2007 World Open: First Impressions

No… Abhijit Kunte is not playing Vadim Milov. Kunte is pondering his move against a wandering Borki Predojevic (½-½) while Milov is on the move against Daniel Fridman at the adjacent board. Photo by Daaim Shabazz.

First impressions of the venue here in Valley Forge Conference Center are mixed. The Scanticon (not Scantron :-)) Hotel is perhaps the most convenient location as the tournament site is only two floors down from the lobby. The Radisson Hotel requires a walk thorough the interconnected building complex, and the Hilton Hotel requires a 10-minute shuttle ride. More on that later.

The games are being played in huge room and there is ample room for movement. I walked in on the 2nd round of play in the 7-day schedule and took a look at the top boards. I was pleased to see Sandipan Chanda of India playing, a talented player with an affable demeanor. I interviewed him at the 2005 World Open.

Selected Photos
Photo by Daaim Shabazz
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On the downside, the Valley Forge Convention complex is in the middle of nowhere and there are no shopping centers or stores within walking distance. There is a shuttle service that will take you to the mall (2nd largest in America) and/or Acme supermarket. It runs every two hours. I got a ride to the supermarket and picked up a few things for the room. I then walked next door and had dinner at Jaipur Indian restaurant… an excellent choice!

On the way out, I stopped over and greeted India’s Abhijit Kunte who had entered the restaurant for a take-out. He was staying at the Valley Forge Hilton (across the street from Acme),  the “overflow” hotel 2-3 miles from the tournament site.

This tournament will be an exciting one, but I can see that there will be some logistical issues attempting to accommodate about 1500 chess players plus their spouses and other guests. The shuttle system will be tested to the max! Next year, the venue will return to the Philadelphia Sheraton.

I plan to post daily blogs here, so stay tuned!

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