Views of The Chess Organisers
By Alex Baburin
journalists interview players, but it is also
interesting to hear opinions about the chess world
chess organisers, arbiters and sponsors. One
needs to start somewhere and thus on the 26th of January I conducted interviews with two
people, who work a lot to make the Corus Tournament
in Wijk aan Zee a success. Our first interview with Anneke Eder, secretary of the Corus
tournament. This interview was originally published in Chess
Anneke, could you please
tell us how you got involved in chess?
It started five years
ago. I worked for Corus (then Hoogovens)
and they asked me to help with organisation of
their tournament. I knew nothing about chess,
but I said that I would like to try that work. And
I liked it so much - this chess world!
So, you have seen the chess
world for five people. How would you compare chess
players to 'normal' people? :-)
They are normal people,
only maybe more lonely - you never see groups
You have seen many top
Grandmasters. What is your impression
of them? Is it easy to communicate
Sometimes it is very
easy. But sometimes it is a little bit difficult
and when they lose a game it can be very difficult!
What about their sense of
dress? Do you have anything to say about this?
Players in the top
section have a very good dress code - they always
dress well. But players in the lower sections
of the tournament can do better with their dress!
:-) But things are improving, it was worse 2-3
Is the sponsor happy with the
tournament? Does it get adequate return for its money?
Yes, we are happy with
the publicity. This year we had the tournaments a
few times on Dutch TV, so the tournament
gets a lot of attention. But in general chess is
not very media-friendly.
So, you do not regret that you
job five years ago?
Not at all!
Anneke, thank you very
much for your time!
You are welcome!
Our second interview
is with Jeroen van den Berg (seen right with Kasparov)
one of the main organisers of the event and
its Tournament Director. Photo:
Monica Cardinale This interview was originally published in Chess
Jeroen, what is your
opinion about the current situation in the chess world, when we have
different World Championships, different
time controls and when so many changes
are proposed by FIDE?
From the point of view of
the organiser, this is rather confusing. I already
said in several newspapers that we have a
tremendous field here this year - world's 1-9
players. And among them we have the former World
Champion, the new World Champion and yet another
World Champion. While I very proud of this field,
I would rather prefer if we had only one World
Champion. You probably know what I mean. This
whole business of having two Championships
is really damaging for the chess world. Now already
for 7 or 8 years we have such a situation and
the sooner it will be resolved, the better. As for
new time controls and all changes from FIDE, on one
hand I can understand why they want to speed
up the game. It will be easier for organisers to
manage tournaments. But as a chess player and
fan I am afraid that these changes will hurt the
game. You can reach higher level of play in a
8-hour game than in a 4-hour game. Also, for the
Internet, which in my opinion is very good
for chess, it does not matter how long the game
lasts - people don't watch it all the time anyway.
Maybe FIDE wants to make it
more attractive for TV?
My experience tells me
that at least in Holland, country with good chess
traditions and media attention, it will not
make any difference. This year our tournament was
on TV a few times, but it is always for a couple
of minutes only. I think that it is much better to
try to take advantage of the Internet, particularly
if in a few years it will merge with TV somehow.
What do you think of the
attraction of chess to sponsors? Presumably
it is not easy to find them sponsors
for such a big event?
It is unfair to compare
chess with, say, golf or tennis, as chess tournaments
are of interest only to those who can play
themselves. But because the mind is involved,
sponsors are interested.
Are you happy with the way the
tournament is going?
Yes. Before the
tournament I was afraid that there would be many
draws as we have many players of similar
strength, but my fears were unfounded. Everyone is
trying -Kasparov, Kramnik, Morozevich and many
others show fighting spirit. For example, look at
the game Ivanchuk-Kramnik - an incredible fight!
Thank you for the interview!
You are welcome!
These interviews were
originally published in Chess