Fire, Water, Sport During Sinquefield Rest Day
The 2014 Sinquefield Cup's lone "rest day" was just a clever name for most of the field. Interviews, athletics and one spectacular artistic exhibit filled the day.
What do you do if you're playing the perfect tournament? GM Fabiano Caruana began the day with interviews, then went swimming.
The world champion, GM Magnus Carlsen, chose a round of golf (he had already played soccer prior to the first day).
GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, a devotee of table tennis and follower of tennixs's U.S. Open, chose to play tennis with chess club founder Rex Sinquefield and this reporter.
I can report that his backhand is balky but his speed saves him on many occassions. Pro tip: attack his second serve.
But what of the commentators? GM Yasser Seirawan fulfilled his ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, but not before bracing for impact.
Here's how he took the frigid bathing:
Just prior to the West side of Maryland Avenue getting doused, Vachier-Lagrave completed his challenge on the opposite sidewalk. He sat beneath the world's largest chess piece and awaited his fate.
Who knows? Maybe it's the secret to winning five games in a row. Caruana's case study certainly didn't hurt.
As you heard, much of the chess elite are getting drenched thanks to a single catalyst -- GM Anish Giri. MVL took the liberty of nominating five candidates instead of the normal three, but hey, 2700s get special treatment in lots of ways.
As you also heard, one of those "on the clock" is now our own IM Danny Rensch.
UPDATE: IM/WGM Sopiko Guramishvili "completed" MVL's challenge, sort of.
As evening fell, all six players' paths converged at the World Chess Hall of Fame. The third installation of "The Burning Boards" by artist Glenn Kaino took place in a blacked-out room.
Candles were ersatz pieces as chess professionals matched with artists. In a night where two disparate subcultures coalesced, the levity contrasted greatly with the first five rounds of the tournament.
Kaino wanted to show the impermanence of objects and the ever-changing nature of the rules we live by. Players were encouraged to form their own fire-based rules, but it was generally agreed that extinguised flames and immobilized pieces were both out of the game.
Only the heights of the pieces differentiated them, so as games dragged on and candles burned lower, a good memory was required.
Just after the next photo was taken, a funny incident occurred.
Just after Shahade delivered a pretty dovetail mate, she laughed hard enough to blow out her own king. "But it was mate on the board!" she joked.