Chess Classic 2004: Carmen in Mainz

8/6/2004 – She is one of the top ten earning super-models in the world, and a "kick-ass" chess player. And the President of the Estonian Chess Federation. Carmen Kass is the star guest at the Chess Classic, where she took on the chess champs in blitz games. (Oh, yes, Anand scored in his Rapid Chess match against Shirov). Here's the Carmen Kass story...

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Mainz Chess Classic 2004

Rheingoldhalle Mainz
August 4 – 8, 2004

This year's Chess Classic was opened with a press conference featuring super-model Carmen Kass. She is not just a georgeous woman who has graced the covers of most of the fashion magazine in the world. Carmen is also, as her official write-ups put it, a kick-ass chess player who prefers a nice game with friends to the finest night clubs in New York City.

Today's report concentrates on Carmen's visit to the Chess Classic in Mainz. The chess part is somewhere near the end. To learn all about the Chess Classic visit our intro page. If you are looking for live coverage of the games you can go to the official Chess Classic home page (click "Live transmission" on the left) or visit our chess server Playchess.com, where the organisers have kindly arranges a live relay.

Carmen Kass, chess super-model

Carmen Kass was born in 1978 in Tallinn, Estonia. As a young girl the blue-eyed brunette won Miss title of her home town Paide, and later the crown for Miss Jrvamma. In 1992 the 14-year-old was discovered in a supermarket in Tallinn by an Italian modeling scout, who flew her to Milan to start a modeling career. Her mother disapproved, but Carmen forged her mother's signature of "approval".

After being represented in her native Estonia by a small agency called "Baltic Models", Carmen moved to Paris at the age of 18, where she received exposure on the cover of L'Officiel, Vogue, Elle, Image, Madame Figaro, and Numero France. By 1999 Carmen was one of the fashion runways' hottest commodities. She strutted down the catwalks for the top designers in the world such as: Alberta Ferretti, Anna Sui, BCBG, Bill Blass, Calvin Klein, Chanel, Christian Dior, DKNY, Dolce & Gabbana, Gianfranco Ferré, Gianni Versace, Gucci, Jill Stuart, MaxMara, Michael Kors, Moschino, Nicole Miller, Prada, Oscar de la Renta, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Gianni Versace, Louis Vuitton, and Valentino.

Today Carmen Kass is most recognized for the Gap denim advertising campaign, and as the spokesperson for Sephora, one of the world's leading cosmetics retailers, and the Christian Dior perfume, "J'adore". She lives in New York and has become a staple for the two biggest American fashion magazines, Vogue and Harper's Bazaar.

When she's not cuddling up to her public relations/marketing boyfriend, Richie Akiva, Carmen keeps herself busy with sports and exercise, horseback riding, obsessively checking her email, and kicking butt in chess. It's clear that even off the chessboard, Carmen's making all the right moves as the 2000 VH1/Vogue's 'Model of the Year' and as the quintessential beauty of the post-waif generation.

This year Carmen Kass joined Estonia's ruling Res Publica Union for the Republic – Res Publica, led by Juhan Parts, who is also Prime Minister. Now that Estonia, the home of Paul Keres, is part of the European Union she is considering running for the European Parliament.

Earlier this year Carmen Kass was elected President of the Estonian Chess Federation, and is spearheading her country's bid to stage the Chess Olympiad in 2008. This was formally announced by Kass at the press conference of the Mainz Chess Classic 2004 – to the chagrin of the German Chess Federation, since the city of Dresden is also bidding for the Olympiad in the same year.

"Even though Dresden was widely viewed as the hot favourite to host this event, which will feature more than 200 national teams, the Saxons now have to fear that the World Chess Federation FIDE will award the event to Estonia," write the Chess Classic Organisers. "How many delegates of FIDE will be charmed by the 25 year old, will re-consider their vote for Dresden’s application and join Estonia’s camp?"

Carmen in Mainz


The president of the Estonian Chess Federation takes on the world's number two Vishy Anand with, as far as we can see, the unorthodox Sicilian with 1.e4 c5 2.Bc4 e6 3.Qe2 Nc6. This is of course all theory, and in the picture above Carmen is about to play the common continuation 4.Nf3.


Carmen Kass in full concentration mode in her game against Anand, who, we are told, was so confused by his spectacular opponent that he offered her a draw instead of delivering a forced mate.


Carmen also takes on the newly crowned women's world champion Antoaneta Stefanova


The Lord Mayor of Mainz, Jens Beutel, a strong club player, tries his luck against Eti Stefanova


Carmen, flanked by organiser Hans-Walter Schmitt, makes the first move in the rapid chess game Shirov vs Anand


Peter Svidler gets the same celebrity exposure in his Chess960 game against Aronian

Which reminds us: there was some serious chess on the agenda in Mainz. In the first two games of their Rapid Chess match Anand took the lead with 1.5:0.5 by winning the second game with the white pieces, a Ruy Lopez Marshall. Click here to download and replay the games.

Peter Svidler studying his shuffle chess position against Levon Aronian. In the first game Peter played fast and well, leaving his opponent just seconds to defend a difficult endgame with a pawn less. After losing this encounter Aronian struck back in game two. "I was completely outplayed," said Svidler, who had some residual difficulties with the castling rules in Chess960. If you take a look at the starting position above you will understand that castling is not immediately intuitive.


Artur Jussupow leads the FiNet Chess960 Open with a perfect 5/5 points (together with Bacrot and Kobalija).


Top French GM Etienne Bacrot, who is also leading in the Fischer Random section. Here's a report on the FiNet Chess960 Open


We return to the main topic of today's story with a final picture of the super-model

Carmen Kass Links


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