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Opening ceremony and technical meeting
By WGM Alina l'Ami

Paris - opening ceremony 324Already before the start of any Formula 1 race, one can feel the latent tension from the way the drivers race their motors with the cars immobile yet. Is a similar feeling to be expected when we speak about a different kind of Grand Prix competitions, such as the Paris 2013 chess tournament?
At first sight, the general picture displayed by the opening ceremony and the technical meeting suggest a negative answer. It was more like a high class and refined spectacle, rather than an anticipation of ruthless fight!

These events were hosted by an absolutely superb hall, Chapelle de la Villedieu, and the audience was honoured by the presence of the FIDE President, Kirsan ILyumzhinov, the Deputy Director General on Economy and Finance of “GC “Titan” (tournament sponsor) - Svetlana Titova , the Vice President of the urban community of St. Quentin, Alexandra Rosetti and the FFE President, Diego Salazar.
One could hardly guess the gladiators’ spirit lying inside the elegant 12 players, all dressed in suit and tie!

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The opening speech of the FIDE President, Kirsan ILyumzhinov
May I add the absolutely magnificent location? In reality it looks much more inspiring than a picture could tell.

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The FIDE President, Kirsan ILyumzhinov, the Deputy Director General on Economy and Finance of “GC “Titan” (tournament sponsor) - Svetlana Titova and the Vice President of the urban community of St. Quentin, Alexandra Rosetti enjoying the FFE President Diego Salazar's gifts.

All these are superficial appearence for all those knowing the inside psychologic subtleties of the chess World. Although the games were scheduled to start only the day after the technical meeting, one could bet that at least some of the players’ attention was only partly present. The drawing of lots is the best time for existential questions such as: How many Whites will I get? Will I have a psychologically tough opponent in the first round? Did I prepare in the best way for this important event, am I in the best possible shape?

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...might be some of Alexander Grischuk's thoughts.

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More Whites for Fabiano Caruana!

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But not for Ruslan Ponomariov, who got number 12 under his champagne bottle.

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Lovely artistic moment, performed by the Blackblancbeur band! 

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The players seem to be ready for the first round!
Vassily Ivanchuk was not able to attend the opening ceremony due to late arrival.

FIDE Grand Prix Series - Paris
Round 1  September 22nd
SNo. Name Rtg Res. Name Rtg SNo.
1 GM Fressinet Laurent 2708 - GM Ponomariov Ruslan 2756 12
2 GM Grischuk Alexander 2785 - GM Wang Hao 2736 11
3 GM Caruana Fabiano 2779 - GM Bacrot Etienne 2723 10
4 GM Ivanchuk Vassily 2731 - GM Dominguez Perez Leinier 2757 9
5 GM Nakamura Hikaru 2772 - GM Tomashevsky Evgeny 2703 8
6 GM Gelfand Boris 2764 - GM Giri Anish 2737 7

*Time control: 120 minutes for the first 40 moves, 60 minutes for the next 20 moves and then each player will be allotted 15 minutes after the second time control and an increment of 30 seconds per move will be allowed from move 61 onwards. And of course: no draws, according to Sofia rules!

Some players may dissimulate this inherent tension with excessive joyfullness, while others would stick to a polite but retained behaviour. It is a matter of style, but most surely they all feel the accumulating tension. And so do we all, spectators, commentators, specialists, anxiously waiting for the first move to be made. Because, ladies and gentlemen, I am glad to announce that at 19:00 CET, on Saturday September 21st, the Paris Grand Prix tournament was officially opened!

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Before we go into the 'war zone' we should toast for a beautiful event!

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Boris Gelfand in good spirits

For more pictures, kindly visit the Photo gallery.
The full pairings' overview can be found here.

We will all be waiting for you to watch us live tomorrow at 15:00 CET! Until then, like reall chess players, we need just a little bit more patience...

© FIDE Grand Prix 2013    |    |