Manuel de los Reyes Garcia Markina, “Manuel Garcia for short,” as he readily tells you, is a Mexican student in Germany and a chess fan. One with a huge regret in life. He was in Germany when Viswanathan Anand won the World Chess Championship title in Mexico City last year.
“That was a pity, I couldn’t be there when Anand won the title in my city,” said the 35-year-old Garcia. “Anand was playing in my city and here I was stuck in Germany. I couldn’t go there because the ticket costs a lot,” he added ruefully.
“However, I am hoping that I will be able to watch Anand win the title here,” he said, this time a smile lighting his face. Garcia is doing his PhD in Russian History at the University of Berlin and is here to watch the games and write on chess for a Mexican website.
Garcia is interested in the match also because of his association with Russia as he lived three years in the former Soviet Union in the 1980s when his father was completing his doctorate in Applied Mathematics at Moscow University.
Garcia is a unique case in a group of 20-odd journalists as chess is not big in his country. There are around 30 journalists from abroad, excluding commentators and players (current or former) who are covering this event besides the local German scribes.
Going Down Under
The Bonn subway is not an ideal venue to discuss the future of the print media, especially after a five-hour game of chess. But the matter did come up as Ian Rogers, Australia's first Grandmaster, expressed concerns over journalists covering the ongoing World Championship from the comforts of their home via the Internet.
“I find this a very strange situation that journalists from top newspapers from all over the world covering this match via the Internet,” said Rogers who is writing for an Australian political newspaper.
Rogers used to write for some leading newspapers in Australia but this time they showed no interest in publishing columns by their best-ever chess player that too in a match that has attracted so much attention worldwide. That’s because newspapers have decided to concentrate more on their web editions even, he said, laying off journalists working for newspapers.
Three is company
There is one thing unique about the Old Town of Bonn. Houses here have only three windows per floor. Row after row you will see houses painted differently but similar in architecture and with three windows. The houses even look similar from inside.
There is an interesting reason for this. Towards the end of the 18th century, a large number of retired people came from other parts of Germany and settled in Bonn because of the weather. This triggered a housing boom in Bonn and seeing that the Electorate of Cologne, who was the ruler of the region, imposed a tax on people having more than three windows in their houses. So, to avoid the extra tax people built only three windows in their houses.