Gibtelecom Masters starts tomorrow

1/25/2010 – We have heard many excuses before: illness, missed flight, or Oscar Wilde's classy "I have to decline due to a subsequent engagement". But this one is new: I cannot attend the Gibtel Masters because I am taking part in the opera Tannhäuser (by Richard Wagner). Still, even without the singing, dancing, soccer-playing GM the event has a great field. Preview.

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2010 Gibtelecom Masters: A Knight at the Opera

By John Saunders

The list of players at the 2010 Gibtelecom Masters in Gibraltar is quite illustrious. Unfortunately, we have lost a few prospective participants. Sadly, ex-women's world champion Zhu Chen and her husband Mohamad Al-Modiahki won't be coming after all due to a family illness. Three Russian GMs, Vitiugov, Romanov and Andreikin, have run into off-board time trouble – their visa applications have not been processed in time for them to appear.

But the most intriguing withdrawal is Simen Agdestein's, who has the most original reason for not being in Gibraltar: he is going to be taking part in an opera!

Is there no end to the talents of the Norwegian grandmaster? It is well known that he was a soccer international (photo left) and that he took part in Dancing with the Stars (see photo, right) on Norwegian TV.

But is he now an all-singing, all-dancing grandmaster? Well, very nearly. Here is Simen himself on his off-board career after Dancing with the Stars: "I must admit it was enormous fun taking part in that program and very inspirational. Afterwards I started on amateur theatricals and also became interested in singing and such things. But I’m not going to sing [in the opera], just play a very minor role in the background."

The opera is Richard Wagner's Tannhauser and it is being performed at the Norwegian Opera in Oslo. As usual, Simen believes in starting at the top. Next stop Bayreuth?

Trivia question: the children of which strong, active grandmaster actually sing in Tannhäuser?

You can listen to the famous Pilgrim's Chorus from Tannhäuser. Set your loudspeaker volume at the beginning and then try not to change it during the entire piece. The good bit comes when the strings go pom-pom-pom-pom at around two minutes. If you are hooked you can listen to the overture here. Same loudspeaker volume strategy as above. Listen to the strings in the background – it will send shivers down your back. And if you still haven't had enough here's an amazing piano version of the overture transcribed by Wagner's father-in-law Franz Liszt.


With Kasparov and Carlsen in Marrakech

by Alice Mascarenhas, Gibraltar Chronicle

As the 2010 Gibtelecom Chess Festival opens next week, Brian Callaghan, organizer of the Gibtelecom Chess Festival met up with two of the most famous world chess players in Marrakech, Morocco, this past week, former World Chess Champion Russian Garry Kasparov and Magnus Carlsen, Norwegian grandmaster and chess prodigy currently ranked number one in the world. These two world chess stars being together provided an opportunity to brief them on the development of chess in Gibraltar.

In the picture with Magnus Carlsen and Garry Kasparov are representatives from the local tournament sponsors; Tim Bristow, Gibtelecom, James Humphreys, Tradewise, and Pepe Canilla, Canillas.

The next Gibraltar Gibtelecom International Chess Festival starts on Tuesday 26th January for ten days and will see some 40 countries presented with some of the world’s leading chess players, including Etienne Bacrot from France, Sergei Movsesian Czech Republic, leading Spanish player Francisco Vallejo Pons, Gata Kamsky from the USA, with the British challenge led by Michael Adams. The current top women world players include World Champion Alexandra Kosteniuk from Russia, and the highest rated woman player Humpy Koneru.

The Caleta Hotel in Gibraltar again plays host to the Gibtelecom International Chess Festival which offers a friendly gathering to this series of tournaments which run simultaneously: the Masters, the Challengers and the Amateurs.

The Festival is now the leading tournament of its type in the world, with a prize fund of over £100,000 and is sponsored by the Gibraltar Government Sports and Leisure Authority, Gibtelecom, Anglo Hispano Co. Ltd., Bentley Property Services Ltd., Canillas, Casais, Gibmaroc Ltd., Deloitte, Gibro Group, Isolas, Lombard Odier Darier Hentsch, Party Gaming, Saccone & Speed, The Caleta Hotel and Tradewise Insurance Company Ltd.


Links

A selection of games will be broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download the free PGN reader ChessBase Light, which gives you immediate access. You can also use the program to read, replay and analyse PGN games. New and enhanced: CB Light 2009!

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