Wijk aan Zee: the pictures and their stories (2/2)

by Alina l'Ami
1/26/2015 – The first part of this series of pictures by Alina L'Ami was met with warmth and enthusiasm by the readers, and as promised here is the second part. In it are the moments when the players are oblivious to all but their own microcosm, the beauty of Wijk aan Zee when the conditions are just right, and of course what helps bring us closer to the author: her unfettered comments.

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Chess players are all the same. Right after his game, Giri rushed to see what the computer said
about his play. His trainer Tukmakov and girlfriend, Sopiko, had to drag him away to with the magic
word, "Dinner".

Anish's team - Sopiko and his trainer, Tukmakov

What I liked a lot about this shot is the moment when it was taken. They were both supporting Anish, of course, watching the ongoing game on the screens, a bit worried whether the opening went fine or not. Then they suddenly saw me and gave me such natural smiles that I couldn't believe...usually when people know they are being photographed, it takes a while to get used to that, to forget about the photographer's presence, to get comfortable, the reason why many, including myself, take multiple shots, to make sure the face expression will be all right. Here it was the first shot I took, and the best one of the series. Though I continued to press the button, this first one was still the highlight.

Magnus is such an expressive player that the only difficulty is giving the picture
a suitable caption...

...That said, it is also half the fun.

The weather is not one of the highlights of Wijk aan Zee, not when the wind blows anyway; but
when the sun smiles back to you, it makes for beautiful landscape shots. In summer time it is a very
popular destination and in winter time as well, just for different reasons.

Ok, the flags, everybody knows them; perhaps some got so used with them that
they would pass unnoticed. But to me, it is remarkable they are still standing, despite
the terrible winds we got a few days ago, when flights got cancelled, trains stopped
working etc. The flags of Wijk aan Zee are proudly there! True, I had to take multiple
shots to get the design visible, since the weather still had some reserves in stock.

No surprise that top-notch tournament will inspire others

A typical Player A versus Player B shot, but sometimes even they can capture more than was planned.
In these moments before the last round, both players are completely caught up in their own thoughts.

Children have that magic ability to be both predictable and spontaneous at the same time!

Luck is certainly a factor in capturing that exact moment

Lining up to get a good Magnus shot. The media is restless; one might recognize the famous bricks
and the path to the player's entrance to the tournament hall, which could tell mind-blowing stories
if only they could talk.

Behind the scenes - during live commentary, with Nick Schilder on the right - a famous Dutch singer
and a gigantic chess fan! He did so much for the Dutch chess by becoming its new ambassador. Before,
chess was some sort of Cinderella, but now it became so cool. And I like this photo - behind the scenes
and with famous people enjoying chess.

Caught up in the action. It is this proximity between fans and the players that helps create the atmosphere.

Chess becomes some sort of...virus during January. Everybody comes here to watch, to see, to play,
to comment or to just...socialize. It is so crowded, especially in weekends, that you could try dropping
a needle and it won't fall. (Romanian expression)

Chess paradise?!

Trivia question - who is he? If at times the face gives you no hints, then just like
in poker, we search for clues in body language, in gestures, in the little expressions

I have been coming here, to Wijk aan Zee for the past seven years and he is always in the amateur
groups, always playing! I liked a lot the reflections in this inveterate chess lover.

Alina is an International Master and a very enthusiastic person in everything she does. She loves travelling to the world's most remote places in order to play chess tournaments and report about them here on ChessBase! As chance would have it Alina is also an excellent photographer.


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