Around the World in 60 days
Part I Canada, Turkey, Bulgaria, USA, Singapore
By the MonRoi team
Once upon a time in Montreal – or precisely Saint-Laurent – our
mastemind ur mastermind, Brana Malobabic-Giancristofaro invented a hand-held
wireless tournament management system called MonRoi.
The enterprise is a remarkable success. We traveled the globe to meet people
involved in promoting the game. And the stars of chess. And young people who
are in the process of discovering the fascination of this ancient game.
First Steps, E-Tournament in Canada: Patricia Demers, Dmitry Jakovenko, Susan
Polgar, Mayor Alan De Sousa, Florencio Campomanes, Eric Lawson, Brana
Did you know? More than 5,700 places in Canada (towns,
rivers, lakes) have the word "Saint" in their names. The following were invented
in Canada: the telephone, the gramophone, television, the snowmobile, the IMAX
movie system, JAVA programming, the toboggan, the anti-gravity suit, the zipper,
the heart pacemaker, the quartz clock and the compound steam engine. Not chess?
Well, no one is perfect. However, at least they have built a wireless portable
World Championship for Boys and Girls Under 20, Turkey
Our recent world tour started in Istanbul , Turkey. This is a country full
of historic treasures, stemming from 13 successive civilizations spanning 10,000
years. Its territory blends two continents: Europe and Asia. Over two-thirds
of the Turkish population is under thirty years old. Due to its varied landscape
and climate, Turkey is rich with flora. The country’s soil is home to
approximately 9,000 species of flowers, of which 3,000 are native. In Europe
there are only 11,500 species. Moreover, Turkey provides 70% of the world's
hazelnuts; the nut in your chocolate bar was probably grown in Turkey .
Ankara 's subway system was built by a Canadian consortium. It was a joint
Turkish-Canadian venture that constructed the Almaty subway in Kazahkstan. Gens
Una Sumus. Ali Nihat Yazici, President of the Turkish Chess Federation is
clearly one of the most accomplished Chess Federation Presidents in the world.
Ali took us to dinner at a Turkish restaurant, where we had a wonderful fish
dish. Boris Kutin, President of the European Chess Union from Slovenia , took
our CEO to have Turkish baklava a few days later. A note to tournament organizers:
if you want our team to work for you, be sure to present a generous amount of
Ali Nihat (right) and Brana celebrate a successful tournament
Of course the Internet connection never works the first day. Our patient friend
Ahmed, a future recipient of a Masters degree in engineering (at least this
is what he promised), changed the cables five times, while the hotel manager
tried to remember what the Ethernet switch looks like. People should not try
to plug the network cable in the telephone plug. Of course, most players skipped
the Technical Commission and did not attend training (rules are made to be broken),
while arbiters tried to figure out who can get assigned to the new technology
section. We had this new “computer stuff,” like a strange alien
with five heads and a trillion eyes. However, these kinds of monsters are found
in many video games, so perhaps that is why the boys and girls took to the Chess
Managers with ease.
The Boys Section
The sweetest chess players you've ever seen
Ali Made some Right Moves
When Ali made some Right Moves, everything
got under control and soon all the electronic score sheets were grabbed up by
many players, even the back-up ones. We were running on no spares, and luckily
no player smashed their device, even after a few heated tie arguments. We were
assured by the happy faces on the bulletin team, after they received the clean
PGN files, that we were doing something right. As for the rest of the games,
the bulletin team stayed all night trying to decode some paper score sheets.
Prehistoric cave carvings are more legible.
The bulletin team, hard at work at 2 a.m.
Jianjun Zhou, our lead engineer, experienced an epiphany in Istanbul , after
discovering a heavenly meal called Adana kebab. Do not be surprised if you see
software subroutines named “Adana1,” “Adana2”
or similar, because Adana is all that Jianjun dreams about. On this tournament
was proven an old saying “The way to a man's heart is through his stomach.”
Ahmed – the Adana Man
In every chess tournament, the champions are stars. We often forget how much
work went into tournament organization to attract sponsors, take care of safety,
as well as thousands of other little details. This is all done with the
hope that chess players will recognize and appreciate it. The charming and hospitable
organizer team, directed by Ali and his group: Koral, Ozan, enthusiastic photo-reporter
Fatma, technical support Ahmed, Cem, and the nick-named “Kokorech brothers”
were ready to entertain guests at any time, whether it was playing pool, going
out dancing, sight-seeing, or a walk to the specialty food places.
A note to readers: Kokorech is a Turkish delicacy-sandwich filled with spicy
lamb intestine (much better than it sounds). The organizers, arbiters, players,
and Jianjun became inseparable by the end of the tournament. We discovered Sava
Kizova, a blond (quite a phenomenon) FIDE International Arbiter, who was computer
literate. Sava was trained by Geurt Gijssen, FIDE Chairman Rules and Regulations
from Netherlands who was proud to watch his student’s progress in Istanbul
Sava Kizova , International FIDE Arbiter
World Tour Continues! Bulgaria
Enthusiasm is contagious. Sava took the system to Sofia, Bulgaria . You might
know that Bulgaria currently has three FIDE World Champions. Veselin Topalov
is the reigning men's champion, Antoaneta Stefanova wears the woman's crown,
and Liuben Spassov holds the Seniors' scepter. Many thanks to Mr. Nikolay Velchev,
Executive Director of the Bulgarian Chess Federation.
Visit in Bulgaria
Stojanovic Marija and Kosana from Serbia , Chess Players and Future Arbiters
Many chess players suffer from smartness, good looks and good senses of humor.
Hop on the train, it is never too late.
World Tour Continues! USA
We also recently visited the National Scholastic Event in Houston, Texas. Imagine
over 1500 kids with their parents running towards pairings boards. Watch your
step. "I like to try new things,” Aaron Reyes from Texas explained, "Your
Chess Manager is a lot faster than paper notation. I enjoyed using it." Fellow
Texan Steven Watson tried it and said, "it’s a neat idea to see the games
over the Internet, and not to have to keep track of scorebooks anymore." Parents
were particularly excited about the possibility of following their kids' games
in real time on the net. Many thanks to the fantastic team from Crossville,
Tennessee: USCF President Bill Hall, Jerry Nash, Diane Reese, Robert Tanner
and Carol Jarecki.
2nd Singapore International Chess Convention
Singapore consists only of one main island and 63 other tiny islands. Although
English is the official working language, the national anthem 'Majulah Singapura'
is actually sung in Malay. The Supreme Court of Singapore is British-influenced.
And guess what? Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is Canada’s official head
of state. So, there we are; Singapore was our next destination.
The world's first night zoo, the Night Safari, is located in Singapore.
Eight out of ten people in Singapore own cell phones. This is good news for
any hi-tech technology company. In Singapore Internet cafés and computer game
places are packed from early morning. The weather is fantastic. The town was
full of Christmas decorations. Restaurants were packed. There were people laughing
wherever you looked, and kids running around having fun.
Asian Chess School Festival
The Asian Schools Chess Festival for age groups U-9, U-11, U-13 and U-15, which
was organized by Ignatius Leong, FIDE General Secretary and the Singapore Chess
Federation attracted 145 players representing Mongolia, South Korea, Malaysia,
China, Singapore, Indonesia, Australia, India, Sri-Lanka, Philippines, Vietnam
and Hong Kong.
By the time we got to Singapore, all bogymen were gone, and running a fully
automated tournament was a piece of cake. The Internet connection was up. Exemplary
Ignatius runs a Training Academy . He organized precisely the training of players
and arbiters, and we established one of the most effective technology implementation
collaborations. All tournament games were broadcast using our technology, and
tournament bulletins were produced immediately after each round ended. This
was a dream team. Chess players aged seven to fifteen years old quickly replaced
paper with electronics. This is no wonder; Singapore kids use computers
as soon as they are born. Besides being friendly, computer savvy, respectful
and adorable, chess players in Asia can also sing and dance.
A must visit is one of the Karaoke bars in Singapore. Even Brana sang (singing
is not part of her repertoire of talents). Polina Tsedenova from the FIDE Secretariat
who sat next to Brana, got ear blockage, which kept coming back for the rest
of her holidays. Or, perhaps this was because the private Karaoke lounge was
colder than Khanty-Mansiysk and Northern Quebec combined.
Ignatius Leong singing, right FIDE Vice Preisdent Zurab Azmaiparashvili
The Chairman of FIDE Arbiter’s Council, Panagiotis Nikolopoulos from
Greece invited Brana to present the new solution to the Arbiters, which were
in training. The Chairman of Training Commission Yuri Razuvaev from Russia and
the ex trainer of a former world champion, Anatoly Karpov, was holding one the
training seminars at the Chess Academy. Singapore is an example of a true International
Following is one of our loveliest photo reports. The kids melted our hearts.
Brana with the Children Champions
Sri Lanka team training
Somebody here really likes kids!
Having fun with the kids