Gibtel Masters – live video and three hours of Spassky

by ChessBase
1/30/2010 – The Chess Festival in Gibraltar has set up an innovative broadcast suite called Archie, costing £100,000, which provides live audio and video streaming from the playing venue. The host is GM Stuart Conquest, who yesterday invited the guest of honour Boris Spassky to join him "for a few minutes". This turned into nearly three hours! Here are links and the solution to our Tannhäuser puzzle.

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Boris Spassky Steals The Show

By John Saunders

The Gibtelecom Chess Festival has always been at the forefront of new technology and this year is no different. As many of you covering the event will have seen the Masters tournament is being transmitted live on the internet daily as from 3 pm (Gibraltar time). Grandmaster Stuart Conquest delivers his commentary, and is joined by a number of guests during the time of play.

The live-streaming in this new broadcasting suite known as the Archie Suite captures play in the main Conference Hall where the competition is happening. It has meant new cabling infrastructure within the hotel, including Structured and Fibre cabling to increase the reach and quality of service for the chess team at the hotel. A Camera Dome in the middle of the Chess Playing Hall allows for better viewing of games. The Video and Audio Streaming of the live commentary has this year been off loaded to a specialized online system, which has greatly improved its quality, picture-in-picture features and reachability to all chess viewers. The broadcasting facility has seen an investment of £100,000 from the Caleta Hotel in conjunction with engineers from Gibtelecom.

GM Stuart Conquest behind his desk in the Archie Suite

Round four

There was some great round four action here at the 2010 Gibtelecom Chess Festival, but the show was stolen by a legend of chess, Boris Spassky. Around 1½ hours into the round, Boris strolled into the commentary room to watch the play with GM Stuart Conquest and his audience (both physical and virtual, of course). Stuart invited him to sit beside him and chat "for a few minutes". This turned into nearly three hours! Within a few minutes we had the camera on Boris and it didn't leave him for the full duration of his stay in the commentary room. And the really, really good news, readers, is that you can enjoy every minute of this video as, thanks to some great new facilities provided by Gibtelecom, it has been stored for posterity and can be watched online right here.

Top standings after four rounds

# Player Pts Nat. Gen Rtng Perf W-We
1 GM Bacrot, Etienne 3.5 FRA
2713 2764 +0.17
2 GM Adams, Michael 3.5 ENG
2694 2849 +0.63
3 GM Fressinet, Laurent 3.5 FRA
2670 2834 +0.67
4 GM Fridman, Daniel 3.5 GER
2654 2790 +0.51
5 GM Gustafsson, Jan 3.5 GER
2627 2829 +0.85
6 GM Sandipan, Chanda 3.5 IND
2622 2780 +0.60
7 GM Koneru, Humpy 3.5 IND
2614 2741 +0.47
8 GM Edouard, Romain 3.5 FRA
2608 2766 +0.60
9 GM Felgaer, Ruben 3.5 ARG
2591 2647 +0.21
10 GM Geetha Narayanan Gopal 3.5 IND
2584 2737 +0.57
11 GM Movsesian, Sergei 3.0 SVK
2708 2640 -0.26
12 GM Vallejo Pons, Francisco 3.0 ESP
2705 2694 +0.00
13 GM Kamsky, Gata 3.0 USA
2693 2658 -0.11
14 GM Istratescu, Andrei 3.0 ROU
2607 2507 -0.36
15 GM Lopez Martinez, Josep 3.0 ESP
2593 2510 -0.28
16 GM Halkias, Stelios 3.0 GRE
2566 2603 +0.26
17 IM Lenderman, Alex 3.0 USA
2560 2468 -0.33
18 GM Lemos, Damian 3.0 ARG
2556 2516 -0.12
19 GM Maze, Sebastien 3.0 FRA
2554 2960 +0.25
20 GM Malakhatko, Vadim 3.0 BEL
2549 2574 +0.15
21 GM Cramling, Pia 3.0 SWE
2528 2568 +0.30
22 GM Naumann, Alexander 3.0 GER
2525 2544 +0.20
23 GM Speelman, Jon S 3.0 ENG
2525 2428 -0.38
24 GM Guliyev, Namig 3.0 AZE
2516 2396 -0.44
25 GM Dzagnidze, Nana 3.0 GEO
2506 2524 +0.17
26 IM Shankland, Samuel L 3.0 USA
2491 2578 +0.42
27 GM Carlsson, Pontus 3.0 SWE
2476 2511 +0.27
28 IM Harika, Dronavalli 3.0 IND
2471 2505 +0.26
29 IM Zatonskih, Anna 3.0 USA
2466 2491 +0.21
30 WGM Zhukova, Natalia 3.0 UKR
2462 2607 +0.78
31 IM Krush, Irina 3.0 USA
2455 2469 +0.17
32 GM Bellon Lopez, Juan Manuel 3.0 ESP
2440 2476 +0.25
33 IM Hirneise, Tobias 3.0 GER
2421 2676 +1.34
34 Battaglini, Gabriel 3.0 FRA
2411 2605 +0.99
35 IM Sarkar, Justin 3.0 USA
2378 2333 -0.18
36 IM Saravanan, V. 3.0 IND
2356 2383 +0.24
37 IM Sedina, Elena 3.0 ITA
2335 2366 +0.26
38 IM Zozulia, Anna 3.0 BEL
2321 2375 +0.33
39 Kantans, Toms 3.0 LAT
2303 2235 -0.25
40 Dasaolu, Adeoye 3.0 ENG
2068 2420 +1.73

Chess and the Opera

You may remember our first Gibtelecom Festival report, in which Norwegian GM Simen Agdestein had cancelled his participation because he had to take part in Wagner's opera Tannhäuser (we wish we had a dollar for every time we heard that excuse!). Agdestein doesn't actually have a singing role, and we added a trivia question for our readers: The children of which strong, active grandmaster actually sing in Tannhäuser?

It does not come as a surprise that only one reader was able to answer this question correctly: it was Michalis Kaloumenos of Athens, Greece, and the reason he knew the answer was that his son Perikles sang in the same opera alongside the son of the grandmaster.

Perikles Kaloumenos and Nicholas Short in full costume for Tannhäuser

So the correct answer is Nigel Short. His children Nicholas and Kyveli are members of the Children's Choir 'Rosarte', which in early 2009 took part in performances of Richard Wagner's Tannhäuser. As Kyveli tells us: "It was a production by the San Francisco Opera, directed by Graham Vick and the musical director was Philippe Auguin. The adult choir as well as the corps de ballet were from Greece's National Opera. The performances took place in the Athens Concert Hall."

Ready for Tannhäuser: Kyveli Aliki and Nicholas Darwin Short

Kyveli continues: "Rosarte is directed by the inspirational Rosie Mastrosavva who had, a year before, won a Gold Medal at the 2008 World Choir Games in Graz, Austria, with the Children's Choir of the City of Athens, many of whose members are also members of Rosarte. Rosarte Children's Choir has also taken part in Greece's National Opera's production of Ruggero Leoncavallo's 'Pagliacci'. The members are from 10 to 19 years old and the choir's reportoire ranges from pre-Classical vocal music to contemporary Broadway songs. There is a Fan Page on Facebook where one can find Youtube videos of some of our performances, but sadly not from Tannhäuser due to copyright reasons. Also, a quick search on YouTube will come up with videos from some of our performances."

Michalis Kaloumenos did send us a video of the choral of the young pilgrims at the end of Act II, which is sung backstage. This is not a rehearsal, this is an actual performance.

The choir is singing the German lyrics of Tannhäuser:

[Am hohen Fest der] Gnad und Huld
in Demut büß ich meine Schuld,
gesegnet, wer im Glauben treu!
Er wird erlöst durch Buß und Reu.

"Look how concentrated the children are, writes Michalis. "They are aware that their song is being heard on the other side of the stage, in the auditorium. Their eyes are fixed on the conductor's hands, and she (Rosie Mastrosava) keeps an eye on the main conductor (Philippe Auguin) whom she can see on the big monitor to her left. When their singing is over the children are very happy for having done their job right and they hug each other while trying to stay silent. As the orchestra finishes Act II and Tannhäuser follows his destiny: Nach Rome!"

Scene from the San Francisco Opera production of Tannhäuser in Greece's National Opera


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