Basketball with the São Paulo players

by Albert Silver
9/26/2012 – In the van on the way back from the simul, Levon Aronian was twisting around, asking each and every player, Carlsen, Karjakin, Paco: "Are you in? And you? And you?". When asked what was up, Levon replied, "We're organizing a basketball game this afternoon." Chess players organizing a basketball game? Albert Silver recorded the moment, and brings this fun pictorial.

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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
skilled.


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

Round 1: Monday, September 24, 15:00h
Viswanathan Anand 
   Francisco Vallejo
Levon Aronian 
   Sergey Karjakin
Fabiano Caruana 
   Magnus Carlsen
Games – Report
Round 2: Tuesday, September 25, 15:00h
Francisco Vallejo 
   Magnus Carlsen
Sergey Karjakin 
   Fabiano Caruana
Viswanathan Anand 
   Levon Aronian
Games– Report
Round 3: Wednesday, September 26, 15:00h
Levon Aronian 
   Francisco Vallejo
Fabiano Caruana 
   Viswanathan Anand
Magnus Carlsen 
   Sergey Karjakin
Games– Report
Round 4: Friday, September 28, 15:00h
Fabiano Caruana 
   Francisco Vallejo
Magnus Carlsen 
   Levon Aronian
Sergey Karjakin 
   Viswanathan Anand
Games– Report
Round 5: Saturday, September 29, 15:00h
Francisco Vallejo 
   Sergey Karjakin
Viswanathan Anand 
   Magnus Carlsen
Levon Aronian 
   Fabiano Caruana
Games – Report

São Paulo partners


 

Links

The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 11 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

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Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications.
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