Faces and friends in Moscow

by ChessBase
2/17/2003 – In round four there were lots of draws. It's obvious that the Aeroflot Open has reached cruising altitude. Time to change the angle of view, at least in a photographic sense. Here is Eugeny Atarov's illustrated report.

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Aeroflot Open Moscow 2003

February 10 to 20, 2003

Official tournament page Mirror
Chess Express 64

Changing the angle of view

By Eugeny Atarov

Let us remember that a big open tournament like this is a great opportunity for old friends to meet, after they haven't see each other for years. It is also a great chance to meet new friends. In one word, life is booming at this tournament! This is a fascinating journey, where the distance from the beginning to the end is measured by games, not miles. So, let us enjoy this journey together.

The first picture shows the entrance to the Golden Reception Room of the hotel Rossija. Here is where the numerous spectators and journalists begin to watch the tournament. Two entrance doors, a clock-room, a small lobby – and after only one minute you are already in the magnificent playing hall.

The oldest participant versus the youngest. 77-year old Ratmir Kholmov couldn't beat the 13-year old Yasha Nepomniaschiy. The spectators are enthusiastically watching the game, which was very exciting.

Ernesto Inarkiev is a very promising young player from Elista. He moved there a few years ago and now he seems very happy to wear his yellow shirt with the Kalmykian symbol, a white lotus, at every tournament.

Semen Dvoiris shows his famous bald spot with which all his opponents are very familiar. When Semen is concentrating in his position, this bald spot is all his opponents can see in front of them!

Looks familiar, doesn't it? This time it's Vassily Emelin who presented his new hairstyle to public at the Russian national championship in Krasnodar in August last year. And for half year since then it helps him create his image… of a chess Phantom!

This young man from Costa-Rica never takes off his cap. Alejandro Ramires is known in the chess world by his great achievement at the Olympiad in Bled: he almost beat none else but Morozevich. The boy is young and talented, and he's looking for the original ways to make people notice him.

Alisa Galliamova's name has already got a prominent place in the chess history. Now she is trying to find her place in the "social" world. Since recently she started taking more care of the religious side of her life: she observes the Muslim rules, wears long dresses, covers her head from men's prying eyes with a shawl (and changes it's color every day). But when she is deeply concentrating on the game, it's sometimes hard to control the unruly locks.

Alik Gershon from Israel is not a movie star, but he likes to liven up his hair style. Unfortunately the golden locks haven't brought him any golden medals yet...

If you meet the French giant Igor-Alexander Nataf face-to-face, you would never guess that he wears this funny pigtail.

Bu Xianci tries to scare his opponents with his look, but despite the fact that his games are full of tactical complications, he rarely gets a chance to go into offensive, and has to defend his positions most of the time. So it remains to be seen how soon he'll be able to act as aggressive as he looks.

The postmortem. When the game is finished and all the fears are in the past, one can finally light up the cigarette and to go into deep analysis of the position. The French player Jean-Luc Chebanon was analyzing his game against Adianto and did not notice when his cigarette was about to burn his hand. The ashes kept falling on his shoulder!

During the first three rounds nobody thought of fencing the principal tables off. Only at the fourth round a thin rope was put between the selected players and "the rest of the world". Security guards protected the special zone. You must be wondering what Grischuk and Yakovenko are doing at the first table. It's very simple: after the first six tables got empty, these two players were moved further from the crowd, which grew bigger and bigger every day. The organizers even asked the players to leave the hall right after they finish their games because it was getting far too noisy.

The lunch-break in the press center. At 6 p.m. the hungry journalists are served hot drinks and sandwiches. The "tea ceremony" takes just a few minutes, which is enough to finish eating and drinking everything that is served!

On your knees in front of the tournament table! The interest to the tournament is so high that the fans are ready to get to their knees to be able to write down the results from the table to the note-book. When was the last time you saw this?

One of the most famous "tourists" at the Aeroflot tournament – Genna Sosonko. The grandmaster and a popular chess writer is in Moscow "on a tour": he's visiting friends, he goes to theaters and in his free time he is commenting the Aeroflot games. Genna and two former deputy chief editors of "Chess in Russia" magazine, Dmitry Plissetsky and Sergei Voronkov, are in a great mood!

Chess talents and their fans. There are always many girls in the playing hall, they come to support their husbands and friends. And the men are trying to do their best. Look at Igor Khenkin's results: could he be that successful if not for his Olga?

Text and photos: Eugeny Atarov ("64")
Mail: info@joeblack.ru

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