We arrived in the Serbian capital of New Belgrade (Novi Beograd, often and further in this article just called Belgrade) as one of the earliest WFCC participants. Upon the registration I was handed a special bag with a personalized WCCC ID and a noteblock with double-colored pen.
I used the second day, prior to the official start, to get myself acquainted with some people and the hotel "Metropol Palace" in Belgrade. Unfortunately we used the Miloseva Kuzina (with some Serbian letters) restaurant too late, missing out a few days of great breakfast (four scrambled eggs, french fries, two small blocks of cheese and three tomato slices for together 350 RSD ~ 3 EUR). So I usually would have some bakery items from across the hotel and water or when the congresses got late some coke from the kiosk nearby.
The official opening of the WCCC was held by the Serbian organizers, but was not too spectacular. There was a kind of domestic demonstrator attack on the mayor of Belgrade where someone had thrown toilet paper on him some days ago, leading him to not show up. Instead we were greeted by one of his replacements. Luckily, the prepared movies about the Serbian chess events of the past (sadly only in Srpski) and some drinks saved the evening.
Yours Truly attended the 15:00 (3:00 PM) opening session of the WFCC on the Sunday of 31 July 2016. Much to his delight, the German team, apparently bernd ellinghoven, had forwarded his request for a small change of titles giving (permanently instead of for life, in accordance with the practice of giving posthumous titles) to the WFCC. The sad news was heard that among other famous men such as the space hero Valentin Rudenko and the national German hero's nephew Wichard von Alvensleben also the never-tiring humorous publicist and prolific chess composer Fritz Hoffmann had died. The e-mail news had been sent a few hours after the departure of Yours Truly to Belgrade and so was left unread until the return, so this was a kind of shocking but mainly sadness inducing news to us.
The evening saw a "quick composing" of which we would like to (re-?)produce a good twomover we composed, but unfortunately the award is not yet online. We believe that the twomover should be in the award, unless it was found to be anticipated.
The participation of Yours Truly in the Open Solving Tournament was unsuccessful. We solved one twomover and one study, for a total of 11 points. Martin Minski's original (which we can not reproduce here for that reason) proved difficult to solve. With more time we could have solved a selfmate in three in the second round, but we spent all time looking for a point in a study that simply had none.
The Studies committee met under the good leadership of Yochanan Afek in the afternoon, whereupon unfortunately it was decided the "Study of the Year" contest was not successful to promote chess composition to the general public. Yours Truly reeived a great offer by Afek, which we accepted. If this will fall onto open ears on the necessary third party we will have a great possibility to promote endgame studies soon. More will be given on this in about a month.
In the evening lectures were held. Avni and Afek talked about studies, and Yours Truly could have been seen crying by a close observer as Afek prior to his lecture talked about his personal relationship to the dearly missed Milan to which Afek dedicated the complete WCCC. Yours Truly wants to believe that the ever kind spirit was attending the lecture himself.
The day was mostly used for activities related to personal contacts with other composers. The lectures at the evening were with the exception of that by a newly crowned Honorary Master of Chess Composition, not interesting to Yours Truly. Misha's hour long lecture where he demonstrated his solving tourney organizing program might have been a bit too long, as bernd ellinghoven canceled his lecture afterwards. It is without a doubt that the program is great, but we believe there is not a large audience that is interested in such demonstrations.
As the day before, we mostly got personal contacts up. The evening saw an OTB match of the hosts vs. guests - or rathre the WFCC against the Serbian olympia team. Who could win such an event? Well, of course the WFCC - a lucky John Nunn scored 1.5 points out of his two games! A photo of John Nunn will be uploaded later, when we got to processing them all. Of course it was also his suggestion that was the best one at the committee meeting a few days before...
Just no! With the excursion that was tiring to Yours Truly, he regret not listening to Yochanan Afek on this topic who warned against the heat in Novi Sad where Afek attended the chess olympiad 1990. Oops!
Out hero of the day was Alexander "Stop the bus!" Bulavka who was worried about Yours Truly. Thanks!
After the "business as usual", the afternoon until the late evening saw the prizes being given for tourneys etc.
One Darko Hlebec won some study awards while Yours Truly left without any. Not even for the twomover. Oh vey!
At the evening the Yacht proved to be an interesting experience, but for the future we would like clearer markings on which food is vegetarian. Some bread, cheese and potatoes saved the meal.
After the offficial end of the WCCC, the never tiring Brank Djurasevic helped Yours Truly with one request we had. The evening saw Yours Truly visiting Darko Hlebec's house, where his family provided a nice talk.
Upon leaving Belgrade, we had enough of the city, mostly due to the extreme noise and heat. The travel back home took all day since for reasons far beyond our imagination planes fly the route Munich - Belgrade, but not Berlin - Belgrade.
Youtube videos, provided by Julia Vysotska and the WFCC: