Features Aug 8, 2014 | 11:25 AMby Colin McGourty

Faces of the Olympiad

More than 1500 players from 174 countries are taking part in the Chess Olympiad, providing countless themes and many beautiful photographs. The following report contains some highlights, which always have a short story behind them. Well ok, almost always.

Report and all photos by Georgios Souleidis 

Let’s begin with this photo. Daniel Fridman and his wife Anna Zatonskih had only just arrived in Tromsø – without luggage, as also happened to various other players with connecting flights. Nevertheless, they remained in high spirits. Such joy is typical of both of them, but it was also typical of the Olympiad Opening Ceremony as a whole. 

Everyone involved - players, officials, coaches... - must go through a metal detector, just as you do in an airport, before entering the hall. The same applied to Ulf Andersson, who’s here as the Argentinian (!) coach. The 63-year-old chess legend wouldn’t hurt a fly, but he still had to undergo security checks.

Now and again players, arbiters or coaches ask me to take a photo of them, and in this case it was Athanasios Mastrovasilis who came up to me. Instead of smiling into the camera, however, this is what followed.

The first time I saw Garry Kasparov was in the hotel where he was staying. He was tied up with his election campaign and looked stressed and tired. Two days later I saw him again with this girl in the playing hall. I suspected it was his daughter, but I still went up to him to confirm my guess. He was very relaxed and friendly when he responded, “Yes, yes, she’s my daughter”. 

This guy remained in the VIP area. I had no idea who he was, but I was almost forced to take a photo of him by my colleagues. He’s the Norwegian politician Bård Vegar Solhjell. He’s a big chess fan and at the time of this photo he was following the games of the Olympiad live. What I really like about this photo is his gaze, but also how the many small items like the ID badge, cups or water bottles can be placed “accidentally”. Even the boxes in the background are well-framed, and seem to characterise the “provisional” nature of the photo perfectly.

Destiny Sisior, 10 years old, from Palau – enough said…

FM Roger Matoewi (Suriname)

Ok, for this photo I’ve got no story, but is it every day you see a chess player with such a hairstyle!

Let's end with a small puzzle. These four women play together on a single team. Can you guess which?

See also:

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