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San Luis por Adentro

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Argentina's largest newspaper, Clarín, has been running daily reports of moderate depth on the San Luis world championship. But just about every day they have also run an accompanying color piece. One was on "the strange Mr. Ilyumzhinov," another on doping control in chess, and today they tackle the very low number of spectators, which was made painfully obvious from some of the photos. Fewer than 200 people have come each day to the $3.3 million dollar, specially built venue that can seat 860. (It looks like a lot fewer than 200.)

They blame this on the internet (as usual, as if the desire to watch games live instead of replaying them a few minutes later is so strong people would otherwise leave their homes), the games taking place during work hours, and on the fact that the games are being locally televised live with commentary by Argentine WGM Claudia Amura and her husband, Mexican GM Gilberto Hernández. The playing site is sixteen kilometers (10 miles) from town. Almost nobody has come from outside the area, they say. Entry is five pesos (less than two dollars) per day and there is a daily raffle for a home appliance. This page has a good picture of the new building, click it to enlarge.

Clarín chess columnist GM Pablo Zarnicki tried to explain whether or not this is a "real" world championship ("it depends") and chastised the organizers for charging $40 to watch the games live on the official site. Other tidbits from various local reports: Topalov and Kasimdzhanov were both accepting when asked about the drug testing, saying they were okay with it if it was necessary. Kasim said he'd been tested twice in the past with no trouble. The top three finishers in San Luis will be tested, along with someone randomly selected.

Kasimdzhanov said he was delighted to finally beat Anand for the first time. The day before, after losing to Polgar, Kasimdzhanov had stormed out of the hall. Explaining himself after round four, the Uzbekistani said "it never happened to me before in my career. I was losing, then I had a chance to win, then I blundered horribly. That's why I left like that." Despite his loss to Kasimdzhanov, Anand posed for photos and signed autographs.

After his win over Morozevich, Svidler made typically self-critical comments, saying he had "played the middlegame poorly. I didn't know what to do and got off track." Leko, after beating Polgar in a miniature, on his poor start: "I put pressure on myself at the start and distanced myself from the title. Now I just want to play some good games." As mentioned elsewhere, Anand had prepared his 23.Qd2! against Adams when getting ready for Kamsky in 1995 and later when preparing to meet Karpov in Lausanne in 1998.


how much do they charge for spectator entry? Great little tidbits Mig, btw. The sort of thing Short should be providing, except he's busy feeding his confessed dipsomania.

Entry is five pesos = 1.7 dollars.

Very sad about the low number of spectators. But internet can hardly be blamed for it, i can't be the only one watching the games on the net who would instead go there every day if i had the chance.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on October 3, 2005 7:51 AM.

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