White nights revisited, four hundred years of Tomsk

5/30/2004 – The preliminaries for the Russian Championship are under way in St Petersburg and Tomsk. We have all the results and games, but also some background on the bright nights in the former Russian capital and on the four-hundred-year old city of Tomsk. New pictorial report...

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The White Nights in St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg's White Nights a whole moment of bliss!
Is that not enough for an entire human life?

.... Fedor Dostoyevsky

After publishing the White Nights report by Misha Savinov we received a number of letters, so for instance from Timothy Chou of New York, USA: "I am an avid fan of Russian literature and chess I recognised the Dostoevsky allusion, but I have always wondered – are St. Petersburg nights really white? I remembered reading somewhere that they were indeed spectacular, but have never seen any pictures."

Every summer, a unique and wonderful thing happens in St. Petersburg. It is a wonder of nature known as the White Nights (Beliye Nochi) and is at its best in June and July. Situated at roughly 59 degrees 57' degrees north latitude, St. Petersburg is neighbored by Finland and Estonia and is on about the same latitude as the southern tip of Greenland and Seward, Alaska.

Although the phenomenon known as the "White Nights" is not unique to St. Petersburg, in no other northern city have they received such poetic and literary acclaim. What could be more romantic than a walk along the banks of the city’s rivers and canals in almost broad daylight, no matter what the time of day? No other major European city can rival this experience or the atmosphere on the streets of St. Petersburg during the summer months – lively, friendly, romantic and bustling with people throughout the night as well as the day!

St. Petersburg is the world's most northern city with a population over 1 million, and its stands at such a high latitude that the sun does not descend below the horizon enough for the sky to grow dark. In fact night becomes curiously indistinguishable from day, so much so that the authorities never need to turn the city’s streetlights on!

Standings in St. Petersburg: 1. Dreev, Alexey g RUS 2689 6.0; 2. Epishin, Vladimir g RUS 2610 5.5; 3. Tseshkovsky, Vitaly g RUS 2564 5.5; 4. Khalifman, Alexander g RUS 2668 5.0; 5. Ivanov, Sergey g RUS 2546 5.0; 6. Zvjaginsev, Vadim g RUS 2654 5.0; 7. Najer, Evgeniy g RUS 2606 5.0; 8. Popov, Valerij g RUS 2547 5.0; 9. Romanov, Evgeny f RUS 2392 4.5; 10. Sakaev, Konstantin g RUS 2665 4.5; 11. Volkov, Sergey1 g RUS 2629 4.5; 12. Andreikin, Dmitry m RUS 2418 4.5; 13. Yakovich, Yuri g RUS 2596 4.5; 14. Yevseev, Denis g RUS 2580 4.5; 15. Riazantsev, Alexander g RUS 2556 4.5; 16. Landa, Konstantin g RUS 2550 4.0; 17. Tregubov, Pavel V g RUS 2636 4.0; 18. Alekseev, Evgeny g RUS 2616 4.0; 19. Burmakin, Vladimir g RUS 2571 4.0; 20. Shaposhnikov, Evgeny g RUS 2559 4.0; 21. Nepomniachtchi, Ian f RUS 2445 4.0; 22. Nikolenko, Oleg m RUS 2520 4.0; 23. Dolmatov, Sergey g RUS 2573 3.5; 24. Belov, Vladimir g RUS 2543 3.5; 25. Ionov, Sergey g RUS 2538 3.5; 26. Kuzmin, Alexey g RUS 2567 3.5; 27. Dobrov, Vladimir m RUS 2477 3.5; 28. Solovjov, Sergey I m RUS 2458 3.5; 29. Loginov, Valery A g RUS 2516 3.0; 30. Danin, Alexandre f RUS 2332 3.0; 31. Kurnosov, Igor g RUS 2543 3.0; 32. Gleizerov, Evgeny g RUS 2592 2.5; 33. Shapovalenko, Maksim RUS 0 1.0; 34. Silivanov, Sergej f RUS 2291 1.0. Games are given at the bottom of this page.


Four hundred years of Tomsk

In 1604 the Russian tsar Boris Godunov ordered Cossack leader Gavril Pisemsky and his son Tyrkov to found a fort on the Tom River, on Tatar land, to protect the river crossing. It became important as a military center for pacifying the native people and evolved into a regional administrative center. Beginning in the late 1830s, its population grew quickly thanks to the intensifying gold-mining activity in Siberia.


The pioneer Siberian city of Tomsk

The Governor of the city, Victor M. Cress, writes: "Tomsk is one of the most beautiful cities in Russia. In the past it was the fortress and the town of people in state service, the provincial center of the vast Siberian land, and a merchant town. Over the course of two centuries the Moscow-Siberian road has affected the formation of the original architectural-historical look of Tomsk. The quiet side-streets of our town capture you with the mysterious music of ancient wood and stone, with the delicate ligature of carved decor. Nowadays Tomsk is widely known in Russia and beyond as a cultural and educational center. Our town is justly called the "Siberian Athens" – it is not Moscow or Saint Petersburg, but Tomsk that takes first place in Russia for the number of students and scholars per capita."


The historical theatre in Tomsk

We have no pictures of contemporary Tomsk and ask our Russian friends to send us some. Please use the feedback form on the left to contact us.


The Governor of the Tomsk district (left) at the opening ceremony


Press conference before the event


Rating favorites Dmitry Bocharov vs Sergey Rublevsky


Semen Dvoirys, Ernesto Inarkiev


Ten-year-old Tomich with his 18-year-old colleague Ernesto Inarkiev


Postgame analysis

Standings: 1. Motylev, Alexander g RUS 2649 5.0; 2. Timofeev, Artyom g RUS 2591 5.0; 3. Jakovenko, Dmitry g RUS 2582 5.0; 4. Korotylev, Alexey g RUS 2565 5.0; 5. Khismatullin, Denis RUS 2537 4.5; 6. Inarkiev, Ernesto g RUS 2595 4.5; 7. Rustemov, Alexander g RUS 2593 4.5; 8. Smirnov, Pavel g RUS 2601 4.5; 9. Bocharov, Dmitry g RUS 2567 4.5; 10. Rublevsky, Sergei g RUS 2671 4.0; 11. Sorokin, Maxim g RUS 2583 4.0; 12. Kharlov, Andrei g RUS 2593 4.0; 13. Belozerov, Andrei g RUS 2552 4.0; 14. Kosyrev, Vladimir g RUS 2529 4.0; 15. Dvoirys, Semen I g RUS 2612 4.0; 16. Filippov, Valerij g RUS 2639 3.5; 17. Ulibin, Mikhail g RUS 2579 3.5; 18. Lastin, Alexander g RUS 2622 3.5; 19. Galkin, Alexander g RUS 2602 3.5; 20. Khairullin, Ildar f RUS 2481 3.5; 21. Kobalia, Mikhail g RUS 2630 3.5; 22. Iskusnyh, Sergei g RUS 2507 3.5; 23. Kornev, Alexei RUS 2582 3.0; 24. Gajsin, Evgenij RUS 2404 3.0; 25. Vorobiov, Evgeny E g RUS 2552 3.0; 26. Shariyazdanov, Andrey g RUS 2575 3.0; 27. Kiriakov, Petr g RUS 2568 3.0; 28. Sherbakov, Ruslan g RUS 2564 3.0; 29. Maletin, Pavel f RUS 2423 3.0; 30. Yandemirov, Valeri g RUS 2494 2.5; 31. Novikov, Maxim m RUS 2426 2.5; 32. Yudin, Sergei f RUS 2425 2.5; 33. Yagupov, Igor g RUS 2441 2.5; 34. Loskutov, Oleg m RUS 2433 2.0; 35. Frolov, Denis m RUS 2401 1.5; 36. Nazarov, Nikolay RUS 2256 0.5.

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