Dannemann: A bungy jump in Brissago

by ChessBase
9/30/2004 – Not by the players, by secret agent James Bond, who took the plunge in the spectacularly beautiful landscape around the world championship site. In the match itself game four ended in a hard-fought 43-move draw, after Peter Leko pressed for a win and almost lost to title defender Vladimir Kramnik. Now with a full video report.

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Game four, a hard-fought draw

Game four of the Classical World Chess Championship ended in a draw after 43 moves. Unlike the previous two games it was hard-fought, with challenger Peter Leko pushing for a speculative advantage with the black pieces and then almost losing the game. In the end Vladimir Kramnik was unable to cash in on the extra pawn in the rook ending and had to concede a draw. Analysis of the game will follow.

Kramnik playing 1.e4 and reacting to 1...e5 and to 4...Nf6

A grimly determined Peter Leko spoiling for a fight

Kramnik's scoresheet at the start of game four

Kramnik,V (2770) - Leko,P (2741) [C88]
WCh Brissago SUI (4), 30.09.2004
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0-0 8.h3 Bb7 9.d3 d6 10.a3 Nd7 11.Nc3 Nd4 12.Ba2 Nxf3+ 13.Qxf3 Bg5 14.Bxg5 Qxg5 15.Nd5 c6 16.Ne3 g6 17.Rad1 Rad8 18.c3 c5 19.Bd5 Bc8 20.b4 Nb6 21.c4 Nxd5 22.Nxd5 Be6 23.bxc5 dxc5 24.Rb1 Rb8 25.cxb5 Bxd5 26.exd5 axb5 27.d6 b4 28.a4 Rfd8 29.Qd5 Qf6 30.Qxc5 Qxd6 31.Qxd6 Rxd6 32.Rxe5 b3 33.Rb5 Ra8 34.R1xb3 Rxa4 35.Rb6 Rd7 36.Rf6 Ra1+ 37.Kh2 Rd1 38.Rf3 h5 39.h4 Rd2 40.g3 Kg7 41.Kg2 Rd1 42.Re3 Kh7 43.Kf3 Rd2 ½-½.

The two players do a quick post-mortem backstage after the game

The press conference after the game explaining the game to a world-wide audience

The press conference after each game is carried live on the official web site and on Playchess.com

Trip to the Verzasca Valley

On the free days between games – and in fact on the mornings of some of the match days – the tourist department of the Swiss Canton of Tessin takes us journalists on excursions, to show us the beauty of this extraordinary corner of the world. On Wednesday a mini-bus with an eloquent multi-lingual guide picked us up to take us to Valle Verzasca, the famous Verzasca Valley. It has been carved through the mountains by a stream that feeds into the Lago Maggiore, the "Long Lake" that is the dominant feature of this region. On the trip were also the two match commentators, GM Helmut Pfleger and GM Artur Jussupow.

The first stop is the famous Verzasca Dam, which was built in 1965 and is the highest in Europe. The sheer vertical drop of 220 meters affords a spectacular view of the Valle Verzasca and the Lake Vogorno, which has been created by the dam.

The incredible Vogorno Dam in the Verzasca Valley

Match commentator Helmut Pfleger reacting to the height of the structure

People – GMs and ordinary mortals – tend to become philosophical in a place like this. You have a very vivid feeling for the concept of gravity, and understand how deeply nature abhors heights. Every fibre of your soul, every cell in your body tells you to stand back, don't go near the edge, definitely don't lean over. Whatever you do, don't lean over. Don't.

Match commentator Artur Jussupow leaning over.

The Vogorno Dam was made world-famous by the film GoldenEye. In the opening sequence James Bond bungy-jumps down a dam somewhere in the Soviet Union. As he reaches the end of his bungy cord he fires a piton into a concrete blockhouse, which is the access point to the Arkangel Chemical Weapons Facility. This prevents him from jumping back up. He enters the Facility upside down into a toilet where a Russian guard is reading a newspaper. After that, as usual, all mayhem breaks loose.

Pierce Brosnan (or a stunt double) did not do the spectacular GoldenEye jump in Russia, but here at the Vogorno Dam in the Verzasca Valley. If you are brave enough you can try it yourself, and plunge 220 m (722 feet) down the side of the dam. The price for a first jump is SFr 255, and SFr 125 for people who have the nerves and stomach for a second jump on the same day. Artur Jussupow said he considered the price quite fair, considering the mess – blood and gore – they have to clean up after the jump.

The bungy jump machine, where you can risk your life and mental health at $300 a pop

Lavertezzo, 536 m above sea level, is a small village halfway up the Valle Verzasca. It's most famous feature is a stone bridge, the Ponte dei Salti (actually "bridge of the jumps"), which was built in the 17th century. From the bridge you look down on the smooth rocks and stones, polished by the turquoise-coloured water.

The famous stone bridge, Ponte dei Salti, in Valle Verzasca

The scenery is idyllic in a way that redefines the term idyllic

Green-blue water so clear it seems ethereal, never obstructing your view to the bottom of the brook

Knee-deep water in which you can see every stone and pebble as if it was on dry land

A grandmaster and friend scaling the rocky walls of the riverbed

At the end of the road through Valle Verzasca we reach the charming hamlet of Sonogno

Artur Jussupow in front of a house built entirely of granite

Even the roofs are "thatched" with granite slabs – many tons of them

Life in Valle Verzasca, where beauty is the main natural resource

Lunchtime in a granite restaurante on a granite table with a granite vase. The food and the Swiss draught beer were all the regular organic stuff.

On the way back a bunch of treckers wave at us. Should we have stopped and attempted a rescue?

Back in Ascona, where we, and incidentally the two players, reside

Brissago on the bank of the Lago Maggiore (right), with dusk already breaking over the lake, the mountains and that beauty spot on the lake, the Brissago Islands

"So, tomorrow's a rest day," said Artur Jussupow, who always has a rich supply of finely crafted witticisms. "No, Artur, tomorrow is game four!" we protest, walking straight into the trap. "Yes," he replies, "that's what I said. Tomorrow is a rest day." Well, not quite. As it turns out the game was very hard-fought and almost ended in a second win for Kramnik.

Pictures and report by Frederic Friedel

Contacts and further information

Rolf Behovits
Press Officer World Chess Championship
Via Ruggero Leoncavallo
CH-6614 Brissago


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