Nalchik rest day: the Chereksky gorge and Blue Lake

by ChessBase
4/22/2009 – There are two rest days in the FIDE Grand Prix tournaments, and they are used to give the players an outing in the local surroundings. After round five in Nalchik they were taken to the spectacular Chereksky region of Kabardino-Balkaria, which contains the second-deepest lake in the world. "It is difficult to describe in words the beauty surrounding us," said Levon Aronian. Pictorial.

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Fourth FIDE Grand Prix
in Nalchik, Kabardino-Balkaria

The fourth FIDE Grand Prix Series Tournament is being held in Nalchik, Kabardino-Balkaria, Russia, during 14th -29th April 2009 at the Intour Hotel "Sindica". The games start at 3 p.m. local time = 15:00h CEST. After five rounds there is a free day (on Monday, April 20) and another after round nine (on Saturday, April 25).

Rest day adventures

A picture paints a thousand words

On the free day after round five the players were packed into a bus and taken on an excursion to the Chereksky region of Kabardino-Balkaria.

At noon the bus reached the administrative border of the region, and representatives of the local administration were already waiting for chess players.

First the guests were shown a national dance. After that a famous Balkarian singer, an honored artist of KBR Aznor Ulbashev, following the tradition, presented a national drink airan in a big wooden bowl...

... first to the most respected guest – the tenth World Champion and commentator of the competition, Boris Spassky. Boris Vasiljevich tasted the drink and passed the bowl to the chief arbiter of the competition Vyacheslav Namruev.

Then, practically, all the excursionists tasted the drink. In the picture above it is Levon Aronian and Grand Prix analyst Sergey Shipov, who does not seem to be completely enchanted by the drink. Sharp eyesy will spot Grischuk, Alekseev (just a tiny bit of him) and Mamedyarov waiting for their turn. Airan is a drink made of yoghurt and water, popular in Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Lebanon, Bulgaria and other parts of the Balkans, the Middle East, and Central Asia. In Armenia they call it tahn, in India lassi, and in Iran doogh

After this the guests were taken up to the gorge of the Chereksky ravine

There it is, the stunning beauty of Chereksky: a guide with arbiter Faik Gasanov and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov

Sasha Grischuk and Pjotr Svidler taste the pristine mountain water

The Blue Lake of Kabardino-Balkaria is the second deepest in the world

The players and guests on the banks of this remarkable lake

Everybody poses for a group shot. Levon Aronian (in the green padded coat): "It is difficult to describe in words the beauty surrounding us."

Lunch break with meat on skewers, roasted over wood and charcoal fire

Etienne Bacrot tries his hand at turning the spit – but: what do the French know about cooking?

A stop in the village of Babugent, where pupils of the local school wait to see the famous grandmasters

Legendary Women's World Champion Nona Gaprindashvili signs boards and books for the fans

Lev Aronian – bless his kind Armenian soul – even plays a game against a local schoolboy

The game ends amicably with a result that may not be difficult to predict


The games are bing being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server If you are not a member you can download the free PGN reader ChessBase Light, which gives you immediate access. You can also use the program to read, replay and analyse the PGN games.

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