Chess Match: Blondes vs Brunettes in Moscow

by ChessBase
5/23/2012 – Eric van Reem is a German Lufthansa employee and chess organiser. He is also a member of Team Anand and the hero of the last World Championship in Sofia, when he arranged a 40-hour transportation for Vishy when an Icelandic volcano paralysed most of Europe. Eric is maintaining a blog on the World Championship, and has thankfully reported pictorially on an important side event.

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The World Chess Championship 2012 is being staged in the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, between the current World Champion Viswanathan Anand of India and the winner of the Candidates tournament Boris Gelfand of Israel. The match is over twelve games and lasts from May 11 to 30. The prize fund is US $2.55 million, the winner getting $1.53 million (60%), the loser $1.02 million (40%).

Moscow impressions by Eric van Reem

Before we come to the main theme of our exposition a quick jaunt through chess history.

A special chess photo exhibition in the big lobby of the Multimedia Art Museum

Photo by Boris Dolmatovsky of the Karpov-Kasparov match in Moscow 1984

The last picture made the front page "Vedomosti" on May 11, 2012

The caption of the above picture reads: "Chief arbiter of match Svetozar Gligoric tests a chair of Anatoly Karpov." We seem to remember it had collapsed under Karpov's weight – probably around 130 pounds in 1984 – which would explain the smile on Kasparov's face.

It is just a ten minute walk from the museum to the Botvinnik Central Chess Club, and it is easy to see that you arrived at the right place when you get there: the above memorial plaque, dedicated to Mikhail Botvinnik, was unveiled by Vladimir Kramnik and Vishy Anand on the last day of the Botvinnik Memorial in September 2011. It reads: “Five times World Champion, founder of the National Chess School, Mikhail Moiseevich Botvinnik, worked in this building from 1988 to 1995”.

This was the match all the journalists had been waiting for! On Saturday, 19 May a blitz Scheveningen was taged between a team of blonde players and a team of brunette players at the Botvinnik Central Chess Club. The regulations were actually quite simple: a 2100+ Elo was required, but the hair colour was the main entry ticket, and there was also a dress code: the blondes had to wear light coloured clothing, brunettes dark costumes.

The tournament under way – genuine competition to the Anand-Gelfand thing

Julia Dogodkina (blond) vs Olga Grigorieva (brunette, black dress)

Irina Vasilevich vs Maya Gvilava

Yulia Dogodkina in action

Anna Burtasova (right), chess journalist and photographer, against Valentina Gunina

16-year old talent Maria Severina (Elo 2247), who almost got a
draw against Kasparov in the simul one day earlier.

The scoreboard, with the blonds winning 36.5-24.5. Valentina Gunina, Olga Gira and Alina Bivol
scored six points each, Maria Severina (blond) and Olga Grigoreva (brunette) scored 5.5 each.

White roses for team blonde: Maria Severina, Alina Bivol, Maria Fominykh, Valentina
Gunina, Irina Vasilevich, Julia Dogodkina and Olga Girja (correct us if we are wrong)

Red roses for team brunette (24.5 points): Varvara Saulina, Anna Burtasova, Elmira Mirzoeva,
Yana Melnikova, Olga Grigorjeva, Maja Gvivala, Darja Charochkina and Anna Vasenina.

The group photo of both teams with their flowers

All photos by Eric van Reem from the team Anand, who is maintaining a chess blog
in Moscow. He is the hero of the volcanic 2010 World Championship match in Sofia.

Eric, 44, from Deventer, The Netherlands, works for Lufthansa as Star Alliance Controller in the Hub Control Centre at Frankfurt Airport and lives in Dietzenbach, close to Frankfurt. He studied Dutch and English at Amsterdam University and for ten years was the Editor of the magazine "Computerschaak". He was also the press officer of the Chess Classic Mainz tournaments and the Euwe Memorial 2011 in Amsterdam. Eric wrote the Chess960 rules for the FIDE handbook. He is married to Svala (from Iceland) and has two sons, Dennis (13) and Nils (9). Listens to Joe Bonamassa and JJ Grey when writing and editing his blog.


 Vishy Anand
 Boris Gelfand  

Remaining schedule

Days of play, with live commentators on Note that the games start at 15:00h local time = 13:00 CEST, 07 a.m. New York or here in your location.

Tues May 22 Rest day  
Wed May 23 Game 9 Daniel King
Thur May 24 Game 10 Yannick Pelletier
Fri May 25 Rest day  
Sat May 26 Game 11 Daniel King
Sun May 27 Rest day  
Mon May 28 Game 12 Sam Collins
Tues May 29 Rest day  
Wed May 30 Tiebreaks  
Thurs May 31 Closing  


The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 11 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

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