San Luis: The return of the participants

10/21/2005 – Earlier this week, at the end of the very exciting but also quite exhausting FIDE World Championship, players, dignitaries, journalists and friends packed their bags and embarked on the journey back home. So too your newsteam from ChessBase.com. We bring you farewell pictures from San Luis and, for those who missed something, a list of all video links.

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The FIDE World Chess Championship, which took place in the Hotel Potrero de los Funes Complex, in the Province of San Luis, Argentina, lasted from Sept. 27 to Oct. 16, 2005.

The last morning in San Luis. I had been given a splendid room in the Hotel Potrero, truly gigantic, with four beds and a very nice table to work on (it was, I assume, originally a FIDE room). It had been freshly refurbished, which was very nice, but bought at the price of a residual scent of paint and glue. Ah, people can get used to anything. The room TV had only Spanish news, but channels and channels of American sitcoms, all original with subtitles. I spent many minutes watching the reruns on the first day, then never again switched on the set.

Checking out, and a genuinely fond goodbye to our hotel staff, who were well-trained, competent, multilingual and always ready to find a solution to any problem that might arise.


The players and their entourage board the chartered bus to the airport


Rustam Kasimdzhanov and wife Firuza stay
behind for an additional day in San Luis


At the airport there is a large crowd of children cheering the players


"Anand, Anand!" Very moving to be sent off like this...


A final farewell – the town of San Luis from the air


Our commentator Nigel Short on the plane to Buenos Aires


Allan Herbert, FIDE delegate from the Barbados Chess Federation


FIDE Rating Administrator and Webmaster Casto Abundo


World Championship participant Peter Leko, this time on the plane, not on the bus

Peter, you will recall, took the bus from Buenos Aires to San Luis on the outward journey. He told us about the 11-hour trip: "The bus was great, the seats were like in Business or First Class on a plane, big recliners made of leather. The journey was entirely on first-class highways, so the bus just glided along. At one stage they stopped at a very nice restaurant, where we could eat and drink as much as we wanted. They stopped a second time, but I slept through that one. And the entire trip, including the food, came to €17." But when you need to catch a flight to Budapest you sometimes need to take the (yawn) regular scheduled flight.


Approaching Buenos Aires, with its famous River Plate stadium


The landmark Obelisk, located in the center of the Plaza de la República, was built in 1936 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the founding of the city.


The Casa Rosada government building where, historically, Madonna sang "Don't cry for me Argentina"


The Cathedral de Buenos Aires on the Plaza de Mayo, opposite the Casa Rosada


Beautiful streets leading to the city square


A few souvenirs to take back in an artisan mall. The displays were almost all dominated by utensils to make Yerba mate tea – more on that in a later report.


Ten-year-old children juggle balls for a few cents, at midnight in front of cars waiting at lights on the main highway


Your dedicated reporter Frederic Friedel trying (unsuccessfully) to get this report uploaded in the lobby of the Kempinsky hotel over wireless LAN, an hour before his journey back to Europe.

The flight back to Germany was a new adventure: Air France, the carrier of our choice (and owner of our outward journey airline KLM) did deliver my bags in Hamburg. But on the 12-hour leg from Buenos Aires to Paris they had a different surprise in store for passengers in economy class. In an attempt to test the limits of human endurance and dignity they had spaced the seats so narrowly that only young and dimunitive Romanian gymnasts would be expected to climb comfortably in and out of them ("Pierre, if we put all ze seats notch closer, zen we get one extra row and a few thousand bucks extra on ze tickets!" "But Henri, what if zere are passengers who are taller than five foot six?" "Mon dieu, so what are zey going to do about it?" – Bitch about it on a chess newspage, that is what.)

Photos and report by Frederic Friedel

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