The picture of Kirsan (again!) I sent you today is with a player who won (or came second?) in a big Russian chess tournament with 3000 players and $US10,000 in prizes. The prize-giving took place here at 2pm today with some fanfare and a bevy of pretty Russian female photographers. I didn't really understand what it was all about, other than perhaps more publicity for Kirsan. The election is approaching and the politicking is in full swing. I am making enquiries whether I could attend the FIDE Congress to see what goes on. Apparently the Kok camp hasn't given up yet.
Ian Rogers asked me a while ago whether I sent you photos of nude women. He was referring to the photo of one cute lady trying to distract the man player by a type of discovered check mate. [Larry is probably referring to this - TCG] In fact it was one of 64 paintings done by a French artist and exhibited here very colourfully on a chessboard background. It is said that the artist (known only as LJM) is a humanist who, "a century after Cubism has found an answer to the question of his time. The characters who play chess in his pictures are ourselves, they are our image concealed in his walk through the world. Man can use chess to escape destruction and solitude". How does that grab you?
I must say that there are some wierd ideas about chess around. Take the cinema. I have not seen a full feature film with chess as a theme which left a good impression on me. In Turin there is a very original Museum of the Cinema and soon they propose to show some films that have chess in their plot. Let's hope they are better than the ones I've seen.
Many shops in town are also trying to do their bit by including chess in their window displays, particularly bookshops who display all books on chess they could find in their stock. I'm afraid all this, though pretty to see, will melt away like snow in the mountains very soon. Nevertheless overall the Olympiad must have had a positive promotional effect for chess in Italy.
Now I must go and look at some of the games, to see how our gladiators are doing.
I read in today's "Turin moves" No9, the Olympiad newspaper, that the anti-doping controls will be based on urine tests not on blood tests as previously reported. A bit embarassing after a hard game. The player is selected by ballot during play but not told about it till the game is over. Nevertheless it must be a bit of a shock to be picked on, out of hundreds of players. I suppose the player can continue post-game analysis in his or her head, whilst obligingly filling the vessel.
- Larry Ermacora