'Distant chess' in St Petersburg and Paris

by ChessBase
5/31/2003 – The town is full of dignitaries, from politics and chess. On the day of the 300th anniversary of St Petersburg the famous Russian city played an Internet match against a team of the NAO Chess Club in Paris. Viktor Korchnoi played the only decive game to clinch the match for St Petersburg. More...

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Here are the individual results:

Sergey Karyakin
Konstantin Sakaev
Viktor Kortchnoi
Laurent Fressinet
Teimour Radjabov
Peter Svidler
Alexander Khalifman
Vladimir Kramnik

Viktor Korchnoi playing in St Petersburg

The players had 15 minutes for the entire game plus an increment of ten seconds per move. The event was played in public and with arbiters (Geurt Gijssen in St Petersburg, Yakov Damsky in Paris). The moves were transmitted by a new digital clock in algebraic notation. A chess arbiter executed the moves of the remote opponent on the board.

The event was given the somewhat uninspired title "Distance chess match" and was played on May 28 2003 to celebrate the 300 years anniversary of the city of St Petersburg.

The St Petersburg team: 1. Aleksander Khalifman, winner of the FIDE world chess championship 1999, Russian champion; 2. Peter Svidler, three-time Russian champion:3. Victor Korchnoi, two-time world champion challenger; 4. Konstantin Sakaev, Russian champion; reserve Evgeny Alekseev, youngest Russian GM; commentators in St Petersburg: ex world champions Anatoly Karpov and Boris Spassky.

In the St Petersburg venue during the match

The NAO chess clubteam in Paris: 1. Vladimir Kramink, classical chess world champion; 2. Teimour Radjabov, Moscow Grand Prix 2002 finalist; 3. Laurent Fressinet, 2002 champion of Paris in 2002; 4. Sergey Karjakin, at thirteen the world's youngest grandmaster; reserve Igor-Alexandre Nataf; commentator in Paris: Joel Lautier.

The prematch press conference was held in the International Media Centre for the celebration of the 300 years anniversary of St Petersburg. Ex world champions Anatoly Karpov and Boris Spassky participated, as did the legendary grandmasters Victor Korchnoi and Mark Taimanov.

The media room in St Petersburg


The Sport Express article by Yuri Vasilev is in Russian, but here are some quotes:

  • "This is an excellent method of the popularization of chess!" said FIDE president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. "Tt has now become possible to arrange matches between continents, countries and cities without expenses for planes and hotels. It is not impossible that this technology could be used in the qualification competitions of the FIDE World Championships."

  • "A lot of people play in Internet," said classical chess world champion Vladimir Kramnik. "I seldom play on the chess servers because I am not good with the mouse. But it is different when you play on a regular chess board. It feels just like you are playing in a regular tournament. I think 'Distance Chess' has a good future."

  • GM Peter Svidler, participant in the Petersburg-NAO match, drew attention to some basic necessities in such events (to avoid cheating): "It is very important that the arbiter must be presented at the same playing room, and if in addition you can see your opponent on a monitor then all the questions are dropped. I do not think that this kind of chess can be used in official events."

  • GM Joel Lautier, Paris: "The most important aspect of this match is that new technologies are coming into chess. Today's match is a great achievement."

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