First-seed Shirov loses to Laznicka

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
At the press conference yesterday I asked Alexei Shirov whether he, as the first seed here in Karlovy Vary, felt like the favorite to win the tournament. He didn't think so and said something like "everybody is strong here". A day later this remark turned out to be very true, because in the first round Shirov lost to the lowest seed last but one seed Laznicka. A good first round, commentator Vlastimil Hort agreed with me. "The first draw was only after 3,5 hours," he said with a satisfied smile.

It's a pretty chic tournament, this 'Carlsbad 2007'. It's being held in the quite nice Carlsbad Plaza hotel and players, guests and media are treated very well. The opening ceremony last night had a nice jazz band and the two "legends", Korchnoi and Timman, could choose their numbers first. Six and seven, which meant a mutual game the next day. After the official part everybody enjoyed a very good buffet and a nice glass of wine. Not only with the players, organizers and sponsors, but also some heroes from the good old days, like Vlastimil Hort and Lajos Portisch, and a decent delegation of Global Chess consisting of Bessel Kok (co-sponsor of the tournament) + wife and two attractive young ladies who are working at the recently opened office in Prague and immediately got the attention of Shirov and Ponomariov. Not completely incomprehensible, by the way.

At the moment of writing the first round has just finished. Korchnoi and Timman played an interesting draw; less spectacle saw the game between Ponomariov and Navara (although they analysed for quite a while afterwards). Movsesian-Akopian was drawn as well; Black was better for a long time but White never looked in real danger. So the big game was Shirov-Laznicka, in which the young Czech surprised his famous opponent with an original manoeuvre with a rook that was lost afterwards, but the exchange sacrifice was simpy very strong. Soon afterwards Shirov had to give back the material but Laznicka was still better and kept on playing very strongly. Shirov fought like a wounded lion but at the end couldn't survive.

Unfortunately I cannot present any videos yet, because I'm dealing with a very slow wireless internet connection. When things turn out badly, I might not be able to upload them before Monday night at home. What I can tell you is that I already have some good material: yesterday's press conference, where besides other topics the players were asked about Mexico of course, an interview with Jan Timman and footage of some post-mortems.

For now some pictures shot with the video camera:

center Vladimir Akopian

center Viktor Korchnoi

center Viktor Laznicka

center Sergei Movsesian

center David Navara

center Ruslan Ponomariov

center Alexei Shirov

center Jan Timman

center Special guest: Lajos Portisch

center Tournament organizer Pavel Matocha (l.) with an even more special guest: V?ɬ°clav Klaus, the president of the Czech Republic. He stayed for hours at the tournament, watching the games with great interest.
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