Morelia: spectacular opening of the chess festival

2/17/2006 – The big opening ceremony of the Linares-Morelia chess tournament took part in the city theatre, and included the drawing of lots. The games start tomorrow, Saturday, at 15:30h local time (=22:30h CEST, 4:30 p.m. NY). We bring you the full pairings and a report on the festivities that preceded the event. With new pictures.

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Opening Ceremony

The Ciudad de Linares-Morelia International Chess Tournament, as it is officially called, started on Friday with a spectacular opening ceremony. This was held in the Teatro Ocampo, just a stone's throw away from the playing venue and the players's hotel (everything is just a stone's throw away in the center of this town).


20:00h: crowds start entering the theatre for the opening ceremony...


... with a line streching all the way down the street


The theatre is packed, with every last place taken

It is very moving to see the number of people who crowd to attend the ceremony, and to experience the incredible enthusiasm they display for the game and its players.


Players in the theatre. Front: Sylvio Danialov (Topalov's manager), Ivan Cheparinov (Topalov's second), Vladimir Potkin (Aronian's second). Back row: Peter Leko, Peter Svidler, Veselin Topalov, Levon Aronian, Etienne Bacrot and Teimour Radjabov.


Leko, Svidler, Topalov, Aronian, Bacrot, Radjabov, Francisco Vallejo


Vassily Ivanchuk and his wife


Photographers and fans mob the players in the theatre

Before the start of the festivities photographers and fans surrounded the players, took hundreds of pictures, chatted with them, asked for autographs and dedications in chess books they had brought with them. The press too was out in force, with half a dozen professional TV teams and a score of serious photographers.


The ceremony can begin...


A mexican band with guitarres, base, brass and violins


Music and dance, Mexican style


Fascinating costumes and masks


The white queen (we assume)


And the awe-inspiring king


The drawing of colours: Etienne Bacrot gets the number three


The players lined up after the drawings


... and together with the organisers and dignitaries for a group photo.


Just the players lined up for a group portrait: Ivanchuk, Svidler, Leko,
Vallejo, Topalov, Radjabov, Aronian and Bacrot.

Tumultuous scenes

What followed at the end of the opening ceremony had to be seen to be believed. Hundreds of fans crowded outside the theatre, waiting for the participants to emerge. There was loud cheering as each chess star was recognised. The more patient of the grandmasters spent half an hour giving autographs and posing for private pictures with chess enthusiasts.


The crowd waiting at the entrance for the players to emerge


They are simply mobbed by the fans. We have marked three players with red dots: Francisco Vallejo, Peter Leko and Etienne Bacrot.


Leko and Vallejo struggling in a sea of fans


This is how they treat a chess star like Paco Vallejo in this country


Posing for a photo with some really nice Mexican fans


A final reception given by the Mayor in the ayuntamiento (town hall)

Report and photos: Frederic Friedel

The Pairings

Morelia half

Round 1: Saturday, February 18th

Francisco Vallejo 
   Peter Leko
Peter Svidler 
   Veselin Topalov
Etienne Bacrot 
   Vassily Ivanchuk
Levon Aronian 
   Teimour Radjabov
GamesReport

Round 2: Sunday, February 19th

Peter Leko 
  Teimour Radjabov
Vassily Ivanchuk 
  Levon Aronian
Veselin Topalov 
  Etienne Bacrot
Francisco Vallejo 
  Peter Svidler
GamesReport

Round 3: Monday, February 20th

Peter Svidler 
  Peter Leko
Etienne Bacrot 
  Francisco Vallejo
Levon Aronian 
  Veselin Topalov
Teimour Radjabov 
  Vassily Ivanchuk
GamesReport
Free day: Tuesday, February 21st

Round 4: Wednesday, February 22nd

Peter Leko 
  Vassily Ivanchuk
Veselin Topalov 
  Teimour Radjabov
Francisco Vallejo 
  Levon Aronian
Peter Svidler 
  Etienne Bacrot
GamesReport

Round 5: Thursday, February 23rd

Etienne Bacrot 
  Peter Leko
Levon Aronian 
  Peter Svidler
Teimour Radjabov 
  Francisco Vallejo
Vassily Ivanchuk 
  Veselin Topalov
GamesReport
Free day: Friday, February 24th

Round 6: Saturday, February 25th

Levon Aronian 
  Peter Leko
Teimour Radjabov 
  Etienne Bacrot
Vassily Ivanchuk 
  Peter Svidler
Veselin Topalov 
  Francisco Vallejo
GamesReport

Round 7: Sunday, February 26th

Peter Leko 
  Veselin Topalov
Francisco Vallejo 
  Vassily Ivanchuk
Peter Svidler 
  Teimour Radjabov
Etienne Bacrot 
  Levon Aronian
GamesReport
Transfer to Linares, Spain

Linares half

Round 8: Friday, March 3rd

Peter Leko 
  Francisco Vallejo
Veselin Topalov 
  Peter Svidler
Vassily Ivanchuk 
  Etienne Bacrot
Teimour Radjabov 
  Levon Aronian
GamesReport

Round 9: Saturday, March 4th

Teimour Radjabov 
  Peter Leko
Levon Aronian 
  Vassily Ivanchuk
Etienne Bacrot 
  Veselin Topalov
Peter Svidler 
  Francisco Vallejo
GamesReport

Round 10: Sunday, March 5th

Peter Leko 
  Peter Svidler
Francisco Vallejo 
  Etienne Bacrot
Veselin Topalov 
  Levon Aronian
Vassily Ivanchuk 
  Teimour Radjabov
GamesReport
Free day: Monday, March 6th

Round 11: Tuesday, March 7th

Vassily Ivanchuk 
  Peter Leko
Teimour Radjabov 
  Veselin Topalov
Levon Aronian 
  Francisco Vallejo
Etienne Bacrot 
  Peter Svidler
GamesReport

Round 12: Wednesday, March 8th

Peter Leko 
  Etienne Bacrot
Peter Svidler 
  Levon Aronian
Francisco Vallejo 
  Teimour Radjabov
Veselin Topalov 
  Vassily Ivanchuk
GamesReport
Free day: Thursday, March 9th

Round 13: Friday, March 10th

Veselin Topalov 
  Peter Leko
Vassily Ivanchuk 
  Francisco Vallejo
Teimour Radjabov 
  Peter Svidler
Levon Aronian 
  Etienne Bacrot
GamesReport

Round 14: Saturday, March 11th

Peter Leko 
  Levon Aronian
Etienne Bacrot 
  Teimour Radjabov
Peter Svidler 
  Vassily Ivanchuk
Francisco Vallejo 
  Veselin Topalov
GamesReport
End of Tournament

Topics: Linares 2006
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