Notes from Baku

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
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0 | Chess Event Coverage
The first day in Baku was a bit of a chaotic one, which stayed unnoticed for the players by the way, which is good. As a content manager slash webmaster of both grandprix.fide.com and baku2008.fide.com I've learnt the hard way why "first days" are so infamous...

OK, this first-round article arrives with some delay, but it'll soon be clear why. First I'll explain my plans for reporting from Baku at ChessVibes. I've decided to leave small, personal notes over here, which give you an idea of the atmosphere at this first Grand Prix tournament here in Baku. At the tournament website we're publishing lots of chess technical material, including videos, so it would be a bit weird to copypaste all that over here, wouldn't it?

As written before, I have accepted an invitation by Global Chess to work for the Grand Prix websites, which I've been doing for one long day now. A day that started with the "usual hassle", according to many journalists and officials, who just know from experience that it's simply impossible to prevent the little, unexpected mishaps.

And besides, we're humans, right? Everyone has to settle down, get used to everything, et cetera. Unfortunately the root of the problem, which caused a delay of many hours in the planned schedule, was that in the press room we didn't have internet until about three hours after the first-round games had started. But from then on, everything got started and we tried to catch up with everything as quickly as possible.

At the start of the round, Erman ?É?ìsk?ɬºdarl?Ѭ± is shooting video and Ali Nihat Yaz?Ѭ±c?Ѭ± is taking photos. I think they've done a fine job in presenting their material already on the first day.

During the rounds, I'm shooting the press conferences, which are put online unedited unfortunately. We first ask the players to tell about their game in English, so that we have some material for the official website, and then they can answer questions from Azeri and Russian journalists. Besides, I'm doing the round reports, the bulletins, all kinds of stuff.

We also have GM Sergey Shipov over here, arguably the best online commentator. During the first round his live commentary was still published at Crestbook but for the second round we have managed to get him a working environment at baku dot fide dot com.

So the second round has already started and I've not even talked about the first one yet! Well, as you must have noticed elsewhere, there were quite a few interesting games and Kamsky and Grischuk both had an excellent start. This morning I had "breakfast" (lunch as a first meal) together with Vugar Gashimov, who told me all about chess in Azerbaijan. It's probably the no. 4 sport here, after judo, boxing and wrestling, and the Sports Department of State spends about 180,000 dollars each year on chess.

I've also spoken to Mickey and Tara Adams who seem as relaxed as always, Henrik Carlsen who proudly supports the first seed of the tournament and Peter Svidler, who was concerned about being called a boring player again, after being the first to have drawn his game yesterday. All I can say is: hey chess fans out there, Peter's not boring, and not a boring chess player either! Really!

Later more...


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