Thursday, May 25, 2006

Larry Ermacora: Will Oz Players Cry?

Round 4 has just got underway, being 3pm Wed 24/5 here (11pm Sydney time). It's going to be tough for Australia today, outgunned on all boards, against Denmark for the men and against Serbia & Montenegro for the women. (Actually Montenegro broke off from Serbia in a political referendum last weekend, so perhaps the women's match is not legal? Politics has interfered just a little here so far, with two wrong flags being shown, for Chinese Taipei and the forbidden Japanese Imperial flag.)

I brought my old laptop along today and it connected OK in the press room. Yesterday I watched Ian Rogers here with his snazzy notebook editing at lightning speed excellent photos, taken by Cathy I think. Every now and then he jumped from that to the game shown on the next screen for quick discussion of move possibilities with his neighbour, zac, zac ,zac. Seeing Ian all hyped up made me feel the old man I am. Apologies to your readers, I have just turned 76!

I have a few photos, stills extracted from my video camera film, not as clear and sharp as Cathy's. I will shortly see if I can attach some to this email.

Is that Paris Hilton?

Last night I went to see the opening of a "chess lounge", actually in the middle of one of the main squares in the city centre. They set up giant set pieces and proceeded to teach chess, in an amusing way, to the gathering public. Unfortunately for the organisers it started to sprinkle with rain and they had to beat a hasty retreat to the nearest arcade.

However, it wasn't that bad as free goodies to eat and drink were being offered to chess lovers by the caffè-bars in the arcades surrounding the square. The arcades in the historic centre are beautiful, the most extensive in Italy (similar to in height and width to the arcade going to the Opera House in Sydney. So, yes, a lot is being done here to publicise chess. The Italian soccer season has just ended, with a big scandal about fixing of games, so maybe a lot of disgusted soccer fans will take up chess instead! But I still don't see many spectators here: it costs 5 Euros for a silver ticket that gives access to the stands and walkways surrounding the very large playing area, whilst with a E20 gold ticket you may walk the carpeted aisles inside the playing floor.

In any case, as I have said before, very few boards are close enough to the cordoned areas. The organisers were expecting 1500 spectators a day. Anyone with Internet at home can follow the games much better there as I keep saying. A pity that you in Australia have to sleep as well. Actually Amiel, let me know if the Internet has been satisfactory for you. Irina Berezina hinted that her husband had some problems in that regard.

I heard (was it yesterday?) that the youngest player in the Olympiad broke down and cried when told by her captain to resign a hopeless game. Poor girl! It takes a lot of nervous energy to concentrate so intensely for so long, and then to see the game slipping away from you. A win is so sweet. Will some Oz players cry today?

How are the Philipines going? The men are playing Colombia today and on ratings they should come through. The women instead will have a tough fight against Kazakhstan.

Bye for now.

- Larry Ermacora

For the next couple of weeks, during the Olympiad, I temporarily surrender some blog real estate to a guest blogger - Larry Ermacora. He will be providing reports all the way from Torino after having been officially accredited by Olympiad officials as a journo for this blog.

Larry is a well known personality in Australian chess circles. He was an administrator in both Western Australia and New South Wales. And, in 1990, he was awarded the highly coveted Koshnitsky medal.


Anonymous said...

Trust the italians to have a painting of a naked Paris Hilton in a "chess lounge". haha.

Anonymous said...

Good to have comments from someone on site- thanks Larry and also to TCG for setting it up.