Coming soon: Exhibition match Curaçao vs Malta

3/8/2006 – The two islands are 8,600 km apart, and normally a match between eight-board national selections from both places would be exorbitantly expensive to arrange. Unless of course you use the Internet – specifically the Playchess server and webcams – to stage the event. If you want to see it happen, Saturday's the day.

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Coming soon: Exhibition match Curaçao – Malta

By Ger Jan Meijer and Duncan Vella

On Saturday March 11th 2006, the two islands of Curaçao and Malta will play a very important exhibition match against each other via the Playchess Server courtesy of ChessBase. There is a huge geographical distance of around 8,600 kilometres between both islands, Curaçao in the Caribbean and Malta in the Mediterranean.

Emily de Jong- Elhage (Prime
Minister of the Netherlands Antilles)
will open the Curacao- Malta match.

A national selection from both islands will play each other over eight boards. Both teams will come together in their Chessboard Rooms that will be equipped also with Webcams. Emily de Jong-Elhage, Prime minister of the Netherlands Antilles, will open the sportive encounter between the two islands. After the match with Malta, Curaçao will also play several Rapid matches against teams of the city of Utrecht (Netherlands).

The matches are an initiative of the Right Move Campaign ("For a Bona FIDE"). The team wants to establish an international team competition over the internet. This will allow countries, which suffer from isolated locations, to participate in meaningful international competitions without suffering from mega air transfer and hotel costs.

We invite all chess players in the world to have a look at ChessBase on Saturday March 11th (see transmission times later on).

Rationale

Many countries, areas, cities and clubs all over the world, have to deal with large distances and high travel expenses and are therefore often isolated from International and even national competitions. It is obvious that this is a very big frustration for the development and popularity of our noble game. Also interesting competitions in one’s country or region, will attract sponsors and stimulate the youths for further playing, studying and training.

The Right Move team has a clear plan to solve this by developing Internet competitions with high standards of organisation. The Curaçao-Malta and Curaçao-Utrecht will be the first demonstration matches that are part of this plan.

The program for Saturday March 11 is as follows (times are GST):

14h00- 18h00

Curaçao – Malta (national teams)

8 boards, time control is 60 minutes + 30 sec

18h00- 19h00

SC Janwe, Curaçao – SC Moira Domtoren, Utrecht (Youth teams)

8 boards, time control is 25 minutes + 10 sec

19h00- 20h00

SC Nacho Moron, Curaçao – SC Hot Spirit, Utrecht (Rapid match 1)

8 boards, time control is 25 minutes + 10 sec

20h00-21h00

SC Nacho Moron, Curaçao – SC Hot Spirit, Utrecht (Rapid match 2)

8 boards, time control is 25 minutes + 10 sec

The chess players of Curaçao will be hosted in the Van der Valk Plaza Hotel in the downtown of Willemstad. The national team of Malta will play from the Visitor’s Lounge of Simonds Farsons Cisk plc, Malta’s largest Brewery.

In addition he can count on the support of Scarlet (wireless internet connections) and Citco and Keycomp (both for the hardware). International Arbiter, Alex Roose is setting up a first draft of dedicated rules for these Internet matches and whilst no incidents are expected, Ernst & Young in Curaçao will kindly look after the compliance with these rules during the games whilst Mr. Patrick Mangion, an auditor from Malta, will do the same.

And now something about the participating countries

Curacao

Curacao is the largest island of the Netherlands Antilles. The other four islands are Bonaire, Saint Martin, Saint Eustatia and Saba.

The capital of Curacao is Willemstad. Curacao has about 150,000 inhabitants. The population is a broad mix of all kind of nationalities who live in good harmony together. Papiamento is the native language, but the vast majority of the people are also fluent in Dutch, English and Spanish.

The island is part of the Caribbean and is an attractive location for business, because it is also close to the main land of South America.

The large natural harbor of Willemstad, the daily airline connections with Europe, the United States and neighboring countries make Curacao an important International Gateway. This Gateway function is supported by the strong presence of the financial industry and other professional companies.

In the Tourist Industry Curacao has been mentioned several times as one of the best kept secrets of the Caribbean. For decades, due to the other economic activities, tourism was never seen as a core business.

During the last years this is quickly changing. Most of the major international hotel chains are present now and several large hotel projects are in construction. 


Downtown Willemstad. The high building in the back is the Van der Valk Plaza Hotel.


The Youth of Chess club Janwe (Curacao) will play against Moira Dom toren Utrecht (Netherlands)

Baseball and soccer are the most popular sports on the island. Local hero, and multiple Golden Glove winner, Andrew Jones is one of the top players in the United States. Curacao is also very proud of the youngster team. In 2004 they became Little League World Champion and in 2005 this was followed by a second place.


The pride of the island: The Little League Baseball team

Curacao has an active chess community. Chess teacher Alwin Smith has been running the chess school and club Janwe for more than 25 years. Hundreds of people have learned the rules and skills of the noble game from him. Chess Club Nacho Moron is the other main chess club on the island. Most of the adult players are playing there.


Sofia Polgar and Viktor Korchnoi playing a Blitz game (Curacao 1962-2002 memorial)

Curaçao has been always pretty active with organizing International Chess Tournaments. In addition there are many local tournaments during the year. The local organizers can always count on broad support from our business society and government institutions.

For July the Curacao International Chess Festival is on the calendar. This tournament has become a tradition for many chess players from United States, Surinam, Venezuela, Aruba, Barbados, the Netherlands, Germany, Israel, the Netherlands Antilles and other countries.

Most of these players consider this Chess Festival as their favorite tournament, because they can combine their profession and/or hobby with Caribbean holiday activities and enjoy the hospitality of our island. Chess players who are interested to try this one should visit website www.curacaochess.net 

Malta

Located in the Mediterranean Sea, just south of Sicily, the Maltese archipelago basically consists of three islands: Malta, Gozo and Comino. Their total population in 2003 was 399,867.

The largest island of the group is Malta, from which the archipelago takes its name. In 2003, it had a population of just over 388,867. Valletta, the capital, is the cultural, administrative and commercial centre of the archipelago. Malta is well served with harbours, chief of which is the Valletta Grand Harbour. Malta's international airport is situated five kilometres from the capital.

The second largest island, Gozo is topographically quite different from Malta. Quaintly attractive for its less industrialised way of life, Gozo can be reached from Malta by ferry-boat from Cirkewwa and Pieta, near Valletta, and by helicopter from the airport.

One of the first things to strike you will be the Islands’ cultural and historical riches. The Maltese Islands have been described as one big open-air museum. Every town, village and stretch of countryside offers a glimpse of the past. Situated at the heart of the Mediterranean, the Islands have been a crossroads for ancient and modern seafarers for millennia, which means a vast number of cultures have left their mark.

The Islands have provided a home, stronghold, trading post and refuge over 7000 years to numerous cultures. First were the temple-building people who sailed from Sicily in around 5000 BC, then came the Phoenicians followed by the Carthaginians, Romans, Arabs, Normans, the Order of the Knights of St John, the French and British.

The distance between Malta and the nearest point in Sicily is 93 km. The distance from the nearest point on the North African mainland (Tunisia) is 288 km. Gibraltar is 1,826 km to the west and Alexandria is 1,510 km to the east. This strategic position has allowed Malta to develop as an important trading post. The Malta Freeport is one of the Mediterranean's leading ports for container transhipments. Area of the Maltese Islands: 316 square km.

Physical Features: Malta has no mountains or rivers. A series of low hills with terraced fields on the slopes characterise the Island.The coastline of Malta is well indented, thus providing numerous harbours, bays, creeks, sandy beaches and rocky coves. The length of the shoreline round Malta is 136 km, and 43 km round Gozo.

Climate: It is the climate, more than anything else, that has made Malta an important tourist resort in the centre of the Mediterranean. The average winter temperature is 12oC (54oF.) There are really only two seasons in Malta: the dry summer season, and the mild winter season. The average rainfall is 558.2 mm (22 ins). Rain rarely, if ever, falls during the summer months.

What makes Malta unique is that so much of this rich past is clearly visible today. The Islands have an astonishing number of World Heritage Sites for their size: the numerous prehistoric temples, the Hypogeum: a labyrinthine, prehistoric underground chamber probably used for burial and ritual, and Valletta, the Baroque capital founded by the Knights of St John. Other important sites include Malta’s medieval capital Mdina, the fortified Citadel in Gozo, and the extensive fortifications surrounding Valletta.

The Islands’ temples are the world’s oldest standing monuments, but the reason for their existence, how they were built and the rituals and lives of their builders remain shrouded in mystery.

Utrecht

Utrecht is the fourth largest city of the Netherlands, with a population over 0.25 million. Utrecht’s central location in the Netherlands makes it an attractive city to live in and a favorite enterprise location.

The city has a rich history that goes back to the beginning of our calendar. The old inner-city, with its canals and cellars by the wharves, ancient churches, and of course the Dom tower, give the city a distinctive character.

The University of Utrecht is the largest in the Netherlands. More than 60,000 students are enrolled in higher education in Utrecht. As such, the composition of its population is rather young and Utrecht has the highest educated labor force in the Netherlands. Utrecht is hosting many chess clubs and has also some chess cafés.

Pascal Boittin is looking after the Utrecht part of the event. The players from the Dutch city will play their matches in an Internet Café. The chess club Moira Dom toren, with the famous Dom Toren in its name and logo, has the largest number of youth members and is very active in training and studying chess.

Pascal Boittin is the organizer of the Hot Spirit tournament. This Blitz tournament (website: www.hotspirit.nl) is held on a monthly basis. The Hot Spirit team, that is playing SC Nacho Moron on March 11th, is a selection of players who have frequently played this tournament.

Chess organizer Ger Jan Meijer (Curaçao) is an advisor of the Right Move Campaign and he has taken the first initiatives for setting up these matches.

Duncan Vella is organizing the Maltese part of the match. He is the Vice President of the Malta Chess Federation and has played in a number of Olympiads representing his country.



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