14th World Champion Alexander Khalifman present
Position of the day
Black to move and win.
Black to move and win.


A Midsummer Night's Dream.


I had a dream. A silly dream. Of course about chess, no wonder you see that kind of dream having 20 years of the professional career in chess behind. But that was a weird dream. Let me tell you one after another.

The opening of the big tournament. Don't ask me what tournament it was, where and what kind of - swiss or knockout - I haven't an idea. It's a dream after all. But definitely it wasn't a round-robin tournament - there were too many players. Probably there were big prizes because of the well-known audience. I said hi someone, asked how they were, talking about different stuff. But don't ask me who I talked - that's a dream after all. Faces were familiar, but I wasn't sure. Suddenly everything became quiet. A man, serious man came in - you know what I mean. So he stood motionless in the middle of the hall. Then he said run-of -the-mill stuff, someone asked questions, he answered. But that's not all.

-And now ladies and gentlemen, he said, let me introduce you the most favorable and distinguished person and patron. No doubt that our tournament wouldn't have been possible without this holder of this, Knight Commander of that etc. (and there went the whole list of the services and regalia. No wonder, it took two minutes to count them).

All people were applauding and then a corpulent old man came in. He was in uniform which looked like militant. He wore a bunch of decorations as well. Then he came toward to microphone.

And he said "We're glad to see everyone in this hall and I'd like to wish you luck and great fights for the main prize of mine".

And then all audience was applauding again. And the host had made a turn to the director and said in a low voice: " Now let's take a look whom you've brought".

Slowly he watched faces attentively and with a company of the director walked into the hall. Suddenly he stopped and gazed at on of the chessplayers and addressed either to the director either to player or the audience - "What's that? No way! It's absolutely impossible to take a part in my tournament with such a big nose. It's a beak or something! Please would you be so kind to leave us at once".

And then it started fuss and confusion - all mess. The director stared into the distance, someone mumbled something. The chessplayer with a big nose (honestly I don't think that was a really big nose. A normal size, you know, nothing special) at first blushed then became pale, then he wanted to say something but hesitated, so he got up and walked out in a hurry. Colonel (I don't know why I'd decided that he'd been a colonel, but anyway - a colonel - that's a dream after all) moved slowly farther. The director followed him.

"And who is this lop-eared guy? No. No way! You will never play in my tournament"!

Young guy with big ears tried to say something to the director of the tournament. But he shrugged his shoulders. There was a dumb show - the young man had no intention to coming out. The colonel and the director stayed at their places. Nobody moved. Finally someone went up to the director and tried to explain something about the press and the public opinion. He listened to and then came up.

- Please, have your sits, don't distract me from my work.

Finally the Big-ears (I'm not going to hurt anyone, I just paraphrase the colonel's words and after all that's just a dream) took a paper, put something down on it, went up to the director and handed him a statement. The director folded it and put it into the hip- pocket. The Big-ears guy moved towards the door.

And then... it started, everything became a mess.

Hey, you! Yes, you with a beard! No, not you, but you fellow! Yes, you fat fellow with a red beard. Get out!

Hey old man, you look so slick! Oh, you don't play. Get out! Hey, you bald buddy! What a damn cap you have! Take it off! Oh, you don't want to! You can't!? Dismissed! Who you? Who is this red woman? No women in my tournament! They supposed to do their own business. Hey you! Yes, I'm talking to you - damn curly fellow....

After a while all "unsuitable" competitors had been sent out. The colonel's face became brighter, he calmed down and returned to the hall and said in a smooth voice.

-Now, I'd like to congratulate everyone on the beginning of the competition. Also I'd like to ask the main referee to start casting of lots of the first tour.

It's a funny thing, but me who is fat and bearded (no, not you - it was me) had been kept in the list. What a nuisance! I was bored and disgusted after all this crap. All this stuff made me uneasy. My good friends and colleagues whom I'd known for ages were sent out for no special reason. So, I got up and moved towards the door. The dozen of competitors joined me. Someone started to write down a statement or something but I didn't care. Most people stayed. Probably they loved chess. Either they just loved money. May be they had big families back home and the needed money or they just didn't like the guy with big ears either the guy with a big nose either the old player with a permanent sarcastic smile, either the lady with ginger hair either all together. I don't know. May be he was a law to himself. And we shouldn't poke into the other people's affairs. Or may be...Who knows?

Well, that's the end of the story. Trying to figure out what would happen. I woke up. What a strange dream I had! What's the point of it? Anyway I'm not going to ask an advice from any dream-readers or something, because I never believe to that kind of crap. No way!

P.S. I'd like to congratulate all competitors of the World's Championship-2004 and wish them luck in a professional and human improvement.

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