Basketball with the São Paulo players
Report and pictures by Albert Silver
In the van on the way back from the simul, the day before the opening ceremony, Levon Aronian was twisting around in his seat, asking each and every player, "Are you in? And you? And you?". Since there were no more activities scheduled that day, I asked what was up. "We're organizing a basketball game this afternoon." A basketball game? I have seen many a football game, and the occasional tennis, but this was a new one to me. I asked to tag along and record the moment, which promised to be entertaining at the least.
Arriving at the club, Epstein Agdestein, Carlsen's manager, went to get some extra
bottles of water before the game. He was not just there for his protegé, and played too.
Francisco Vallejo-Pons, or "Paco" as he is called by his friends,
quickly showed that despite some rust, he was one of the most
The players soon got into the groove of the game
Aronian's second, Brazilian GM Krikor Mekhitarian, was also
clearly a regular on the courts.
Carlsen was always one to make the most of his chances
And the players soon made sure he was well covered
Paco manages a nice pass between Karjakin's legs to get past him
Karjakin was not intimidated and went right after him
After the first hour, the players stopped for a breather. Here Paco, Karjakin, and
Agdestein enjoy a brief moment in the shade.
Karjakin gets ready for the next game...
...where he compensated much of his lack of ground skill with
dangerous shot making.
After they scored, the players would reposition themselves
Levon Aronian was the brain behind the plan, and is a huge basketball buff
The game was very much enjoyed by all the players
But the non-stop running did eventually take its toll
Finally it was over and the players rested
Photos by Albert Silver and official site
Schedule and results
São Paulo partners
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