Miskolc 2007: it's Vlagyimir vs Léko Péter

4/25/2007 – The eight-game rapid chess match between Vlagyimir Kramnyik and Lékó Péter begins today in Miskolc, Hungary. It was started off on Tuesday with a press conference, the drawing of colours and a spectacular opening ceremony, provided by the Polgármester of Miskolc, Káli Sándor. Explanations for the mysterious orthography adopted in this blurb are given in our big pictorial report.

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The Leko Peter Chess School in Miskolc

The rapid chess match between Vladimir Kramnik, the reigning world champion, and Peter Leko, Hungary's top grandmaster and former world championship challenger – in 2004 he held Kramnik to a 7-7 draw, after which Kramnik retained the title – takes place from April 23 and 30 in Miskolc, Hungary.

The event started with an inauguration ceremony, on Monday evening, for the Peter Leko Chess School in Miskolc. That same evening Vladimir Kramnik arrived, and on Tuesday the two players took part in a press conference in the late afternoon. Two hours later there was a spectacular opening ceremony in the national theatre, where the match will be held. It included the drawing of lots. The first two games will be played on Wednesday, at 16:00h and 17:30h local time (CEST = GMT +1h). You will find a full schedule at the bottom of this page.

Picture report


Deja vu – weren't we here before? Indeed, during the 2006 Miskolc tournament.

The City Hotel, where the players and special guests stay, is unassuming from the outside, but beautifully functional on the inside. The rooms are very spacious and well equipped. Everything works, including the super-fast Internet connection, which is available wireless or with a network cable, which the hotel of course supplies.


The city is plastered with announcements of the big chess event


The players emerge – Peter Leko in the dark suit, followed by his wife and her
parents; and Vladimir Kramnik, the tall guy in the grey suit


The press conference in the town hall


Sándor Káli, the Lord Mayor of Miskolc – Polgármester in Hungarian (like Bürgermeister in German). So, we are able to deduce sharply, "Polgar" means Bürger or citizen. As in Citizen Zsuzsa.


Is he upset with the spelling of his name? Not really...


... Everyone has to get used to Vlagyimir Kramnyik in Hungary


Lékó Péter with one of the chief organisers WGM Verözi Zsuzsa. Note that in Hugarian the surname is always given first, often in capital letters. And they put diacritic marks, mainly acute accents, on any vowel that moves.

Peter told the audience that playing the reigning world champion in his current form was a daunting task. Still he had the home advantage, the knowledge that thousands of fans were rooting for him. This works well in athletic sports, he observed, but not necessarily in chess, where you have to concentrate your mind, not flex your muscles.

Vladimir Kramnik said that this match would not be won or lost in the opening. That is rarely the case in rapid chess battles, where concentration and fast thinking were required in the critical phases of the game. He confirmed that he was a great friend of Peter Leko, and enjoyed his company, but that this stopped when they got to the chessboard. There everyone, even the nicest of people are your adversaries, your mortal enemies.


The players pose with Polgármester Kali for the photographers


And a handshake to show that hostilities only exist on the board. Vladimir was clearly impressed by the venue and the atmosphere, even before he saw what was to come in the next part of the evening.


"We have prepared a little presentation," Mayor Sandor Kali told us in excellent German. "I hope you like it." He is a cultivated man, given to quiet understatement.


The show starts with a drummer and a diabolical black-and-white dancer


An Indian pilgrim figure accompanied by petal-strewing maidens


Two tall figures on long stilts, with black and white dancers in the forground


A dazzling display of elegant dance under a a rain of black and white confetti


And the throbbing final to the loud beat of modern rock music


Lights, curtains, and the entire ensemble takes the ovation of the audience


The drawing of colours – and Vladimir Kramnik gets white in the first game (and on each day of the match)


And a final glass of Hungarian champagne to end the day

Photos and report by Frederic Friedel

Full Schedule

April 2007
S M T W T F S
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30          
24th of April
(Tuesday)
16.00 Press release int he Oval Room of CityHall
18.00 Opening ceremony and hosting of the draw
25th of April
(Wednesday)
16.00 The first game of the match.
17.30 The second game of the match. After finishing, the two grandmasters give a short press conference of 10-15 minutes.
26th of April
(Thursday)
16.00 The third game of the match.
17.30 The fourth game of the match. After finishing, the two grandmasters give a short press conference of 10-15 minutes.
27th of April
(Friday)  
Rest day. 16:00 - 18:00: The two grandmasters are available to meet fans (venue: International Trade Center Miskolc)
28th of April
(Saturday)
16.00 The fifth game of the match.
17.30 The sixth game of the match. After finishing, the two grandmasters give a short press conference of 10-15 minutes.
29th of April
(Sunday)
16.00 The seventh game of the match.
17.30 The eighth game of the match. After finishing, the two grandmasters give a press conference of about 30 minutes.
19.00 The closing ceremony of the match, result announcement
30th of April
(Sunday)
Departure.

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