By Melissa Fares
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Brooklyn chess teacherBoris Izrayelit, 33, had to keep his eyes on two games at once at the World Chess Championship on Friday.
World champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway and challenger Sergey Karjakin of Russia were playing the sixth game of the match in the Fulton Market Building in lower Manhattan. In an adjoining room, Izrayelit watched them on video screens while next to him, two of his students, Nura, 10, and Vincenzo, 9, were playing a game of their own.
“These are two of my best chess players,” Izrayelit proudly said, adding that he has taught some 400 children at Success Academy in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn for four years. “Just watch.”
Since the championship started on Nov. 11, Izrayelit and thousands of spectators have gathered at the site to watch Carlsen, 25, defend the title he has held since 2013.
Some have traveled from the other end of the world.
Oscar Estay, 42, from Concepcion, Chile, said he had attended every game so far and would continue to do so until the Nov. 30 awards ceremony, even though he is certain that Carlsen will walk out a world champion once again.
“I already know who’s going to win,” said Estay, who started playing chess when he was eight and is the president of his city’s chess club. “I am here for the ambience. There are people from everywhere.”
Robert Villeneuve, 53, traveled to New York from Montreal and was sitting across the table from Estay.
“One of my biggest regrets in life is not going to the last World Chess Championship here in New York in 1995,” Villeneuve said of the year when Russian great Garry Kasparov successfully defended his title against Viswanathan Anand of India at the World Trade Center.
“I thought, if I don’t go this time, when will I be able to go?”
This year’s championship, staged by FIDE, the world chess federation, has 12 games and seven “rest days” for Carlsen and Karjakin, 26.
So far, all six games played have ended in draws, with half a point awarded for a draw and one point for a win.
“It’s fun to be here,” Tyler Landsman, 10, said sitting across from his father who taught him how to play chess.
“It feels a bit more interesting being here than it does just sitting in front of a chess board at our house.”
(Reporting by Melissa Fares in New York; Editing by Grant McCool)