The crowd in the VIP area

by Maxim Dlugy
11/24/2016 – Really into it - VIP-Lounge Inside Report, Part III: Maxim Dlugy our man in New York, runs into a cluster of grandmasters, melts into the crowd and wonders what happened to the food the VIPs could enjoy during the first half of the match. Of course, he also follows game nine and ends up enjoying Judit's company in the broadcast room. Back in the crowd he sees Lawrence Trent offering outrageous odds. Check the temperature...

ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024 ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024

It is the program of choice for anyone who loves the game and wants to know more about it. Start your personal success story with ChessBase and enjoy the game even more.


Behind the scenes: What happened during game No. 9

What a day! I managed to arrive before the game started to find Ian Nepomniachtchi who was slated to play allcomers in an ongoing 3 board simul starting at 2:30 pm. I decided to give him a warm-up and foolishly offered him to play bullet, where he surprised me with uncommon speed enough so that after four losses in a row I called it quits. Three five minute games followed, where I managed to squeeze out a draw from a lost endgame and decided I should take a break from chess to see what’s going, especially as the players already started performing a well-known line in the Arkhangelsk variation of the Ruy Lopez.

Running into a cluster of grandmasters

I came out of the VIP area after taking some photos to check out a student who flew in from North Carolina with his parents to see the games. After setting him up to play Christopher Yoo, the youngest master in U.S history, who beat the previous record by a mere two days, I ran into a nice cluster of grandmasters, Robert Hess, Alejandro Ramirez, Mark Arnold. I gave them my flyers inviting them to play in the blitz tournaments at my club and went back to the VIP room to get some color.

Larry and Max

Ridiculous odds with Larry

Lawrence Trent was there, promising me another chance to go at Fabiano when he arrives. This time he offered me what seemed to be ridiculous odds of 3 minutes to 2. I was happy to see Larry was willing to lose some more money and agreed.

All you can eat

The place for those thirsting Beluga Lichee Martinis

The place for those thirsting Beluga Lichee Martinis

As I wandered back and forth between the VIP room, I noticed that the feeding frenzy so nicely organized in the first half of the match demonstrably subsided to leave some VIPs that actually forked over 600$ for the tickets wonder if Beluga vodka was all there was to "eat". 

Anna Burtasova commented that there was a strategic place where you had to be to intercept all the food, and people in the know first stand there and gobble everything up and only then move over to the bar area to water it down with vodka cocktails. I decided such a combination was too difficult and stepped out to the general area where I ran into Igor Glek, a notable chess coach and a former top 10 player in the world. As I invited him to play in my blitzes, Andrei Filatov, Russian Federation's Numero Uno was giving an interview to a correspondent. He told him something so interesting that I feel I must to report it here. He said that the World Champions title conferred on Steinitz in 1886, was the first time the title of World Champion IN ANYTHING was actually used, and therefore chess has the added credential of making a title out of humans competing to be the best in any field. Never thought of it and find it pretty cool! 

As the game unfolded it seemed obvious that while Magnus was OK on paper, he had his work cut out for him as he started to take some time after Sergey put a little edge on with 21. b3.

Enjoying Judit, with covered smile

A couple of moves later I was summoned to the commentary room as a guest commentator to give my views of the match and the position in the game. Judit is always a joy to be around, so when a sufficient layer of make-up was put on my face, to cover my perennial smile, I was tied to a microphone and asked some pretty cool questions by the broadcast crew. 

I thought Magnus should try to survive this game and take his two shots with the White pieces later. His e5 on move one showed he is basically OK with that approach, contrary to Ian's prediction of a French or a Caro-Kann. 

Maxim Dlugy and Judit Polgar, WCC 2016

Always a joy to be around Judit

The game then moved into a very tactical phase, which was extremely difficult to assess and after some more general discussion I went back to the VIP room, trying to check the temperature there.

Fabiano arrived and true to his word Lawrence was ready to make us play at these strange odds he proposed. He wanted to soften me up first and insisted we play at 5 to 2 again. We did, and after I went up 2 games, he gave the floor to Fabiano. I have to say that the two Lichee Martinis I had should not have had the effect of me playing badly, especially as I was good enough to give Larry, who is 2450+ IM with a 2500 Fide blitz rating 5 to 2 odds. But somehow it didn't work against Caruana. He played some great games to outplay me in tough positions and after six games or so the score was even. Larry thought I was sufficiently tired out and gave me another try for a double or nothing game, which I won. I stopped as Karjakin was thinking about Bxf7 which seemed extremely dangerous at the time.

Polishing off drinks, then the real action started

Number 4 in Blitz Number 2 in classical shake hands before the fight

The number 4 in Blitz and the number 2 in classical chess shake hands before the fight

Amazingly Magnus had a defence and the action in the VIP room shifted towards Ian, as the game reached its boring phase with Sergey trying to play like Magnus in a 3 vs 2 pawns endgame which looked clearly drawn. I came back against Ian while polishing off my fourth Martini with a 2.5-1.5 four game result, but the real action started when Fabiano and Ian squared off in a 3 minute duel which saw Black win both games as Fabiano cruised to a win in game one after brilliant defence only to blunder a couple of pawns early and lose rather painfully in game 2. Larry kind of ruined the fun by demanding to play Ian at a 3 to 1 minute handicap, and although he held his own by eventually tying the match, where Kirill, Karjakin's manager was unequivocally betting on Ian, he was a bit too happy whenever he won, unnerving Ian, who felt Larry was overdoing it by quite a margin. 

Finally the players agreed to a draw and we were also happy to call it a day.

Can't wait to see tomorrow's game!

More photos:

Andy Lerner, former National Elementary School Champion and now a venture investment manager was the first player I lost to in a tournament in USA

Battles are raging everywhere

Elmira Mirzoeva is the eyes and ears of the match for Match TV in Russia. She is also a WGM

Filatov shares his views with Kirill, Karjakin's right arm

Ian! Camera, action!

Ian is all smiles as he takes on kids in a simul

Not too crowded in the VIP hall, but very very comfortable

Silvio Danailov is smiling - ready for any challenge

This is how the playing room looks from the VIP hall

Vladimir Barsky (facing us) always has something interesting to report

Postscriptum after the match - the World Championship reports by Maxim Dlugy:

Maxim Dlugy was born 1966 in Moscow and in 1977 his family emigrated to the US. In 1985 Dlugy became World Junior Champion and later made a career on Wall Street. He is married with children, lives in New York, and loves to play blitz.


Rules for reader comments


Not registered yet? Register