Grand Swiss underway in locked down Riga
Ignoring the lockdown!
No mandatory masks, no social distancing. It is great being an elite chessplayer when the rules do not apply to you! Absolute freedom of movement.
As the pandemic continues, apparently pushed by the political elites more than by the virus itself, it is becoming very clear that the ‘rules’ really only apply to the poor citizens of the world.
If you were to ask the citizens of Riga what their lives are like right now, they would reply: mandatory masks, social distancing and curfews. The stuff of Orwellian dystopia. Apparently Covid does not attack the elites…
About 20 players who were slated to participate in Riga before the Latvia government, last week, imposed a nation wide lockdown decided not to participate. Some out of worry of the circulating virus in Riga, others out of solidarity with the captive ordinary citizens of Riga:
A group of chessplayers frolicking in a park in Riga; another group of chessplayers can be seen across the street. But notice that there are no citizens of Riga. Are they hiding in their homes? After all, the covid situation in Riga is supposed to be so critical that the country is in lockdown!
But even so, the Grand Swiss tournaments (open and female) have attracted a strong lineup. The open section has 108 participants (107 grandmasters!), including one female. Both tournaments are 11 round swiss events.
The time control in the open tournament is 40 moves in 100 minutes, followed by 20 moves in 50 minutes, followed by 15 minutes to finish.
The time control in the female tournament is shorter: 40 moves in 90 minutes followed by 30 minutes to finish. Why? Because women don’t need to think as much as men? (Ha Ha. Ask FIDE for a non-sexist explanation).
And similarly, the prize fund in the open tournament is $425,000 while in the female tournament it is $125,000.