World Championship 2009
A little message from Copacabana beach (yeah...) where the World Chess Problem Championship is taking place. Well, not too far from the beach...
This is the first time in fifty years that this meeting is taking place outside of old Europe. Some may have been repelled by the distance (which rhymes with expense), but about a hundred problemists from all over the world are announced anyway.
The first competitions start tomorrow ("Open" championship) and the World Solutions Championship takes place on Tuesday and Wednesday. The French team is the same as last year in Latvia (Michel Caillaud, double World Champion, Alain Villeneuve who is not introduced anymore and yours truly as a substitute and special envoy for France-Echecs). It will be difficult to compete with the Russian or Polish ogres but our motivation is great as we read in "L'Equipe"
I will try to give you information throughout the week. For the moment, my goal is to tame the Brazilian keyboard. At least we have the cedillas and accents !
See you soon for more news.
Pessõa (who does not speak Portuguese despite his nickname)
Monday: Yesterday, an immersion session in Brazilian culture. A procession passes in front of the hotel, sounded by a truck that reminds us of the CGT demonstrations in our countries. The televisions broadcast football matches over and over again, a favela in São Paulo went up in smoke in a fire that destroyed three hundred houses. I think we've covered all the clichés about the country. A yes, the climate is hot and humid, too.
The open solutions tournament was played this morning. I won't talk about my result, which is reminiscent of the Brazilian ball team in Bolivia, only worse. I think I suffered from the lack of altitude. Or the difference in climate, or at least air conditioning, with the outside world. The results will be available on the official website, and here as soon as they are available.
The afternoon is devoted to composition. I had a look at the last puzzle invented by a Japanese (curiously, there are several Japanese problemists although western chess is not practised there. Curious). It is chess with invisible pieces. Perhaps I will have the opportunity of a complete presentation on my return of this appetizing genre.
And tomorrow morning (i.e. tomorrow afternoon French time, I don't know who invented the time difference but I don't like it), the start of the world solutions championship !
Open solving : For the moment, my memory of Brazil is similar to that of Nilmar (for the performance, not for the physique...). I was surprised, by the way, to see the dirty kid with a star status here...
The results of the open tournament have just come in. Without prejudging possible complaints, I give you a preview. It is a great success for the Russians with a double, Evséëv first in front of Selivanov. The Ukrainian Pogorelov completes a podium at the foot of which Murdzia is chocolate.
The hexagonal team (which is triangular, after all) has a mixed performance, Michel thirteenth, Alain 31st and your undercover correspondent, 46th is in the gruppetto... The two-moves were tricky, the three-moves technical, the helpmates not easy. A nalimovesque study resisted all participants. Our comrade Charpentier lacked philanthropy with a selfmate in eight moves that was only solved by two strongmen. Hard, hard...
Note to travellers: if you are going to Brazil, here is a tip that will open many doors for you. [ Puxe ], it's a faux-ami, it means [ pull ]. Aë.
Let's dance the carioca... We get episodic news from the country here in Rio. Curiously, none of the twenty-eight TV channels dedicated to football reported on the brilliant victory of Les Bleus against the Faroe Islands. On the other hand, the written press and even television are very favourably impressed by Jean Sarkozy's meteoric rise. I don't speak enough Portuguese to understand expressions like 'nepostismo' or 'republica de bananas' but it must refer to France's incomparable influence across the oceans.
Let's get back to the topic. This morning, the first half of the World Solutions Championship, with TV Globo's cameras covering this major event, a prelude to the World Cup and the Summer Olympics (not ?)
Three two-moves in twenty minutes as a warm-up, which caused the first strains. A few mistakes were made even by strong participants. The three-moves were then perhaps easier. But it was still necessary to find all the variations in order not to lose precious points on the way. Finally, the big piece of the morning consisted of three hairy studies. The favourites suffered, the least favourites even more. We can expect to see the first gaps this evening...
The results will be posted this evening. Les Bleus have lost a few feathers in the battle, Michel and Alain having missed a two-move or a study... The substitute-reporter has not been of much use so far, unfortunately.
At half-time, the French team is seventh. The two main players of the team are tied for 12th in individual and yours truly... well, he's happy to be here.
At the top, the match between the Russians and the Poles is slightly to the advantage of the runners-up, who are therefore in first place. Murdzia is in the lead with 44 points, but Wissman and Evséëv are in his wheel. The suspense remains..
Tonight, a little brainstorming with the "quick solving": 30 mates in 2, one minute of reflection for each. It's invigorating, there's no denying it, and I even solved a few !
Wednesday Dear Diary,
I am making considerable progress in Portuguese. Last night I managed to order a beer. Of course, the barman brought me a tea, but I was able to get my beer after reordering in English.
That's it for the solutions championship. I had a hard time. I think I fell into all the traps and even invented some myself. I still made a sensation by being the first to hand in my copy for the selfmates, but in reality I had only solved two problems, one of which was false.
After 4 rounds (out of 6), France was sixth, we will soon know if we have maintained this flattering ranking. The victory should be played on the selfmate in eight moves, a monster that very few will have defeated. I'll keep you posted after the siesta.
Well, the results are still subject to change at the margin with possible complaints, but France's fifth place is not in doubt. One place better than in Jurmala, therefore, and hence the best result for the French team for, er, a long time. Michel (6th in the individual) and Alain (11th) kept the shop open. I was there if necessary, but the case didn't fall, so it's all the better. A 35th place not so catastrophic for the little thumb that I am.
At the top of the ranking, the young Polish team triumphed, very united and obviously taking things seriously. Murdzia, the driving force, is individual World Champion (for the fifth time). Germany and Russia completed the podium. And Great Britain (composed mainly of Scots, can we talk about perfidious Albion?) is 7th. Blatant revenge of Azincourt.
The Master Speaker
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