A Turkish report on chess in Greece

6/5/2007 – "Greece is one of the most beautiful countries in the world," says Ali Nihat Yazici, President of the Turkish Chess Federation. "It has a strong chess tradition for 25 years". Ali should know – he is one of the most dynamic organisers in the world today. He writes about the Third World School Championships 2007 and the First International Chess Marketing Seminar in Kallithea. Pictorial report.

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Preamble

Our news page took a lot of flak last week for publishing an article entitled "North Cyprus, where all your wishes are fulfilled". Every Greek citizen who was even mildly interested in chess wrote to us – at least twice. The main problem was that we had capitalised the "N" in north Cyprus, making it sound like a separate independent country. Also the region was coloured differently in the map we provided. The "Turkish occupied region of northern Cyprus" would have been the correct nomenclature, with adjectives like brutal and illegal inserted, if some readers had their way. We hastily published an apologetic addendum in the article, but the letters kept coming. Here is one that arrived recently:

It seems that ChessBase has managed to start a new round of controversy, this time online, over the issue of Cyprus. The facts about this small state and it's one and only recognised Chess Federation have already been put forward by a lot of chess players so I will not repeat them.

If the purpose of the magazine's editor in chief, or whoever was responsible for the material displayed, was to raise some of the readers adrenaline level or to artificially increase the number of people visiting the magazine's internet site in order to debate online, then that was a job very nicely done. If however this controversy started simply because someone was unaware of what was going to happen once this report, in the specific way it was presented, was put on the Internet, then, If I were the director of the magazine, I wouldn't be very happy with the level of political awareness of my journalists or other relevant staff.

Vassilis Aristotelous Public Relations Officer Cyprus Chess Federation, Limassol, Cyprus

Our author, WGM Elena Partac of Moldova, explained how the whole thing had come about: "I knew very well about the political situation in Cyprus. But I thought that chess could be an exeption in all these political missunderstandings. I am very sorry about the reactions. I didn't mean to attack anybody, or endorse the current situation of the island. The only thing I wanted was to tell people something new, to inform them about a different part of chess family. For me it doesn't matter who and where I am playing chess. At the end of the day the important thing is that chess is played, and I want it to be played everywhere. I am really disappointed about the negative image which goes around because of politics. At the same time I understand that politics will be everywhere, at all times, and it will never stop. But our chess life deserve to continud, no matter where we are. I apologise if I didn't treat the subject correctly."

Today we bring you, with some trepidation, an article on Chess in Greece, written by a Turkish national. Ali Nihat Yazici is the President of the Turkish Chess Federation, one of the most dynamic forces in chess organisation today. He travels the world like others take an evening constitutional, and he knows everybody and every place associated with chess. We hope that our Greek readers will accept his article.


Chess in Greece

Report by Ali Nihat Yazici

I have been many times in Greece, as a chess person and also as a broadcasting person. As you know that the relations between Greece and Turkey not outstandingly excellent in the history. However, the hospitality I had been getting on my trips to Greece was always surprising me. I feel always at home.

Here we go again: "Are you doing it on purpose?" writes Sotiris Logothetis of Athens, Greece. "Your map shows a country adjacent to Greece called "Macedonia". If you have read a newspaper in the last ten years you are surely aware that the country's official name is "Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia", precisely because there is a raging dispute about it in the UN. In fact, you would know very well that the persistence of the FYROM government to call its country "Macedonia" is the reason why the EU, your country and chancellor included, refuses to discuss its acceptance to the Union, until the issue is resolved. I assume that, annoyed by the 'flak' you received for the other article, are responding in a sarcastic rather than apologetic manner, as you ought to. But it's not a good idea." – No, we are not, Sotiris. Just historically and politically undereducated yokels, who are getting a crash course in South East European politics (memo to self: check "South East European" for touchy connotations).

This time I was in Thessaloniki, Halkidiki and Kallithea, again. Kallithea is a small village; its name is put together from kalli –‘beautiful’, thea – ‘view’, so appropriately it is named "beautiful view". But I think even these two words are not enough to show you the beauty of this town. Kallithea, is on the region of Halkidiki, which is one of the peninsula in Thessaloniki.


Kassandra Beach – in Halkidiki


A view of the sea-side town

The subject of this article is The 3rd World School Championships 2007 and the 1st International Chess Marketing Seminar organised in this beautiful town. The venue was G-Hotels in Kallithea, a group of hotels on one of the best beaches in the world. Let us start with the venue first. Incredible sea and nature, words are not enough to describe it!


Athos Palace four star hotel


Pallini Beach four star hotel


The Macedonia Sun Hotel


The owner and director of the G-Hotels is Nikos Grigoriades, who is big-hearted and modest. He has two young sons 3 and 8, and they all love chess.

The G-Hotels have offered hospitality to important chess events in the past as well: the World Youth Championships, European Club Cup, European Youth Championship, etc. The total bed capacity is 4.000.


The second hero of this story is Mr. Theodoros Tsorbatzoglou

Theodoros is a retired chess player, although he is very young. He has an important place in the success of – Turkish Chess! It was 2001, and I was in Thessaloniki for a small Balkan Youth Team Championship. I was the young, willing, hungry, president, elected just six months earlier. I was dying to organise international events. At the time I asked to Theodoros to give me advice on how to go about it. How to prepare a bid, how to manage an event, what are the tricks, how to organise a really good tournament. I will never forget the help he gave me, in his house and office in Thessaloniki, a first crash course in chess organisation. I will also never forget the lunch, with sea-food and ice-cream, Theodoros' house in Thessaloniki.

Today, being an expert on this area, I believe that Theodoros is one of the best professional chess organisers in the world. His father, Viron Tsorbatzoglou, is an international arbiter and his biggest support in his chess events. Maybe you will remember that he was the chief arbiter at the 2003 European Individual Chess Championships organised in Silivri, Turkey [warning: pinup pictures in this report].

The World Youth Chess Championship he has organised in 2003 was one of the best in the history. At this year's School Championship the total number of participants was 500 players from 40 countries, with 100 from Greece, 50 from South Africa, 33 from Russia, 15 from India, 20 from Colombia, 20 from Turkey, 14 from Romania, 12 from the Virgin Islands. Here are some pictures I took at the event:

Top finishers

No. Name FED Pts
1 Itkis Boris ROM 7
2 Ermenkov Evgenij PLE
3 Asik Josip SRB
4 Slovineanu Viacheslav MDA
5 Solak Dragan SRB
6 Ungureanu Vlad ROM
7 Grivas Efstratios GRE
8 Maric Alisa SRB 6
9 Georgiev Krum BUL 6
10 Cawdery Daniel RSA 6
11 Vragoteris Antonios GRE 6
12 Santrian Ararat ARM
13 Simanjuntak Sebastian INA
14 Perdek Miroslaw POL
15 Goosen Anton RSA
16 Kanakaris G GRE
17 Dorfanis Ilarion GRE
18 Gochev Mladen BUL
19 Jevtic Miroljub SRB
20 Ali Ghazi Mahawi IRQ
21 Iskos Alexandros GRE

Marketing Seminar

Theodoros made another great step in chess history this year: he organised the First International Chess Marketing Seminar at Pallini Beach Hotel, Halkidiki. Here are some pictures from this meeting.


Chairing the meeting: ECU President Boris Kutin, TCF President Ali Nihat Yazici


FIDE Vice President Zurab Azmaiparashvili


IM Alisa Maric, Professor of Marketing speaking on the "Emergence of Chess Marketing"


GM Efstratios Grivas, author and trainer, spoke about "Chess Writing and Publishing Procedures"


FIDE Marketing Director Dr. Peter Rajcsanyi on "Shaping up for better chess marketing"


ECU Board member and organiser Vladimir Sacotic on "Preparing a bid"


ECU Deputy President Gerry Walsh on "Gens Una Sumus!"


ECU Grand-Prix Director Sava Kizova on "European Grand Prix! The new challenge"


Turkish Chess Federation President Ali Nihat Yazici on "Chess as a mass product!"


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