13 May 2017

Moving From Mansions to Telegraph Buildings

The Moscow FIDE Grand Prix leg opening in the review of Eteri Kublashvili 

The FIDE Grand Prix leg opening ceremony took place on May 11 in one of the survived mansions on Malaya Ordynka. It is not uncommon nowadays for such buildings to serve various parties and photo sessions, or be otherwise rented out as studios. With chess being in fashion now, the tournament opening has turned into a social event, which, despite unfavorable weather conditions, has seen a flood of guests.

By 8 pm the ceremony venue was absolutely packed with only photographers and waiters deftly maneuvering among guests with either photographic equipment or brand-name cocktails based on "Beluga” respectively.

The snow and rain of May have done little to bother participants with quite a number of southern countries’ representatives among them and, on the contrary, have served as a constant source for jokes and a desire to get to know our country better.

Boris Gelfand and Saleh Salem are absolutely fine despite having arrived from +30-degree areas. Teimour Radjabov, as is known from his Twitter, has arrived in Moscow very much in advance and we hope him to have come to grips with the change of conditions.

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Anish Giri, Ian Nepomniachtchi, and Peter Svidler have showed up straight from Sochi. Unfortunately, the opening  ceremony  has not been attended by yet another triumphant of the "Siberia-Sirius" team Alexander Grischuk.

The European participants are fresh and cheerful, whereas Pentala Harikrishna has also become closer to us in a certain sense after having resided for quite some time in Belgrade. Evgeny Tomashevsky is also not the one to be taken by surprise with weather cataclysms. The Chinese players Hou Yifan and Ding Liren are habitually friendly and modest. 

Ernesto Inarkiev feels support of his small homeland as the opening was attended by Belan Hamchiev, a Federation Council Senator from the Republic of Ingushetia and Alikhan Kharsiev, a State Duma deputy, businessman and philanthropist . Hikaru Nakamura is habitually escorted by his second Chris Littlejohn and is in an all-or-nothing mindset.

The official ceremony has been attended by FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, FIDE Vice-President Israel Gelfer, head of World Chess by Agon Limited Ilya Merenzon, Chairman of the Board / General Director / member of the PAO (public joint stock company) "PhosAgro" Board of Directors Andrey Guriev, member of the EG Capital Partners Supervisory Board Mikhail Kasumov, as well as a managing director of the "Kaspersky Lab" company in Russia and countries of the Caucasus and Central Asia Sergey Zemkov.

A ceremony hostess Tatiana Arno and her counterpart did everything to make the drawing of lots ceremony as much fun and humor as possible. The ceremony had something unusual indeed. With the tournament carried out to the Swiss system, round one lot was known in advance. This said, the round one pairings were called out one by one to take pictures, shake hands and leave the stage.

The colors were settled by the rating favorite Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, who picked out a silver piece. With a silver interpreted as a modern representation of the white color, the latter was assigned to the odd-numbered players.

Round one pairings are:

M. Vachier-Lagrave - M. Adams, E. Inarkiev - H. Nakamura, A. Giri - B. Gelfand, T. Radjabov - Ding Liren, S. Mamedyarov - F. Vallejo Pons, E. Tomashevsky - P. Svidler, I. Nepomniachtchi - Hou Yifan, S. Salem - A. Grischuk, P. Harikrishna - J.L. Hammer.

The participants were off to take their rest time almost immediately after the lots drawing procedure. However, rather than being over, the action was only in full prime, judging by all appearances. An opening ceremony guest Sergey Karjakin got into the limelight of cameras to tell the journalists something that seems to have nothing in common with anything boring. 

Let me remind you that we are in for a 9-round Swiss tournament with a “long” time control, but without the Sofia rules enforced, which means that a draw can be agreed anytime.

Games will be player in the Central Telegraph building that used to host the previous year’s Candidates Tournament.

The tournament schedule is: May 12-16 and 18-21. May 17 is a rest day. Games start at 2:00 PM (Moscow time).

Stay with us to keep track of the event.