Reports | September 21, 2009 23:31

Kasparov and Karpov (and ChessVibes) in Valencia

Press conferenceThe ChessVibes team arrived in beautiful Valencia yesterday for full coverage of the Valencia cuna del ajedrez moderno festivities. This afternoon, there was a first press conference with over a hundred (!) journalists attending. The 12th and 13th World Champion answered some questions and talked about their feelings about the upcoming rapid and blitz events.

Not only Garry Kasparov and Anatoli Karpov were present at the press conference, but also Valencian chess historian Antonio Jose Garzon and multimillionaire businessman Sulaiman Al-Fahim, owner of the soccer club Portsmouth. Despite the very interesting historical context of Valencia as the birthplace of modern chess, on which we recently reported, virtually all questions were directed to the former rivals. It was clear that Kasparov was the most tense of the two, especially at the beginning. Obviously, he takes this match extremely seriously.

Things started to get interesting when a journalist of the Russian state television asked a question (in Russian) and Kasparov announced that he would answer both in English and Russian, so that viewers could compare the difference in versions between the state-controlled network station and 'objective' press.

Press conference

Dutch arbiter Geurt Gijssen, who was also the referee during the K-K matches in 1987 and 1990, performed the drawing of lots. In accordance with the theory that modern chess began with the new rules for moving the queen, the organizers had fittingly used a black and white queen as 'lots', but sadly this nice subtlety was lost when a misinformed Gijssen announced the players would draw two kings.

Press conference

Sulaiman Al-Fahim

Also noteworthy was Karpov criticizing FIDE and the Russian chess federation for recent decisions regarding the World Championship cycle. The Q & A (which was relatively short due to the need to translate answers into both English and Spanish) ended with a rather embarassing question to Sulaiman Al-Fahim, who was asked whether 'his club' Manchester City was interested in buying Spanish soccer star David Villa. Sulaiman Al-Fahim pointed out that perhaps the journalist should ask the owner of Man City, rather than the owner of Portsmouth.

Later this evening, Karpov and Kasparov will play simultaneous exhibitions in the architectural wonder of the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias. Of course, we'll bring you coverage and video footage from these events as soon as possible.

Tomorrow, the first two rapid games will be played. There will also be interesting lectures on the history of modern chess by, amongst others, Jose Garzon, Govert Westerveld and draughts champion Harm Wiersma. We're especially looking forward to Jose Garzon's lecture, which promises to present documental proofs that modern chess actually originated in Valencia. A video of the press conference will be added as soon as possible.

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Arne Moll's picture
Author: Arne Moll


Arne Moll's picture

Actually two, Michael X Tractor, but sadly our dog had to stay at home due to quarantaine regulations. We did bring a videocamera, though.

Michael X Tractor's picture

"The ChessVibes team arrived ..."

LOL. What does this consist of - one man and his dog, plus a videocamera? I hope the organisers are suitably grateful that such gargantuan media resources are being devoted to their event!

BBC, CNN, Chess Vibes....

christos's picture

@Michael X Tractor: I guess you will watch BBC's or CNN's coverage of the match, then. If they are devoting ''gargantuan media resources'', it must be better.

ceann's picture

lol @ Michael X surprised Doggers even allowed it to be posted, not his usual style....

Marcos Sander's picture

I was about to take a look again on but it isn't there!There is a games web site instead!What happenned?There is no official site?Help me please?!

Thomas's picture

@Marcos: Others (at Dailydirt) were also wondering, TWIC reports that "There may have been an attack on the official website".

Sanne's picture

Is it me or does Gijssen pretty much mess up most of the chessrelated stuff he does?

Arne Moll's picture

Sanne, as I said I think Gijssen was probably just misinformed, which is pretty much inevitable when nobody speaks any English.

PP's picture

Who needs a specialized website if ChessVibes is present? :-P

Jost's picture

Last time the K's met in prison, didn't they?

noyb's picture

Karpov tried to visit Kasparov in jail, but he was turned away.

SetNoEscapeOn's picture

"Who needs a specialized website if ChessVibes is present?"


ravi's picture

They should rather play a classical 4 game match rather than playing some rapid and blitz where both have nothing to lose now.

Janis Nisii's picture

I've always knew I couldn't go due to my working schedule, but now I'm very glad the event is covered also by CV!

Ah, I wanted to add that the nick SetNoEscapeOn is a lovely one and a good advice indeed! :D

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