Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Game of Love

Played out on 64 squares, say the Masters:

I came in search of Brazilian dancing girls, sex, violence and castling. So far, I have found only the castling. ....

Recent events would lead a man to expect much more from an evening of chess. Emilio Cordova, 15, an international master from Peru, was crowned South American chess champion in January. The teenager celebrated by running away to Brazil and reappearing in the arms of Adriane Oliveira, a 29-year-old single mother from Sao Paulo.

Miss Oliveira was variously described as "an exotic dancer" (the commonly reported version) or "an NGO worker dedicated to putting on shows" (what Emilio told the world and his father).

Last week, Emilio returned home a Latin American hero. He had proved that chess was no longer a game for the socially maladjusted genius. Chess was sexy.

Nor is it only Latin Americans:

....Maria Manakova, a 33-year-old grandmaster. She's there at number eight in the World Chess Beauty Contest, organised by Vladislav Tkachiev, a grandmaster from Kazakhstan. ....

Someone in the international chess community is unwise enough to provide her Moscow phone number. "Chess is very sexy game," breathes Miss Manakova, in heavily accented English. "When two people make moves, like in sex, like in love, they do some moves to win. Yes, not only he, but she, the woman. There are very close parallels between these two things: chess and sex. No, I don't mean sex. I mean the game of love.

"When I first played my ex-husband Miroslav Tosic - he is Yugoslav grandmaster - I made a move. I didn't go with my king to the corner, I went to the centre, and my ex-husband thought, 'Oh, she's so brave'. He fell in love with me immediately, because in this move was my character, my wish to be with him. Maybe I didn't want to show it, but maybe I wanted him to win a little bit. I surrendered myself to him. He liked that."

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