The Brigade is Resting

Время публикации: 25.05.2012 18:17 | Последнее обновление: 28.05.2012 10:49

Is there a big chance of the match Anand - Gelfand to be decided in the classical games? The Tretyakov Gallery is more and more being filled with the smell of tie-breaks as the time nears to the end of the twelve games...

The ninth encounter reminded of the third, but with the roles changed. Back then, Gelfand put himself in mortal danger with a few unfortunate moves and the fact that he managed to survive looked like a miracle. This time it was all the other way round. Anand ended up in an unpleasant position immediately after his 15...Bxf3. But, it seems, someone up there had a heightened sense of justice and decided that it's time to return what was owed.

It's very interesting to watch the players. They have opposite ways of hiding emotions, but the end result is the same: it's hard to understand anything. Anand spends most of his time at the board, rarely changing his poses and facial expressions. Sometimes, of course, some unforeseen emotions show themselves and Gelfand tries to read them. However, if it was all that easy, Vishy wouldn't have been the World Champion for so many years. There is a feeling that sometimes he adds deceiving emotions on purpose. And they look more than realistic.

I remember the moment when Gelfand painfully hesitated whether to play c4-c5 in the ninth game. The Indian looked a bit agitated and playful sparks showed in his eyes; it was an exact image of a man who was consumed by a carefully concealed dismay. But what did that mean?! Now, after the game and having been to the press conference, it's possible to assume that it was a bluff after all, since Vishy admitted he wasn't afraid of the pawn's move. But it was possible to say exactly the opposite from his looks!

Boris Gelfand, "How should I read you, Vishy?"

Did this careful emotional play affect Gelfand? It's hard to say and no one would admit it before the end of the match. But it's a fact that the battle is going on all fronts.

Boris, on the other hand, likes to make sharp movements, put his head in his hands and shake it from side to side. What's more, it's quite hard to guess what it means in each individual case. There could be a whole range of internal feelings: from missed opportunities to happy outlooks. And, as you have already guessed, he also substitutes one for the other from time to time.

The theatre of two actors

It's possible that some readers would blame me for such a baseless rhetoric, since these are not some children playing, but these are super grandmasters and they are not susceptible to these tricks. You may be right. But I'm inclined to think not. First of all, these are the humans playing; besides, their nerves are especially exposed and sensitive in the World Championship Match. If Grischuk, who is Mr Cool himself, tells about the big impression a "Fanta" bottle in Anand's hands made on him, it's possible to assume the sort of effect caused by other of the Indian's tricks.

More and more people come to watch "the theatre of two actors" live.

When the playing theatre can't fit anyone else (typically half an hour after the start of a game), the outer hall starts filling up.

If there are no comfortable seats left in the hall, the courtyard starts filling up. It has its own advantages: apart from following the game live, it's possible to play yourself armed with a cup of aromatic coffee.

The press centre and the VIP room continue to live their own parallel lives. 

Kateryna Lahno has arrived to help her husband, who's working as a journalist at the match.

Chess pulls people together.

"And I have an Apple!"

There are familiar faces in the VIP room.

Alexander Motylev is in the company of Valery Krylov.

There's one thing, unfortunately, that is not accessible to average spectators: meeting with guests of honour. Sometimes, when they have time and desire, they join video transmission in the commentary room. But often they don't. They always have something to tell and to surprise with, as meetings with the press showed.

The painting The Brigade is Resting has become the symbol of the match, as it's already known. The painter Popkov was interested in chess and a book about the painter, authored by Petr Kozorezenko, was a wonderful addition to the whole concept of integrating chess and art at this match.

You can listen to more than half an hour of the questions and answers session with Edvard Radzinsky (a historian and entertainer) recorded live on our site's radio (in Russian).

It can't be said that the last two playing days were particularly interesting from the chess point of view. But the world has frozen in an anticipation of what will happen next. I, your humble correspondent, have frozen together with the world.

Until next time and with more news from the scene!

In the company of the idol (photo by Eteri Kublashvili)


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  • The weather was excellent today in Wijk - windless with the sun shining and even warming a bit. 

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  • The participants get ready for their tenth games at Wijk aan Zee and the spectators prepare to watch them playing for the tenth time. And it seems like it's not bothering yet... Soon everything will be illuminated, the tournament reaches its decisive phase.