Women Grand Prix in Jermuk Starts Today

One of the most famous Armenian resorts- Jermuk hosts the fourth tournament from the Women Grand Prix Series from today. This small town (with a population of approximately six thousand people) is situated in the mountains with an altitude of 2080 meters. It is famous for its mineral water springs, green forests and fresh air.
Twelve players compete in the round robin event that will end on fifth of July, with only one free day on 30-th June. The time limit is one hour and thirty minutes for fourty moves, and thirty minutes additional time after that, with an increment of thirty seconds for every move.
The Zero Tolerance rule is applied, but this should not be a problem for the ladies, as they live literally some 15-20 meters away from the venue. All the games will be played in the Armenia hotel, which also hosted part of the male Grand Prix series.
The players are not allowed to offer draws to each other, but only throughout the arbiter when the position has a theoretical character, there is a three-fold repletion or perpetual check. Chief advisor for such cases will be the legendary champion Nona Gaprindashvili from Georgia. The six time women champion is also a guest of honour in Jermuk.
Before the opening ceremony there was a short players meeting in the lobby of the hotel, where the participants were greeted by the organizers and Jeffrey Borg. The chief arbiters from Armenia were presented to the participants and the most important details were clarified. The ladies received gifts and souvenirs from Jermuk.
The weather yesterday was quite tricky and no one was sure till the end if the opening ceremony in front of the hotel will take place. Rain was coming and going, but finally the weather was merciful, and the ceremony started in time.
The heroes of the future chess battles were presented to the audience, with short information about their major achievements so far. First the former world champions were invited to the stage. There are three of them- M. Chiburdanidze (Georgia), Xu Yuhua (China) and A. Stefanova (Bulgaria). They were directed to their places by life chess pieces. These chess figures stayed on the podium till the end, waiting for their final dance, but the lack of mobility caused an incident as one of them collapsed. Fortunately there was no serious injury for that chess hero.
FIDE president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov paid a tribute to the players, and made a short speech. He said that the tournament might be referred as an unofficial world championship not only because of the presence of three former world champions, but also for the quality of all the participants.
Ilymzhinov’s speech was followed by songs of famous Armenian singers. As the tournament is named after one of the most famous chess composers ever- Genrikh Kasparian, a short movie about him was shown after that. Kasparian was born hundred years ago.
Finally, the president of the country Serzh Sargsyan, who is also a president of the Armenian Chess Federation greeted the players before the drawing of lots took place. The players were presented with bouquets of flowers, in which their starting numbers were hidden.
The tournament starts today at three o’clock local time.

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