is nice enough, the air inside is mostly fresh, the nature around is excellent. However, I'm very surprised that the games aren't demonstrated on the screen in the playing hall. In my opinion, it is total neglect for the spectators. Moreover, the playing hall isn't even equipped with seats for the audience. Well, there are also the journalists who work for the same audience...

It means that no one can watch the players during the games, and the games themselves at the same time. But, for a good coverage, this is extremely important. Moreover, as you can see from the photo, the big screen would have been an excellent place for the live games - but instead, there is just the beautiful but pointless emblem of the championship.

The fact that FIDE isn't concerned much about the spectators is of no surprise. What is more astonishing is that all the enormous technical progress achieved in the latest decade can be of little use if technology is controlled by some stagnant minds. Brains are much more important than technology - this is my current conclusion.

['The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom', the great Isaac Asimov pointed out long ago - Transl.]

Here are a few more photos taken during the previous days.