Bilbao vs Durban – Rapid Chess over 8800 km

10/26/2007 – Until a few years ago encounters between chess teams from different cities were fairly expensive – prohibitively so if they were many thousands of kilometers apart. Today that has changed. The organisers of the Bilbao Blindfold World Cup, using Playchess.com, were able to stage an eight-board match between the Basque city and the South African Durban. How things have changed!

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Rapid Chess over 8800 km

Bilbao vs Durban: Intercontinental School-Chess-Meeting

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Just hours before South Africa battled England for Rugby's great Webb Ellis Cup, a battle across 8800 kilometres commenced: eight children from Bilbao, Spain, pitted wits against eight children from Durban, South Africa.

Play started at 11:00 in both countries in a virtual arena setup on Playchess.com. In South Africa, uShaka Marine World hosted the Durban team, that used computers sponsored by the University of Kwazulu Natal’s School of Information Systems and Technology, and a 3G internet connection sponsored by “Vodacom4u @ uShaka.”

After four hours of intense struggle the match was drawn 8-8!! In Spain, the Bilbao team caught the attention of two former world champions, along with four other Super Grandmasters!!


Former world champion Boris Spassky, Indian GM Pentala Harikrishna, Ukrainian GM Sergey Karjakin, Hungarian GM Judit Polgar, Former FIDE world champion Veselin Topalov, Chinese GM Xiangzhi Bu and Norwegian GM Magnus Carlsen watch the Bilbao team

Match results (the numbers along the top represent board position):

Individual scores (asterisk means reverse colours):


The City of Durban


Arial shot of uShaka Marine World


The Durban team, playing chess with opponents over 8800 km away!


I n Spain the players are seated in cool, well-shaded rooms


In Durban the blazing South African sun falls into the Marine World venue


All eight games are projected on a panel screen


The youthful team in Bilbao playing on notebooks


Team manager Desmond Rooplal, DMCA Chairman Bongani Mgaga, DMCA’s PR Officer Moses Hadebe watching the games with keen interest in Durban


In Bilbao it's Judit Polgar, Veselin Topalov and Xiangzhi Bu ...


...Boris Spassky, Pentala Harikrishna, Sergey Karjakin who watch


Oh the pressure: Spanish player Endika Dosuna scored 2-0


Uxue Marcos lost 0-2 to Seshni Govindasamy in Durban


The Durban squad: Miguel Murugano, Adebayo Ojewole, Dhyaaneshan Pillay, Desmond Rooplal, Nashlen Govindasamy, Pranesh Nukanna, Nashin Pillay, Mondli Hadebe and Seshni Govindasamy

Report by Desmond Rooplal, pictures by Desmond Rooplal and Nadja Woisin


Topics Bilbao 2007
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