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Stairs to squares,seeking free way

other Updated: Oct 24, 2008 23:53 IST
B Shrikant

Scalpers making a killing from tickets for chess events would be rarer than snow in the Sahara. Imagine therefore how FIDE officials must have felt at seeing a fan seeking a ticket for the World Championship battle between Viswanathan Anand and Vladimir Kramnik in Bonn.

Standing near the door to the hall just before the start of the eighth game, the man had a piece of paper with “need ticket” written. Strange because there was no dearth of them. It eventually transpired that the German, Stefen Minten, was looking for ‘free’ tickets to watch the action live.

A professional ‘stair climber’, Minten claimed to be the world record holder and said he has climbed stairs of multi-storied buildings all over Europe. Minten told HT that he was looking for free tickets to save money for stair-climbing competitions in Europe.

“I am a chess fan and would love to watch this match live but a ticket costs 35 euro; it is a lot of money and I can't spend so much. Stair climbing is very expensive as I have to travel to various places. By seeking free tickets I am trying to seek help and sponsors,” he said.

A polyglot, who has learnt words from a number of non-European languages too – he signed off the conversation with a “shukriya” — Minten said he would soon be leaving for the Netherlands for a competition.

He wanted to know whether such competitions are held in India and when told there are none, he said he would try and visit the country, take the steps to the top of tall buildings to popularise it.

No light out in Bonn

Call it an effect of prosperity or lack of austerity. Shopkeepers and showroom owners in Bonn keep the lights on even when they close for the day. So if you are out in the streets after 8pm, you will see all shops locked with lights on. This is the case even on Sundays when all the markets are closed. The shopkeepers, it seems, switch on the lights before they leave for home on Saturday evening and turn them off only after opening their shops early on Monday morning.

A problem of plenty in one part of the world while there are millions in the world who have to do without electricity for many hours of a day!