Kasparov and Karpov (and ChessVibes) in Valencia

0 | Chess Event Coverage
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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