21 February 2017

Photographic Proof of Presence

While gathering background info on last week's post, Joop van Oosterom (1937–2016), I flipped through old copies of Europe Echecs (EE) looking for stories about early editions of the Melody Amber tournaments. The second edition, held in March-April 1993, was the first to use the Amber formula of one rapid tournament and one blindfold tournament. Before I found its writeup in the May 1993 EE, I looked at earlier issues of EE, where the photo shown below caught my eye.

Europe Echecs, March 1993

'Aubervilliers : Computers among the GMs'
'Nearly 850 players, that makes a crowd! A partial (!) view of the tournament'
(Photo: Alain Fayard)

'I think I played in that tournament', I said to myself. At the time I was working and living in Paris from Monday through Friday, then commuting back to Brussels on the weekend. On one particular weekend I had to stay in Paris -- I can't remember why -- and decided to play chess. Friday evening at the local chess club someone mentioned Aubervilliers and told me how to get there, so the next day I took the metro, found the tournament site, and played.

Because it was a rapidplay time control I didn't record my moves and I have no record of the event in any of my chess papers from that period. Back to the photo, that's me in the third row of tables from the bottom, third player from the left, facing the camera.

I have a vague memory of a young Michael Adams at the tournament, but his name isn't mentioned in the EE report. If someone told me I dreamed the whole thing, I wouldn't argue. But there's that photo.

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