Rest day, full of activity
Friday was a rest day, and one that we can conclude was well deserved. While the number of decisive games has been modest, the games have been well fought, with the players trying to grab a full point where possible. But, as they say, there are no easy opponents in Jermuk, and it is possible that the slightly cautious approach is indeed prudent for a 13 round event.
Regardless, chess fans have been treated to some fine chess, with several games standing out. Ivanchuk has put together a pair of gems, against Alekseev and Cheparinov, respectively. Aronian and Leko have each won two games, with Kasmidzhanov turning the tables on the Armenian favorite in round 5 with a nice win.
Back to the rest day: the participants took a trip up into the
mountains to visit Noravank, a 13th century Armenian monastery. It is
no surprise that the free day was spent at a religious site; Armenia
was, after all, the first nation to adopt Christianity as the state
religion when one of its kings declared just that in 301 AD. The
signature stone-crosses adorn the foreground of many churches in
Armenia, and Noravank is no exception.
After some light hiking and soaking in the sites, the players had a
delectable snack of fruit and wine with some Armenian pastries in a
cavern – one sure way of rediscovering your roots!
More sightseeing was followed by a lunch at a riverbank hosted by the
regional governor, and then it was off to the nature preserve to enjoy
the panoramic scenery and some wildlife.
All in all, the day away from the chessboard was full of vitality, culture, and Armenian hospitality. Round 6, coming up!