Postcards from Tripoli

by ChessBase
6/28/2004 – You last saw writer Paul Hoffman on ESPN. No, not playing shortstop for the Mets or winning the world's strongest man competition. He joined GMs Maurice Ashley and Yasser Seirawan in the Kasparov - Fritz TV coverage, playing the roles of science expert and straight man. Now he's in Tripoli and you won't believe what he's gotten up to this time.

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A personal Tripoli photo tour

Paul Hoffman, a writer in Woodstock, New York, went to Tripoli with Pascal Charbonneau, the Canadian champion. Paul expected just to watch the chess but he was pleasantly surprised to have a chance to play. Here is his story.

Antoaneta Stefanova, the new women's world champion, finds her partying cramped when she learns she can't get beer or wine in Tripoli.

But she finds a way to pass the evening by playing 14 Libyans in a simul.

Commotion ensues when a small child is evicted from the simul because the organizers believe he is too young to play.

Dressed in traditional garb, American journalist Paul Hoffman passes for a local and

easily reaches a comfortable position because his

friend and second, Canadian champion Pascal Charbonneau, had adequately prepared him and pumped him up by blasting Nirvana before the game.

Paul doesn't like it when a woman turns her back on him.

So he goes into a deep think,

though not as deep as Alexander Ivanov's.

Unusual play on Paul's part has Pascal closely following the game.

When Paul wins a pawn, Antoaneta becomes so enraged she sets the room on fire. Paul accepts her draw offer so that the woman will calm down and he can go eat dinner. [The best excuse for a botched photo we've ever heard -ed.]

World chess czar Kirsan Ilyumzhinov demands a game to avenge Stefanova's performance, but he is surprised by Paul's choice of the King's Gambit and his spirited,

zealous play. But Paul, confused about his second's loyalties, offers a quick draw and is rewarded with an invitation to the Kasparov-versus-whoever match.

Text by Paul Hoffman
Photos by Pascal Charbonneau and Paul Hoffman

General information

The FIDE site, which is being hosted by Libya Telecom And Technology, looks well equipped to handle live coverage of the event. The schedule, list of players, results tree and games are all in place, there are reports and picture galleries. The start page is and

Live coverage

The live game transmission from Tripoli, apparently of all games, requires you to have Java Virtual Machine installed on your PC. This program is distributed free of charge by Sun Microsystems (and is useful for many other applications). Visit the Java check page to see if you have everything required for the live coverage and install Java if you don't. To follow the games click on "Live coverage" in the link list above. There is a "View" button behind each pairing of players. Many of the key games will also be covered and discussed on the server.


Note that local time in Tripoli is the same as in Central Europe. The start of the games is generally at 14:30h, which is GMT + 2 and translates to 13:30 London, 8:30 a.m. New York, 16:30 Moscow, 18:00 New Delhi, 20:30 Hong Kong, 21:30 Tokyo, 22:30 Melbourne, and 03:00 a.m. (on the next day) in the French Polynesia-Marquesas Islands of Taiohae.

World Chess Championship 2003-2004
18 June - 13 July 2004 – Schedule
Date Day Events Games Time
18 June Friday Opening Ceremony
Players' Meeting
19 June Saturday Round 1 Game 1 14.30
20 June Sunday Round 1 Game 2*
21 June Monday Round 2 Game 1 14.30
22 June Tuesday Round 2 Game 2*
23 June Wednesday Round 3 Game 1 14.30
24 June Thursday Round 3 Game 2* 14.30
25 June Friday Rest Day
26 June Saturday Round 4 Game 1 14.30
27 June Sunday Round 4 Game 2* 14.30
28 June Monday Round 5 Game 1 14.30
29 June Tuesday Round 5 Game 2* 14.30
30 June Wednesday Rest day
1 July Thursday Round 6 Game 1 14.30
2 July Friday Round 6 Game 2 14.30
3 July Saturday Round 6 Game 3 14.30
4 July Sunday Round 6 Game 4 14.30
5 July Monday Round 6 Tie-Breaks 14.30
6 July Tuesday Final Match Game 1 14.30
7 July Wednesday Final Match Game 2 14.30
8 July Thursday Final Match Game 3 14.30
9 July Friday Rest Day
10 July Saturday Final Match Game 4 14.30
11 July Sunday Final Match Game 5 14.30
12 July Monday Final Match Game 6 14.30
13 July Tuesday Final Match Tie-breaks 12.30
13 July Tuesday Closing Ceremony 18.00
* Tie-breaks at 20:30h


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