And the winners are...

by ChessBase
4/10/2003 – In recent months we staged a number of prize contests. Our readers were asked to pick the winners of big chess tournaments or solve chess puzzles. They could win software autographed by the world's top players. One of the awards was hand delivered to the winner, who lives in a charming Italian town with beautiful churches and run-down stadiums. We got some very nice pictures out of it. More

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Signed by the champions

At the start of this year's Linares Super-Tournament we asked you to predict who would win. The Linares quiz had a number of specific questions and led to a huge volume of feedback.

Unfortunately nobody guessed the winners correctly. However some readers came what we will graciously call "close", and of these we picked Craig Stephens of Ashland, OR, USA as the winner.

Craig wrote: "I believe Peter Leko will win Linares. Kasparov and Kramnik will not do as well as people think this year, although I believe Kramnik has better chances for a higher finish. Anand will probably play very well in the first half, but I predict that he will be lucky to finish at +1. Radjabov and Vallejo will play exciting chess, but will probably end at about -2. Vallejo is likely to finish higher than Radjabov."

We think Craig deserved the prize, which is a copy of Fritz signed by the tournament winners Kramnik and Leko, as well as Anand, Ponomariov and Radjabov.

There are two more prizes to announce. The first was won by Massimiliano Benotti for our Christmas Puzzle Suite, and it was a copy of Fritz signed by Vladimir Kramnik. The prize for the Classical Retractor problem was won by Christoph Mattheeuws and is a program signed by Vishy Anand.

Our current policy requires that a senior staff member of ChessBase must hand deliver each prize personally to the recepient. Massimiliano Benotti lives in Italy, and so we set out with the signed copy of Fritz 8 – and came back with some very nice pictures.

Massimiliano's home town, which is dominated by a large church

Late in the evening the winner takes possession of his prize in front of the church

Massimiliano in front of the main stadium, which definitely needs some repair work

The town also has a very nice fountain (why do we think of Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck when we see this picture?)

A villa of sorts. Note that transportation is somewhat outdated

Some sections of the town are in a really bad state

Others are quite opulent and nicely decorated

Some places you will see a lot of very elaborate graffiti
(sorry, we are perhaps carrying the joke too far)

The shopsare full of marvellous chess sets made of stone or metal

Here's one with soldiers and centurians made of painted marble

And another beautiful set on an alabaster board

Unfortunately we have had to abandon our company policy of hand delivering prizes (which was a euphemism for taking a holiday anyway). It turns out that Christoph Mattheeuws, who won the Retractor prize, lives in Lima, Peru. We looked it up on a map, and it is far! So in future its back to the good old snailmail.

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