Siberian Belly Dance

Время публикации: 25.10.2015 22:58 | Последнее обновление: 26.10.2015 19:02

The weather in Skopje has predictably and hopelessly worsened since my previous report. This time, walking to the playing hall was not as pleasant, but what kept me on a good mood were the taxi prices. Well, actually all prices in this city. 

I wasn't the only client of a cab colored as a chess set. Once, I've spotted a familiar face of GM Romanov in the car next to ours. As you can see the ride brings him pleasure too. 

The Aleksandar Palace Hotel is where the games were played. Most of the clubs also stayed at this hotel. There were those not fond of the place, but frankly speaking, I don't know of anyone who was entirely satisfied with staying in Skopje. 

If you are researching the secret of Kramnik's brilliant shape at this event, you should look closely at this bag he brought to every round. Everything inside it was intended to help him keep energetic till the end of the game. Roughly, that's how the ceremony looked like: the former world champion would take his seat, adjust the pieces, make the first move, and then he would take the first portion of products out of his magic bag. The procedure wasn't always quiet though. During the opening of the game against Ivanchuk, Kramnik opened some package so loudly that the Ukrainian, who was being focused on the game, got frightened.  

This photo was taken seconds after Ivanchuk gesticulated at Kramnik implying he could be quieter. His opponent replied with a surprise on his face and pointed at the clock reminding Vassily to push the button. The Ukrainian GM did so, shook his head and smiled - the game continued. 

In the penultimate round I observed the scene I had never encountered before. As usual, Kramnik was the last to arrive at the hall (the arbiter might have already announced the start of the round). First Kramnik greeted Aronian who was sitting next to him, then he went to greet each of his team members, shaking hands with all of them. It was really looking not like just a club but like a proper family. "If only Siberia could replace the Russian national team...", the thought crossed my mind.

The competition wasn't successful for these beauties from Moscow, but could that be a sufficient reason to be sad?  

The last consultation in SOCAR before the decisive match. 

After the match and before the closing ceremony, Giri and Caruana continued playing. 

It started modestly with only Radjabov looking over the board. 

Soon, some "idle passers-by" created a circle around the table. 

The European Club Cup is forgotten. The most interesting show has just started. 

I can't remember Caruana being so happy...

Yu Yangyi was the best on board 6.

Michael Adams dominated the fourth board with 2941 rating performance.

The reigning European individual champion Evgeny Najer was the strongest on the third board. His rating performance was 2982!

Sergey Karjakin plays non-stop but still manages to be the best - this time on the second board. 

And finally, Vladimir Kramnik who showed an outstanding result on the highest board with 3102 rating performance.

At this point the structured part of the ceremony has finished. When the teams were called to the stage, the hall plunged into chaos. Apparently, the organisers thought just giving away the awards would be enough. Well, that wasn't their only duty. 

Suddenly, the Russian club ShSM, who finished fourth, was called to the stage. The girls didn't expect it, so you can only see Gunina, Kosteniuk and the captain Alexander Zlochevsky, whilst the others had to be searched for in the hall. 

The Open section award ceremony seemed more logical: the bronze medalists, the team from 
St. Petersburg, were called first. 

SOCAR took silver.

Anton Korobov and Alexander Grischuk didn't notify in advance they'd perform a belly dance, so I missed to photograph such a show. L
et me describe it by the help of words.
Grischuk and Korobov entered the stage from the opposite sides. Their team members were also mounting the stage, but that didn't matter: these two started moving towards each other speeding up abruptly. The clash happened in the jump, and the bellies, or rather one belly, took most of it. What you can see in the picture are some of the follow-up gestures, perhaps only Korobov could give an explanation for them.   

Grischuk assures his hesitating Chinese teammate that everything went cool for the Siberian squad. 

To summarize, it was real fun - especially for some of the players.

Georgian women won the competition for the second time in a row. 

Everyone, except fanatics of the game, started leaving the hall. For those deeply in love with chess, the evening was just about to start.   

Meanwhile, the Georgian ladies were taking selfies.

Now let's have a look at the technology. 

The selfie was taken using a selfie stick, which is in trend now. It's also an interesting solution for those struggling to choose presents for their friends. 

I thought I wouldn't have any other chance to take Aronian's place.  

* * *

This was the last time we were sitting in the local taxi - Zurab Azmaiparashvili, his wife and I. The driver says something resembling 'rus' - that's already enough to start a conversation.

"We are all from Russia!" - I reply, meaning we all come from the Soviet Union.

"Russia is number one!" - the driver exclaims and we nod in agreement. 

"Putin is number one!" - we clarify to look even more convincing. 

The taxi driver shows a thumb up: "Yes, Putin is very khorosho! [from Russian: good]"

This is when we realized that the European Club Cup has finished indeed.  


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