Feature

Players Replicas to Pose for Photos, While Real Players Avoid Being in Public

How do you keep the world’s chess elite safe while they are taking part in the most important tournament in their careers in a country where all sports events are put on hold amid the coronavirus scare? You keep them isolated as much as possible. 

World Chess, a media company and an official partner of FIDE, the chess governing body, developed an innovative way to supplement the event’s coverage without putting the players at risk: Ken and Barbie-like models of the players are prepared and will be available for photography and filming while the players can be safe during the event.

5-inch players’ replicas, wearing suits as ties as per FIDE regulations, sitting at the chess tables, can be photographed shaking opponents hands, while the real players will avoid doing that based on the recent health advisory.

“Unlike in boxing or tennis, in chess players have not been historically docile to pose for photos, especially after losing an important game,” explains Ilya Mereznon, World Chess CEO, “Now, with the coronavirus and stress, they will probably avoid appearing in public. Having organized numerous tournaments and aware of this, World Chess will supplement the event’s coverage with photos of 5-inch replicas of the players, so the media and organizers can have more assets for the event’s coverage”

Images will be available for all media and chess fans alike to use with Creative Commons license.

The images are set to supplement the official coverage. FIDE’s official photographers and accredited media provide official images, which are available from the FIDE press office

Alexeenko shaking Alexander Grischuk’s hand in the first round of the Candidates Tournament. Real players will probably avoid shaking hands with the opponents in line with the recent health advisory. Shaking hands is one of the most common ways to infect someone with the coronavirus. Alexeenko and Grischuk are both from Russia.
Van Hao and Ding Liren, both from China, the country most severely hit with the coronavirus. A historic handshake. Ding Liren is one of the top seeds at the event and one of the clear favorites. 
Grischuk and American player and 2018 Candidates Winner Fabiano Caruana.
Russian player Ian Nepo shaking hands with Anish Giri.
The tournament is about to start. A lot of handshakes — they will likely not happen at the real venue.
Alexander Grischuk
Van Hao
A player in the rest area of the event.

High-resolution images are available here, the dropbox folder will be updated every round. More information about the project and the event in World Chess social media accounts. 

Team: Producer: Karina Bolshenkova (World Chess), photos by Viktoria Ryndina for World Chess

Disclaimer: the images are used to depict a public event (the Candidates Tournament). They do not intend to advertise any service or product and do not mean in any way that any of the players endorse or support any product or service.