Fire on Board Trophy – you can win an invitation!

by ChessBase
6/10/2005 – On June 25-26 two of the most aggressive players of our time, Alexei Shirov and Viktor Kortchnoi, will cross swords in four 90-minute games in Eschweiler, Germany. You can buy special attendance packages for €450 – or you can win them (including travel expenses) in this weekend's special Playchess Warm-up Blitz.

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From Friday, June 24th until Sunday, June 26th 2005, there is an interesting tournament in Eschweiler, Germany. The motto is Fire on Board and it features two very uncompromising players: Alexei Shirov and Viktor Kortchnoi. Two weeks before the event there will be two warm-up blitz tournaments on the server.

Incidentally, when you visit the English language Fire on Board site you are greeted by a big Flash film, which has a "Skip Intro" option at the bottom. Do not make use of this, since otherwise you will miss a nice animated game (Shirov vs Kortchnoi, Drammen 2004) and – the talking chicken. The site itself is very informative and provides a wealth of information, clearly striving to fulfill the organisers' adage: "A new Dimension in LIVE Broadcasting".

The event

The Location is the Best Western Hotel de Ville in Eschweiler, which is close to the German city of Aachen (near Belgium and the Netherlands). The modern Business Class hotel is offering "Fire on Board Trophy 2005' Weekend Specials" for a stay from Friday to Sunday (June 24 to 26) for €450, or €650 for a double. This includes buffet dinners, private lessons with Kortchnoi and Shirov, attendance at the match with live commentary by GM Danny King, and other festive events. For full information click "Hotel & Tickets" on the right of the Fire on Board page – we haven't figured out how to link directly to sub-pages in this Flash-driven site.

The Match

Alexei Shirov

Viktor ("the Terrible") Kortchnoi

The fighting grandmasters Alexei Shirov and Viktor Kortchnoi will play four games, with 90 minutes for all their moves. The program is as follows:

  • Friday, 24 June 2005
    • 6 pm: Opening of the Chess in Art exhibition
    • 7 pm: Chess Simul featuring Shirov & Kortchnoi
  • Saturday, 25 June 2005
    • 11 am: Private Lesson with Kortchnoi
    • High noon: Private Lesson with Shirov
    • 2 pm: 1st match game
    • 6 pm: 2nd match game
  • Sunday, 26 June 2005
    • 11 am: Private Lesson with Kortchnoi
    • High noon: Private Lesson with Shirov
    • 2 pm: 3rd match game
    • 6 pm: 4th match game
    • 9 pm: Victory Presentation & Gala-Dinner & Musical CHESS

Live coverage

There is pay-per-view live coverage with audio (€14.99) and Internet TV (€24.99) which can be booked in advance. The Internet TV coverage includes post-match interviews (moderated by GM Danny King), the lessons by Shirov and Kortchnoi, as well as highlights from the Musical "Chess". There are also a number of competitions and a "Chess in Art" presentation.

Letters from Shirov and Kortchnoi

Dear Chess fans,

Of course, it is a big pleasure to greet you in the eve of my match against one of the most unique personalities in chess history. I remember when I first time played against Victor Lvovich in Torcy in 1990; it was kind of ‘young and green’ player against the experienced veteran. Now, fifteen years after, the definition ‘experienced veteran’ can be easily applied for myself while my opponent is not only ‘forever young’ and ‘evergreen’ but also an extremely promising and unpredictable player taking into account his recent successes in rapid chess!

In my latest book ‘Fire on Board 2’ (by the way, the German version will shortly be available too) I called my biography chapter ‘The struggle without limits’ and I think that Victor Kortchnoi’s example, his lifetime devotion to chess, is the best inspiration for such an attitude. Whatever will be the outcome of our mini-match, I will definitely learn something new with this experience.

And I hope not to disappoint my fans either.

Alexei Shirov
Riga, 3rd of June 2005

To my fans:

Hi, do you play chess? What kind – blitz, speed, normal? Well, it is our ancient, thoughtful game of chess, known for several thousand years as the Game of Kings, in the 20th Century underwent changes in the manner of playing and acquired diversity of forms.

Presumably, "speed chess" was introduced due to the drastically increased number of players all over the world. All of them want to take part at chess events, So any competition should not last too long. Perhaps the true craftsmanship of players will be suitably demonstrated by speed chess. But on the other hand people say the play is more attractive for spectators. Hopefully...

Well, the forthcoming match between me and Alexei Shirov will be played within the framework and according to rules of the speed chess. A Spanish citizen, Shirov is a great expert of this kind of play. In the speed chess tournaments of the highest rank, regularly organized by J. van Oosterom in Monaco, Shirov is always among the winners. He is also the favorite in our match. However, the underdog – me – is capable of snarling and biting. In April of this year I won a speed tournament in Israel, a 14th category event, with 10.5 out of 13, which was 2.5 points ahead of my pursuers. So, let us just wait and see what will happen...

Viktor Kortchnoi

Warm-up Blitz on Playchess

Two weeks before the event starts, namely on Saturday, June 11th and Sunday, June 12th 2005, the organisers, Best Western Hotel De Ville in Eschweiler, are sponsoring two blitz tournaments on the server. The first prize in both tournaments is a free trip to the event, including accomodations. Travel costs are also covered, no matter where you start your journey. And there are a lot of additional prizes to win.

Who can play

In order to participate in the Playchess Blitz events you must have a valid account on the Playchess server. Further you must give your proper name and current address in the User Info (press F2 after you have logged in to modify). Otherwise you will not be eligible to win the prizes – these are reserved for proper human beings, not anonymous handles on the server.


  • Saturday, 11th June, 2005, 15:00h server time (CEST)
    10 x 10 Tournament
    • 10 rounds Swiss, time controls 10+0.
    • Location Playchess: "Tournaments – Official A"
    • To take part you need to have the rank of knight
  • Sunday, 12th June, 2005, 15:00h server time (CEST)
    Fire On Board – Blitz-tournament
    • 13 rounds swiss, time controls 5+0.
    • Location Playchess: "Tournaments – Official B"
    • To take part you need to have the rank of pawn.

Prizes (same for both tournaments):

  • Winner: Round trip to the "Fire On Board" event with full participation, including simultaneous event, private teaching, gala dinner and a visit of the musical Chess. Travel expenses and accomodations are covered by the Best Western Hotel De Ville.

  • Places two to four: An "event package" each containing a print of a painting by Tschinkel, five books by Shirov and Kortchnoi (signed) and two DVDs by Kortchnoi (signed).

  • Places five to eight: Two DVDs by Kortchnoi

  • Special prizes: There are three more "event packages" and two more sets of DVDs. How these prizes will be distributed will be announced after the first two rounds of the tournament.

  • Tournament director: Saturday, Gaby Assmann, Sunday, Holger Lieske

  • Registration: On both days registration is possible from 14:30h server-time (CEST) by registering at the tournament director.

  • Rules: The general Playchess server rules for tournaments apply.

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