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GM Joel Lautier in Zimniada 2008

The Sixth International Festival of the Winter Games on Lake Baikal

The Sixth International Festival of the Winter Games on Lake Baikal started the other day in Irkutsk. Racing on snowmobile, skiing with slides, football, ice chequered party figures … All of this took place in “Winteriada – 2008”. Famous French grandmaster Joel Lautier took participation in the festival opening ceremony. He played an outdoor chess game against the team of strongest players from Irkutsk region, with the pieces conveniently sculptured from Baikal clean ice. The French reportedly enjoyed small advantage towards the endgame.

– This is my first time in Siberia and also for the first time I play chess with pieces made of ice. This is very fun! – said Joel Lautier. – Frankly, at some point it became easier to play blindfold, because the figures are all similar.

Once top grandmaster, Joel Lautier retired from competitive chess to devote full time to his business in Russia (ed. note)

This year, for the first time a snowmobile race was organized as part of the “Winteriada”. Around fifty locals enjoyed the adrenaline rush.
– This is a full drive! Actually skiing on snow is already extreme, but it’s all aggregating in a race, it’s just downed! – says Oleg Menkov, one of the snowmobile drivers.

Next on the schedule are marathon race Tanhoy-Listvyanka, Baikalsk Cup skiing and Olkhon championship in ice fishing. “Zimniada” ends on April.

Source: Komsomolskaya Pravda

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