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     Volume 5 Issue 87 | March 24, 2006 |

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Time Out

Chess and Festivity                                    Chess

Modern tournaments are a rather dull and drab affair, with a few chess addicts watching the games with great concentration in a quiet atmosphere. What is missing here is festivity. The players are hardened professionals having little time for any other pursuit. They are interested in appearance fee, good hotel, and prize money, bothering little about whether the tournament draws spectators or not. Honestly speaking, the professional masters like a tranquil setting with a few or no whispering chess fans around. You are not allowed to talk or make any noise in a tournament hall, so when a master makes a brilliant or a very bad move all that the watchers can do is exchange looks with fellow chess fans. Chess organisers are very good at muffling your voice! You will often see the fans rushing out of the hall to find a place where they can talk a bit. They settle among themselves who had foreseen the master move or the wonderful idea! It's interesting to watch players expressing their ideas or executing their plans in the language of chess, which is a mute one.

Things were different in the past, though silence was always maintained in the tournament hall. The great tournaments generated a great deal of enthusiasm and were almost always accompanied by concerts and guided tours for the guests. The great Hastings tournament in 1895 drew the very best from all round the world. And it turned out to be a grand festival for the inhabitants of the small town of Hastings in England. The Vienna 1898 meet was a very lengthy affair (Double round robin among 20 players with some off days!). It was arranged to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Austrian King's ascending the throne. The players enjoyed the royal hospitality for nearly two months! The New York tournament, 1924, created quite a stir among the American chess lovers. Most of the leading masters of the time participated in the meet held at Hotel Alamac.

Here is a game from New York 1924.

White-Alexander Alekhine
Black-Emanuel Lasker [D35]
New York 1924

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 Nbd7 5.cxd5 exd5 6.Bf4 c6 7.e3 Nh5 8.Bd3 Nxf4 9.exf4 Bd6 10.g3 00 11.00 Re8 12.Qc2 Nf8 13.Nd1 f6 14.Ne3 Be6 15.Nh4 Bc7 16.b4 Bb6 17.Nf3 Bf7 18.b5 Bh5 19.g4 Bf7 20.bxc6 Rc8 21.Qb2 bxc6 22.f5 Qd6 23.Ng2 Bc7 24.Rfe1 h5 25.h3 Nh7 26.Rxe8+ Rxe8 27.Re1 Rb8 28.Qc1 Ng5 29.Ne5 fxe5 30.Qxg5 e4 31.f6 g6 32.f4 hxg4 33.Be2 gxh3 34.Bh5 Rb2 35.Nh4 Qxf4 36.Qxf4 Bxf4 0-1

Position after 24...h5


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