Ice Chess - Pitting London and Moscow!

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"Chess is a challenging game at the best of times. But try playing it in Trafalgar Square, with huge pieces carved from ice – on a relatively balmy British day that threatened to turn pawns to puddles.," writes the Washington Post. "Organizers of London's Russian Winter Festival knew players in their ice chess match would be battling not only each other but the weather."

Fortunately the match was completed and the sculptures survived, despite a drizzly day and temperatures that reached 55 degrees [12.8°C]"

Only some of them, really. The chess pieces were carved to look like local landmarks, e.g. the king was the Gothic tower that houses Big Ben. That was still intact at the end of the hour-long match, which began at 8 a.m., althought some of the other pieces were almost indistinguishable by the time the match finished. The pieces were supposed to survive for three hours. Russia's "king" on the London board, which was crafted in the shape of a Kremlin tower, lost its Soviet star before the game even began. The temperature in Moscow's Pushkinskaya Square was 5°C [41°F], well above average for the time of year.

The games were played on huge chessboards that had been laid out in the British and Russian capitals, with GMs Nigel Short and Anatoly Karpov captaining the teams. Players and spectators in both cities were connected by satellite link.

"Although Karpov and Short were supposed to be calling the shots," report the BBC, "it was their junior team-mates who were behind some fairly aggressive play from both sides. It seemed to be the eight-year-old chess prodigies making the decisions." After an hour, with the pieces dripping litres of water, the Russians offered a draw which the British accepted.

Check out the rest of the story and more pictures HERE


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