Fasten your seat belts, the Aeroflot open has begun

by ChessBase
2/12/2003 – A total of 481 players from 38 nations has descended on Moscow to play in the yearly Aeroflot Open. Everything is being conducted in the style of a commercial airline flight, with "pilots", "navigators" and "flight personnel" running the show. The organisers have also though up a unique method of publishing the games: they provide scans of the original gamescores. More

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Aeroflot Open Moscow 2003

February 10 to 20, 2003

Official tournament page – Mirror
Chess Express 64

The Aeroflot Open International Chess Festival has started in Moscow, with 481 participants from 38 countries. There are three groups:

  • The A group has 201 players, including 143 grandmasters, with ratings of 2400 or higher. The winner of that group will get $25,000 and a place in the July elite tournament in Dortmund, Germany. Other prizes: $15,000, $10,000, 2 x $5000, 3 x $3000, 5 x $2000, 7 x $1000, 5 x $800, 5 x $600, 6 x $500 (total 36 prizes). This group is very strong, with the top seeds being Alexander Grischuk and Peter Svidler. Here's the full list of participants.

  • Group B has 170 players, with ratings down to 2150. The winner receives $6,000, other prizes are $4000, $2500, $2000, $1500, 5 x $1000, 5 x $700, 5 x $500, 5 x $400, 10 x $300 (total 35 prizes).

  • Group C is open to anyone with a FIDE rating lower than 2201. Prizes: $3000, $1500, $1200, $1000, $800, 5 x $500, 5 x $400, 10 x $300, 10 x $200 (total 35 prizes).

The tournaments last from February 10 to 20. The first day of play is the 11th, the last (ninth) round is on the 19th. The games begin at 15:00h local time, on the last day at 10 a.m. The venue is the Hotel Rossija, which has 2876 rooms and is considered the largest hotel in the world. It is only 200 meters from the Kremlin.

The openings ceremony (picture above) began with a parade of the members of the organisation team on the stage of the main reception hall of the Rossija.

It was amusing to see so many respectable persons dressed in the uniforms of the airline personnel. They were all introduced with the ranks of the an airlind crew: the captain, radio officer, navigator, etc.

The "pilots" of the Aeroflot-Opens: Roshal, Bakh and Zurabov.

The "flight attendents" ready to help with the banquet

Svetlana Matveeva and Alisa Galliamova, the two Russian primadonnas. The latter has not played a game in the previous Aeroflot open a year ago.

Rafael Vaganjan (left) and Boris Spassky (right)

Alexander Grischuk selects the colours for round one. Abiter is Geurt Gijssen

At the time of writing (Wed. Feb. 12) no game files were available on the official web site, at least none that would be machine-readable. However it is not as if games are not being published at all.

This is the unique publication form that the Aeroflot organisation has decided to adopt: scans of the original gamescores. An interesting task to OCR these documents, one that we have not been able to undertake. Let us hope that the organisers will in addition provied the PGN files that they have announced.

Eugeny Atarov ("64")

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