Beautiful people in a beautiful place

by ChessBase
11/6/2002 – Seldom before has a chess Olympiad been held in a more beautiful place. The Slovenian town of Bled has a lake surrounded by mountains and palaces. Our roving reporter Anna Dergatscheva in on location and has sent us a large number of very fine pictures from the Olympiade, including a special section on female players, like Almira Skripchenko on the left. You will find Anna's illustrated report here.

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By Anna Dergatscheva

Our correspondent Anna Dergatscheva was born on 26.02.1969 in Moscow. She studied Russian language and literature. She lives in Germany and plays in Germany's top women's division as well as the men's regional league.

All pictures in this article were sent to us directly from Bled by Anna Dergatscheva

Normally Chess Olympiads are held in cities like Moscow and Istanbul, sometimes in far-away places like Elista, the capital of Kalmykia. Now for the first time FIDE has staged it in a town that is not even marked on the national map of Slovenia that all participants received. But they were sill very happy to be in Bled. It is a very small town in a spectacularly beautiful region, with a lake surrounded by mountains and palaces.

Fresh air and sunny weather make the event a delight for the participants and visitors.

We hear that the idea of staging the Olympiad in Bled came from GM Evgeni Sveschnikov (right), who is here as the trainer of the Tunesian team. He has been playing here in the yearly open for twelve years, and has founded the "Sveschnikov Club". In order to become a member you must walk around the entire lake once. Evgeni did it 150 times – not bad when you consider that the walk takes 7800 steps (yep, he counted!) and is 5.7 km long.

Inventor Evgeni Sveshnikov – and Peter Svidler taking the walk

Another group of intrepids: Psakhis, Sutovski, Gulko, Huzman

In Bled you keep hearing Russian from people playing under completely different flags. Boris Gulko, Emil Sutovski, Lev Psachis and Alexander Huzman love to discuss the long-gone times when they played together somewhere in the Soviet Union.

Loek van Wely, Peng Zhaoquin

Alexander Morozevich, Anna Sharevich (17, Bulgaria)

The other two Alexanders: Grischuk and Khalifman

Viktor and Petra Kortschnoj

Ilya Smirin, Andrei Kovalev

The action

The star of the Olympiad is definitely Garry Kasparov. There are always crowds around his board, photographers jostle to get a picture of the strongest player in the world.

Playing at a 3000+ level for Russia: Garry Kasparov

No problems getting a picture of world champion Ruslan Ponomariov

After Russia lost to Hungary in round nine the race has become very close. Everyone believes that the two countries will decide the outcome amongst themselves.

Russia vs Hungary, Alexander Grischuk vs Judit Polgar

Peter Leko of Hungary holding Kasparov to a draw

Lutz vs Hracek

The English team: Luke McShane, Nigel Short, Michael Adams

Ukrainian perennial Vassily Ivanchuk

The women's Olympiad

I devoted quite a bit of attention to the women's section for the Olympiad. This is hardly surprising since I know many personally and have played against a number of them. But I also assume that many of the male visitors to this site will be interested to see some of the players of the opposite sex. So I wandered around with my camera, not always making a note of the players I photographed.

Almira Skripchenko-Lautier (Fra), Ketino Kachiani-Gersinska (Ger)

The German team: Ketino Kachiani, Elisabeth Pähtz, Ekatrina Borulya

The ever popular Natalia Zhukova

The Slovak team: Mrova, Hagarova, Pokorna

Maria Kouvatsou (Greece)

Vice champion of the world Alexandra Kosteniuk

The women's team from Iran


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