Train chess - the most unique tournament ever? Part 1
Playing chess in a train that goes from Prague to Vienna, Budapest, Bratislava, Krakow and back to Prague - it is arguably the most unique ever, and currently under way. ChessVibes hopped on the train to join this wonderful experience and see five beautiful cities.
It's actually strange that this was never done before, isn't it? A real chess tournament that is being held in a train. Well, the ever-active tournament organizer from the Czech Republic, Pavel Matocha, organized this! It's a wonderful idea, and it's currently taking place.
The trip goes to five beautiful Central-European cities; the chess is rapid (25 minutes on the clock for each person, no increment). The train left from Prague on Friday, October 14th at 10 am and on the way to Vienna the first 3 rounds of the tournament were played. In the afternoon and evening the players, accompanying persons, organizers and sponsors could enjoy the Austrian capital, and stayed there in a hotel. On Saturday morning the train continued to Budapest, and on Sunday morning everyone, including the author of this report, travelled further to Bratislava! Tomorrow the train is heading to Krakow and from there it goes back to Prague on Tuesday.
The rapid tournament will last fifteen rounds, with four rounds during the last two trips. Exactly 64 players participate, including the legendary Czech grandmaster Vlastimil Hort (who beat yours truly in the fourth round). The top seed, however, is Robert Cvek, who is a member of the Czech Olympiad team. Also five IMs play - the full list can be found here.
As we write this we have just reached Bratislava. Below are photo impressions of the first three days (warning: overdose of tourism!) - later we'll add a second report which will include a video.
The whole event started, of course, at the Prague main station
Participants arrive with their luggage, and enter the tournament
A pretty, classic hall at the entrance of the station
The tournament is opened by organizer Pavel Matocha (with microphone); GM Vlastimil Hort on the right
Participants and press watching
The special chess train that was set up for the tournament - main sponsor are the Czech Railways
Every wagon is named after a former World Champion - the top boards are in the first, 'Steinitz'
Participants entering the wagon 'Lasker'
The chess train is leaving!!
Vlastimil Hort giving an interview for local TV...
...and here in action against (and actually losing to) editor-in-chief of Russian magazine '64', Mark Gluhovsky
Organizer Pavel Matocha playing blitz in between the rounds
Arrival in Vienna! The State Opera
The Saint Stephen's Cathedral
Johan Strauss - this time as the name of a clothing shop
One of the government buildings: Hofburg
One of the first 'modern' buildings in Vienna, built in a combination of Jugendstil and Bauhaus architecture
Cafe Central, which was opened in 1876. In the late 19th century it became a key meeting place of the Viennese intellectual scene. Writer Peter Altenberg has its statue inside.
Saturday morning, and everyone's leaving Vienna again, for...
...the Hungarian capital!
The Heroes Square
The Matthias Church
The Fishermen's Bastion
The view from the Bastion is stunning...
...from 'Buda' you can see the Danube river and the 'Pest' part...
...including the beautiful Parliament
Budapest is a beautiful city with an enormous amount of statues, including this American actor!
Also one of the many cities where yesterday protests took place against the power of banks and capitalism
For your information, the word 'democracy' was shouted all the time
The Basilica - the third largest church in Europe...
...here seen from the front
One of the bridges over the Danube river
Sunday morning - everyone's leaving the hotel again...
...and back to Budapest Nyugati station...
...and back to the tourament inside the wagons!
A pretty sight close to the border of Hungary and Slovakia
The GM's met in the 7th round and drew
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