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Chess on Tour: by bike to Dresden

Dresden, 01/08/2008
This Saturday, the last stage of the Tour de Schach will bring the participants to Dresden – finally. They will be welcomed by Mayor Winfried Lehmann at 1:00 pm in the newly opened Café of the Dresden City Museum, “Café Krubsacius”. But there won’t be much time to rest, as shortly afterwards the bikers get together to play out the winner of the “2nd Chess Biker Cup“. Therefore, the enthusiastic sportsmen and –women are to trade their bikes off for chessboards in order to determine the victor of the most quaint tournament of the year. Rule is: Only who rode his bike in the last or any stage of the tour is allowed to participate in the tournament.

In advance of the Chess Olympiad in Dresden Hamburg, Munich, Leipzig and Siegen had the honour of hosting this elite chess tournament. Hence, from 2005 to 2008 bike tours from all these four cities to Dresden had been organized. The starting signal of the 2008 tour was resounded in Siegen on July 12. From there, the participants made their way to Dresden in 20 stages. Along the way they visited numerous interesting cities and places such as Marburg, Eisenach, Gotha, Erfurt, Weimar, Jena and Altenburg. The biking chess fanatics aim at promoting the Chess Olympiad the make chess sports more popular by connecting former Olympiad host cities with this year’s venue.

During the 485 km long distance the sportsmen were accompanied by sunshine and rain and had to overcome exhausting (at least for untrained bikers) mountain passes and difficult serpentine descents. Not even tumbles and technical difficulties passed them by. But the deserved  meed awaited at the end of every stage. Together with the local clubs and the inhabitants of the individual stage destinations opportunities to play chess were organized in public places, pedestrian precincts and on market places. They played simultaneous chess, ultra chess, garden cess and „coffee house“ chess. Thus, every destination was turned into a chess city for at least one day. And in Weimar, the chess booth received a very prominent place. Directly in front of the German National Theater Chessy was promoting the great chess event of the year – the Chess Olympiad. In Erfurt, for a change the pedestrian shopping street “Anger” was venue of many chess games.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another highligth of this year’s tour was the day in Eisenach. There, the famous and historical Wartburg was sieged by dozens of chess players. Even First Mayor of the city, Matthias Doht could not be kept from welcoming the chess players personally. Following the reception, German youth headcoach Bernd Vökler played simultaneous chess on ten boards.

The bikes combined their passion for chess with their interest in riding their bikes to bring the Chess Olympiad across country. Tomorrrow, Saturday, 02 August 2008, they will finally arrive in Dresden.