White Pieces for Anand, Medals for Russian Women, Saxophone for Audience

Время публикации: 08.11.2014 21:13 | Последнее обновление: 07.04.2015 17:26

(Translated from Russian by Andrey Deviatkin)

Yesterday evening, the World Championship match in Sochi has taken off by the number of official events.

Sochi is one of the very few Russian cities situated in the subtropics

Whilst the guests and the journalists were arriving, this quartet was playing pleasant background music.

Anatoly Karpov

Boris Spassky, one of the honoured guests of the match

The press conference went a quite diplomatic way usual for such events. However, there were some peculiarities which you can discover in our recent report or in the video stream at the official website. 

Geoffrey Borg taking a selfie with Georgian WGM Sopiko Guramishvili. The latter is accompanying Peter Svidler in doing live commentary for the English-speaking web audience.

One of the organizers Ilya Merenzon (on the right): 'It's time to refute the myth about the tickets being expensive. 85% of them are free'.

One doesn't see clergymen attending chess events too often, but it happened.

The chief arbiter of the match Andrzej Filipowicz.

Sopiko Guramishvili with her glorious compatriot Nona Gaprindashvili. 

Aruna Anand (in the center) came to Sochi to support his husband during the hard battles. The man sitting to her right is a famous American actor Gbenga Akinnagbe.

Sergey Nesterov is the tournament director of the children's event, and an important person for the chess life of the Russian city of Rostov. The Georgian chess legend, whom he is greeting, has been to Rostov many times.

After the press conference, the beautiful female quartet have changed both their dresses and their repertoire. Just imagine if you could: they managed to play two Michael Jackson's songs using their classical instruments. Smooth Criminal was especially bright, and the one to win the applause. 

There were plenty of TV journalists from Norway. It's interesting to watch their work, as they are creative and vigorous. I'm not sure that the VG TV correspondent can really make difference between King's Indian Defence and the Sicilian, but most likely she doesn't need exactly that if her aim is to prepare a bright report for common audience. 

Someone is being interested in Nigel Freeman's necktie; if one is attentive one can spot the ornament composed of chess pieces.

Georgios Makropoulos talking to Antoaneta Stefanova

Of course, the ECU President couldn't miss the event where so many of his compatriots were present

A famous Russian actor Sergey Makovetsky was the one to host the opening ceremony that evening (together with Aleksandra Kosteniuk). He has been very serious from the very beginning.

Both had their speeches already prepared, without any improvisations. Probably that's why the well-known actor was not very enthusiastic, and even nervous sometimes

Adviser for President of Russia Igor Levitin has read Vladimir Putin's greetings to the audience. His other important task was to award the members of the Russian women's Olympic team, according to the recent presidential order. The ones to receive medals were Valentina Gunina, Alexandra Kosteniuk and Natalia Pogonina (you can see what the medals look like in our piece of news for the Russian version; the name of the award is 'For Merit to the Fatherland'
- CN). Valentina Gunina wasn't present in Sochi that evening; she is likely to receive her award on some other occasion.

Kosteniuk: 'I would like to thank Vladimir Putin for his attention towards chess!'

The medal and the flowers for Natalia Pogonina.

The performance was going on...

Andrzej Filipowicz conducting the drawing of colours. Anand seems to be glad with his White for the starting game...

...while Magnus obviously has something in store for his Black

After the drawing of colours, there was yet another musical performance. I'm afraid I'm not going to become a fan of the first musician, the Russian singer named Tina. But the second one...

A well-known saxophonist Igor Butman became (with his jazz band, of course) the real hero of that evening. I didn't expect the audience to enjoy this kind of music, but professionalism and musical sincerity can work miracles. He was given an ovation.
I can add that Igor Butman has been a good friend of Bill Clinton for years.

The Russian female Olympic team with the coach Sergei Rublevsky, Andrey Filatov and Igor Levitin

Butman and his jazz band came to the scene once more during the final banquet. They played again and again, feeling that they were being enjoyed by the audience. It was fascinating.

Even if I ever forget that evening, I won't forget that saxophone.


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    My impressions of the first playing day in Sochi can be summed up in one sentence: great fuss about a single game of chess. It seems to me that's not the way it should be, ideally.

  • (Translated from Russian by Andrey Deviatkin)

    Before the beginning of the second game, I had a brief conservation with my colleague Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam. "Big day today?", he half-asked, half-stated. I understood that as a kind of prediction for the match outcome depending on the game.

  • (Translated from Russian by Andrey Deviatkin)

    Yesterday was a notable day: the Sochi Media Center has been visited by Minister of Sport Vitaly Mutko, Minister of Education Dmitry Livanov and other Russian higher officials.

    Do you think they came to see the match? No, they didn't. They were attending the international forum 'Robotics Days in Sochi'. 

  • (Edited & translated by Andrey Deviatkin)

    Do you think there is no democracy in Russia? Then just take a look at the pictures of yesterday's evening - they will speak for themselves. The ambience was extremely informal.

  • The Russian Fence. It's hard to imagine anything more perfect in this imperfect world.

  • Our special correspondent in Stavanger Dmitry Ostanin sent us some photos from the tournament.

  • (Translated from Russian by Andrey Deviatkin)

    Norway has sent many journalists to cover the match. In fact, the Norwegian delegation is the largest here in Sochi.

  • Our correspondent Marie Boyard visited Zug and concluded that the venue of third stage of the FIDE Grand Prix is almost ideal.