Château de Villandry is the last of the great Renaissance châteaux
to be built on the banks of the Loire, and its architecture combines with gardens
laid out on three levels, its best-known feature, in a happy marriage of beauty,
diversity, and harmony.
The Renaissance Château of Villandry
And aerial view of the Château and its gardens
The decorative gardens are among the most beautiful in Europe
The Garden of Love: colorful geometric designs, meticulously maintained
In the background the decorative kitchen and herbal gardens
A profusion of colourful flowers and vegetables, medicinal and culinary
The vegetable garden was created in the Middle Ages. The monks in their Abbeys
took great pleasure in growing their vegetables in geometrical patterns. They
also planted standard roses to decorate their gardens. According to a long-standing
tradition, the roses here are planted symmetrically, representing the monk working
his vegetable patch.
Cabbage and pumkins, in front of the Château
Villandry has been in the possession of the Carvallo family since 1906. It
was Joachim Carvallo, a Spaniard, and his American wife, Ann Coleman, who created
the gardens around 1910. The gardens are open daily from 9.00 a.m. all year
round. The castle is open from 9.00 a.m. on 10 February to 11 November 2007
and during the Christmas holidays.
Inside the Château, which was refurbished in the 18th century, and was
Château de Villandry has today become a friendly, family home, where
every room tells the story of an era, thanks to its furniture and careful decoration
Chess and Music in Château de Villandry
The chess event in Château de Villandry last week involved four players
taking part in a series of rapid games. The participants were GM Viktor Kortchnoi,
GM Laurent Fressinet, GM Alexandra Kosteniuk and WGM Almira Skripchenko. The
festival included classical music composed by François-André Danican
Philidor, who as we know was a great chess player, but also an accomplished
composer. The musical part was performed by pianist Natasha Kudritskaya.
Natasha Kudritskaya, who played Philidor pieces on the piano
Two semifinals were played. In the encounter Alexandra Kosteniuk vs Almira
Skripchenko the Russian grandmaster (Kosteniuk) won the first game and drew
the second to take the match 1.5:0.5.
Alexandra Kosteniuk and Almira Skripchenko in the gardens of Villandry
In the second match Viktor Korchnoi faced French GM Laurent Fressinet. The
latter won the first game, Viktor The Terrible struck back in the second. In
the tiebreak blitz the first game, which has not been completely recorded, ended
when Korchnoi claimed three-fold repetition in a rook ending. The rules appeared
to be unclear for blitz chess, and the arbiter took quite a while to take a
decision – in favour of Korchnoi. But Fressinet went on to win the final
game, so that no great controversy occurred.
Viktor Korchnoi claims a draw in the first tiebreak blitz game
You can watch the drama of the first tiebreak unfold in the following video
by Europe Echecs, with some really incredible time trouble scenes showing 76-year-old
Viktor Korchnoi battling the clock.
In the final it was Laurent Fressinet vs Alexandra Kosteniuk, and a tough battle
it was. Fressinet won the first game with the black pieces, in 72 moves. In
the second Kosteniuk had a piece for a pawn on move 54, but it took her 183
more moves (one hundred and eighty three) to nurse the advantage to victory.
This is possibly the longest rapid chess game ever played, lasting for over
two hour and a total of 237 moves!
The longest rapid chess game in history? It lasted two hours and 237 moves
Incidentally the last 116 moves of the game were with rook and bishop vs rook,
so in a normal situation Fressinet could have claimed a draw by the 50-move
rule. But after the events in the game with Korchnoi he decided not to claim
and resigned after 237 moves. He won both tiebreak blitz games (three minutes
plus two seconds increment), in 25 and 30 moves. So he took first place in this
rapid chess spectacle.
Video Impressions of Château de Villandry
The following video has been provided by Chessmovies.com,
and gives some very nice impressions of Château de Villandry and the chess
event. It contains the Korchnoi three-fold repetition scene, as well as the
237-move game Fressinet-Kosteniuk. The film also contains a lot of beautiful
music by Philidor, played by Natasha Kudritskaya, and the running commentary
is by Alexandra Kosteniuk herself.
can watch it in Flash, if the player above MPEG 4 version does
not work on your system
Villandry is just three hours from Paris by car. Take the A 10 exit
No. 24 (Joué-lès-Tours) then the A85 towards Saumur, exit
No. 8 (Villandry). By train from Paris-Montparnasse (55 minutes) then
take a taxi at Tours or Saint-Pierre-des-Corps station (20 minutes).
Château de Villandry, 37 510 Villandry, France.
Tel: 33 (0)2 47 50 02 09 – Fax: 33 (0)2 47 50 12 85.
tour of Château de Villandry