Moving to Morelia

by ChessBase
2/15/2006 – As often in recent years your faithful ChessBase news team is undertaking a perilous trip to an exotic chess location. This time it is to Morelia, the capital of the state of Michoacán in Mexico. There a major chess event is taking place – with the likes of Topalov, Svidler, Leko and Ivanchuk. It is the first leg of the yearly Linares tournament. Curious?

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Not too much is known about the event in the Michoacán district of Mexico. The rudimentary web site gives sparse information, which we have summarised below. It is, however, a first-class tournament, with top stars: Topalov, Svidler, Aronian, Leko, Ivanchuk, Bacrot, Radjabov and Vallejo.

It turns out that the annual "Ciudad de Linares" tournament has been split, and the first half is being played in Mexico. Reason enough for us to pack our bags and undertake the arduous trip to report from this remote location first hand. This may result in a few days of sporadic updating of our news page. Once we are settled in Morelia we will resume our usual coverage of world chess news. We will also provide the names of the winners of the Wijk aan Zee prediction contest and the solutions to the Christmas Puzzle, for which some readers have begun to clamour. And Almira's next report from China. We promise.

Morelia International Chess Festival

February 16th to 28th, 2006 at the Palacio de Clavijero

During the two weeks of this festival, Morelia will become the chess capital of the world, holding three different great chess events as well as a host of cultural activities related to chess all over the city! The most famous event in the world of chess featuring eight of the top chess players in the world competing for a prize fund of 380,000 Euros! For the first time, Linares goes to the new world and has chosen Morelia to host the first half of the tournament.

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

The program that awaits us

  • International Symposium on “Chess and Education”
    12 talks will be given by 8 international guest speakers. Attendees will include members of the Michoacan and Mexican education sector. Discussion and debate sessions. Drafting and publication of symposium report. Place: Centro Cultural Universitario, Centro Histórico de Morelia, February 20 to 22.

  • Museum Displays
    Vertical chess, “Chess and Mathematics” Hall, Chessmania, “Chess and Computers” Hall, virtual craftsmen’s workshop, Postage Stamp Exibition.

  • Keynote Addresses
    Chess and mathematics, Champions’ Handwriting Analysis, The Digital Era in Chess, Chess in the Movies, The Theme of Chess in Literature.

  • Galleries
    Solo shows by plastic artists, various photographic exhibitions in the Festival’s halls, painting exhibition by Kevork Mourad, painting exhibition by Samuel Bak, photocomposition exhibition by Andrea Camarelli.

  • Chess Seminar
    Keynote addresses by international experts on chess-related topics, such as origins, anthropology, history, music and collecting.

  • Activities in squares
    Squares in the Historic Center, clown show, living chess, people on stilts, tableaux, classes for everyone, simultaneous games, exhibition games, dance, town-criers, medieval celebration, live music, actors, mimes, storytellers, shows.

  • Spanish language report on our Spanish site

Morelia – getting there

Our journey begins on a Tuesday morning, as always from Hamburg airport. This time we fly to Madrid, where a group of intrepid journalists is gathering for the next leg of the journey.

The "big" jet we took to fly from Hamburg to Madrid

Crossing the Pyrenees (Spanish: Pirineos)

A snow-capped mountain just north of Madrid

Approaching the Spanish capital

Well, this time our luggage arrived safely (oops, not ours!)

A chess motif to gree us? No, a (Brazilian) member
of a Catholic religious group at Madrid airport.

A local beauty – sitting in the sun, reading a book

Arrival at last at our hotel, from where this report is being posted

Actually things have gone pretty well so far. The hotel was not called the "High Speed Wireless Internet Hotel", as I had been led to believe, but simply the Hotel High Tech. However, they had taken the admonition on my reservation seriously: "Es importante que la habitación para Sr. Frederic Friedel tenga acceso ADSL". It took just five minutes to identify which of six available wireless networks was the one the hotel had provided a password for. After that it has been smooth sailing on the Internet.

Tomorrow, Wednesday, begins the interesting part of the journey, when we get on an Aeromexiko flight to Mexico City. I am told it is a small aircraft with two engines that will attempt to cross the Atlantic in a 13-hour trip. After a night in a multi-storied hotel in the earth-quake prone Mexico City we will be transported by charter bus to Morelia, where we are scheduled to arrive on Thursday afternoon.

We will report back once we get there. Keep your fingers crossed.

Frederic Friedel

Reports about chess: tournaments, championships, portraits, interviews, World Championships, product launches and more.


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