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"Sunny day, strong opponents"

Dresden, 21/08/2008
Past Saturday, 17 August 2008, chess was live to see in the two-hour ZDF show “Fernsehgarten”. The three members of the German national teams, Jan Gustafsson, Klaus Bischoff and Melanie Ohme, were challenged by 32 players each at “Speed Chess”.
Photo: Jan Fischer, Frankenpost


As venue of this unique chess event served the large blocked up parking lot outside the ZDF TV garden im Mainz, where three U-shaped chess arenas were set up. There, the three professionals had to face a total of 96 chess players waiting for them dressed in bright white Olympiad t-shirts.
The Fernsehgarten chess tournament was opened by Jan Gustafsson. A few minutes later it was on Klaus Bischoff and Melanie Ohme to begin to play. The unique feature of the speed chess event was that each of the three players had to move the pieces as soon as he/she got to the next board. Thus, the difficulty was the pace that was brought to the games, as was explained by national head coach Uwe Bönsch: „The challenge is to get by as quickly as possible. To draw immediately, not to think.“ For the three players it meant to push forward in order to achieve the ambitious aim of 50 victories set by the ZDF.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dirk Jordan, Chairman of the Chess Olympiad commented on the exciting tournament. While Gustafsson, Ohme and Bischoff took their circles in the chess arena Alexander Klaws, Costa Cordalis, Henri Valentino and Angelika Milstner performed on stage in the Fernsehgarten show. Moreover, a cooking quiz and make-up and hair artists entertained the spectators. Shortly before the end of the show Uwe Bönsch happily announced that the target of 50 wins in the three arenas was hit: almost 75% of the points were gained by the national team members. They put up a good fight and did a brilliant job watched by millions of spectators in front of their home TVs. 

The ZDF simultaneous chess tournament proved to be one of the highlights in the runner-up to the Chess Olympiad Dresden and an excellent opportunity to promote chess as a sport and the Olympiad as the main chess event of the year.