Kramnik and Blancpain in Moscow

by ChessBase
11/29/2005 – Vladimir Kramnik is a promoter of Blancpain, manufacturer of high-quality mechanical watches. One contains an engraved image of Kramnik on its winding rotor. It was handed over to Kramnik in a ceremony on November 24, after which the classical chess world champion played a simultaneous exhibition against 30 collectors.

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From a Blancpain press release

Blancpain celebrated Vladimir Kramnik’s outstanding sports achievements by creating a unique timepiece that Marc A. Hayek, president of Blancpain, handed to the chess genius during the press conference which took place in the afternoon of November 24.

The world champion was given the Time Zone watch from the classic Villeret collection. The hand-assembled movement is housed in the 18-karat white gold case. Thanks to the simultaneous indication of ‘home’ and ‘local’ time zones the piece is an ideal companion for a traveler. Its 254-part automatic movement has 100-hour power reserve capacity, and the back lid made of sapphire glass demonstrates the magnificent hand finish of the movement. Vladimir Kramnik's portrait hand engraved on the winding rotor underlines the model’s exclusivity.

When asked about possible tournament results, Blancpain president Marc A. Hayek said: “Obviously, we will award the winner, if there is any who can win the game from the world champion. But I don’t think it’s possible”.

Vladimir Kramnik at work. The youngest participant, shown in the picture above, was Nikita Demarky, age six, grandson of the famous Russian sports anchor Naum Demarky. Kramnik gave the kid a draw.

The head of the oldest watch making company was right: it was impossible to beat the current world chess king. Only six out of 31 games played on the night of November 24 were draws. The draw count was opened by journalist Maria Fominykh and closed by Lord Justin Portman, husband of model Natalia Vodianova (picture left), and, as it turned out, a quite gifted chess player.

The famous model supported her man in the company of her little son, following the game keenly for two hours. Justin Portman was the only opponent of Vladimir Kramnik that played with white pieces. The champion valued his chess mastership high: the last game in the tournament was called draw on the Kramnik’s initiative.

The final game: Vladimir Kramnik vs Lord Justin Portman

The other participants were Golomb Michael, Rubin Ilan, Aivazian Nikita, Bazilev Sergei, Bergerin Mikhail, Budai Elizaveta, Budberg Alexander, Genarov Andrei, Gnatiuk Dmitriy, Gusakov Ivan, Gusakov Pyotr, Zhukov Alexander, Ivonin Victor, Kasimski Kirill, Korshunov Pavel, Linshits Pavel, Luganski Nikolai, Lukianenko Evgeniy, Martirosian Dmitriy, Petergova Ksenia, Remchukov Konstantin, Sorkin Alexander, Tamarina Sonia, Tarasov Dmitriy, Fridland Leonid, Khodasevich Sergei, Chernyshov Andrey, Shalin Kirill, Scherbovich Ilia.

Another simul opponent was Kramnik's friend Nikolai Lugansky, an internationally renowned pianist.

All participants were given commemorative pictures signed by Vladimir Kramnik. Those who didn’t dare to play with the 30-years-old chess genius but enjoyed witnessing the tournament included: Maria Golubkina, Anna Gorshkova, Elena Zakharova, Marianna Maksimovskaya, Nikas Safronov, Natalia Selezneva, Andrey Sokolov, Anna Terekhova, Vlad Topalov, Vyacheslav Kulakov, Yana Poplavskaya and husband, Julia Dalakian, Evelina Bleudance, Uliana Tseitlina, Iosif Bakshtein, Ella Shashkova, Vitaliy Alshansky, Sergei Gorobchenko, Vadim Andreev, Alla Ruga, Elena Kozyreva and many others.

13.11.2005 – The self-winding Vladimir Kramnik watch

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