Vladimir Epishin

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
As expected, there's a very nice atmosphere here at the Salou tournament. Almost every player stays at the Hotel Negresco Princess, where the tournament is held, and enjoys full board. This means you have a good chance to meet your opponent sitting next to you having dinner, just ten minutes after you finished the post-mortem with him. But it also means that friends are made easily. After the second round I had dinner together with the German clan and afterwards I was invited for a drink in their room. Whe showed each other some endgame studies while enjoying other petites combinaisons like "MarCola".

I also met Omar from Egypt who now lives in Reykjavik (!) after he married an Icelandic woman. This sounds a bit like Kevin Spraggett from Canada living in Portugal after he married a Portugese woman. And there you have it: many chess players here have been travelling a lot, playing a lot of tournaments, meeting lots of people and one day they found their love. These four months I am experiencing the life of a travelling chess professional and I think I'm starting to feel a bit how it's like.

For one thing, every tournament is a bit similar, wherever you are. The biggest group of players, let's say under 2100, gets beaten in the first two rounds and from then on play their own tournament. When they're not to move they wander around and admire the top guns. Then there's the group of players like myself, somewhere between 2100 and 2400, who are just trying very hard to get better in chess and occasionally manage to draw against a titled player. Then you have a few strong locals, usually one of them playing a great tournament and beating one of the foreign grandmasters but collapsing in the penultimate round against another one. And then of course there's the big guys, a small group of mainly foreign grandmasters who are, at the end, the only ones who are really fighting for the first price. They're the professionals and for most of them it's just hard work.

One of these players in Salou is Vladimir Epishin. A special character. Quite big, as strong as a bear and smoking all day. Many assume that his suitcase is full of cigarettes leaving no room for extra clothes. The Russian grandmaster is quite infamous in Holland for his, let's evaluate it in a chessy way, dubious manoeuvres. During play he's often very nervous and looks at his opponent after almost every move. Once, in a Dutch tournament, he exaggerated a bit in his desire to distract his opponent. In timetrouble he decided to kick him under the table.

The tournament of Salou is only three rounds young and already everybody talks about the Epishin. In round 2 he couldn't win a position with a pawn up against the player who I mentioned before, the one that's playing here for the fourth time. Michael Tscharotschkin, a 2200 guy from Germany, managed to defend the rook ending to a draw. His reward? Epishin loudly called him Schwein (pig) no less than five times after the game.

Later that night Michael found out that the Russian GM knows better how to swear in German than he knows the rules of the game of chess. The game had started with the Keres Defence (1.d4 d5 2.c4 Bf5 3.cxd5 Bxb1 4.Qa4+ c6 5.Rxb1 Qxd5) and later on, after Rb1-a1 had been played, Epishin had castled queenside!

Chessbase and Fritz cannot replay the game but the DGT software has no problems with illegal moves.

In the third round Epishin even lost, to the strong local Victor Vehi Bach, and immediately after the game the GM shouted that he would leave the tournament because the audience was talking too loud. Now in this, I have to admit, he's not completely wrong. The playin hall is quite noisy. People are talking and are also making a lot of noise right outside the hall, which is quite distracting too since the door is opened a lot.

Later Epishin calmed down a bit and decided to continue, but seeing his German opponent from the day before was too much. The draw of yesterday was of course the main reason that he had lost today, Epishin must have thought, and he walked behind Tscharotschkin and twice blew the smoke of his cigarette into Michael's neck. When a friend of Michael's said to Epishin: "Please, stop doing this," the grandmaster walked in front of him and replied: "What do you want, little guy?"

I hope Epishin will manage to improve his chess during the tournament. He's said to be a very nice bloke when he has won.

Vladimir Epishin - Michael Tscharotschkin

Victor Vehi Bach - Vladimir Epishin

Victor Vehi Bach - Vladimir Epishin & audience

Dominguez Renier Castellanos resigns, Kevin Spraggett wins

Ana Matnadze - Hernandez Carmenate Holden

Sergey Fedorchuk - Sergey Kalinitschew

(Unfortunately one day before I left Amsterdam, my digital photo camera was broken. Therefore I have to use my mobile phone, which results in photos that seem to have been made in the seventies. Fortunately Mr Rodriguez, who operates the electronical chess boards, made some photos that I could use as well.)

Playing hall 1

Playing hall 2

Playing hall 3

Me against Spraggett

And another one
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