After the Free Day

Yesterday was a free day in Rijeka, and most of the players took their time to recover after the first seven rounds. In the evening before it the organizers gave another good sample of their hospitality with the party for the participants. It was conducted in the Hemingway bar in Opatija, and all the players were presented with a typical Croatian drink, called “stock”. It is a kind of brandy with a specific taste. The morning saw many of the participants chasing away the stress with dances, and some drinks. The rest day that followed was really needed.
Apart from the ECU general Assembly, two important from chess political view events took place. Anatoly Karpov officially announced his candidature for the FIDE president, and Silvio Danailov made a cocktail party yesterday, with which he started his campaign for becoming an ECU President. Bulgarian’s motto in his campaign is “I know”, with which he stresses on the fact that he is in chess all his life- as a player, manager, trainer and organizer of important chess tournaments. In a short speech he explained his ideas, and showed his respect to the previous ECU presidents for the work that they have done so far. Among the guests at the cocktail were his rival, Ali Nihat Yazici, Anatoly Karpov, FIDE’s vice-president Georgios Makropolous, and many other officials. Some weeks ago Danailov made a generous gesture to Rumen Nikolov, a twelve years old chess player, and participant in the M-tel Juniour Circuit. Danailov presented his own money for Rumen, who needed an emergency eye operation in Germany.
In the meanwhile the tournaments continued with exciting games. After his somewhat lucky escape in the seventh round, Baadur Jobava beat the top seeded Zoltan Almasi today with the white pieces. The Georgian is sole leader now, and is the only player who has scored “plus six” so far. However, there are 408 participants, and it is not clear that such a score will suffice for the first place. Contrary to some other years the participants are not happy with short draws when they make reasonable score but continue to search the maximum.
In the female tournament Monica Socko is already sharing the first place with Victoria Cmilyte from Lithuania who won against K. Arakhamia-Grant in extremely sharp game.
The players’ open letter with demand for thirty-minute tolerance due to the travelling time was signed by hundred and ten participants. However the arbiters decided not to change the zero-rule tolerance for the obvious unfairness to those who have lost points already.
The town of Opatija is surrounded by the Ucka (Uchka) mountains. It is a popular tourist destination, near both the Italian and Slovenian boarders. The architecture is from the times of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the resort has a typical Mediatarian look.
There is a nice park near the Milenij hotel and a boulevard of fame on the main street. Today the weather got wormer, and very nice for walking, so I am sending you some pictures from this beautiful place.

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