Angora Chess Tournaments in Ankara

2/28/2010 – This is an achievement of the Turkish Chess Federation, which invites teams of strong foreign players to take on indigenous talents in search of experience and titles. In the women's section the Turkish players faced a team of WGMs, in the men's it was mostly GMs. The tournaments are named after the local Angora breed of goats, cats and rabbits. Big pictorial by Anastasiya Karlovich.

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Angora Chess Tournaments in Ankara

By Anastasiya Karlovich
Photos: Anastasiya Karlovich and Asli Kara

The international WGM Angora Chess Tournament took place in Ankara, Turkey from February 14 to 20. It was organized by the Turkish Chess Federation in the Nevzat Süer hall in the New Chess Federation Centre. The double Scheveningen System with ten rounds was used, with two teams, one consisting of five Turkish players and another of five foreign WGMs, playing each other with both colors. Among the participants were IM (WGM) Angela Borsuk from Israel , IM (WGM) Sopio Gvetadze from Georgia, WGM Anna Burtasova from Russia, WGM Anastasia Karlovich from Ukraine, WIM Nargiz Umudova from Azerbaijan, and the Turkish players WIM Kubra Ozturk, WIM Betul Cemre Yildiz, Emel Kaya, Selen Sop and Ezgi Menzi. This tournament is a part of many different events supported by Chess Federation which has a goal to continue developing women chess and give a chance to up and coming chess players to gain international titles.

The TCF took this competition very seriously and organized a training session with famous GM Adrian Mikhalchishin for the Turkish girls, whom he also supported during the event.

The WGM team didn’t lose any of their matches, drew three of them and won the rest. But they left 85 Elo points in total in Turkey. Sopio Gvetadze was the only participant who passed a test. The Turkish Chess Federation plans to stage such tournaments regularly.

Ankara is the capital of Turkey and the country's second largest city after Istanbul. It became the capital in 1923 when Ataturk moved it from Istanbul. At the time it had a population only 60 thousand people. Today the population of Ankara is around four millions. Centrally located in Anatolia, Ankara is an important commercial and industrial city. It is the location of the Turkish Government, and houses all foreign embassies. The city was famous for its long-haired Angora goats and their famous wool (mohair), a unique breed of cat, the Angora cat, white rabbits and their wool (Angora wool), pears, honey, and the region's muscat grapes.

A view of Ankara from the playing hall. The intensive schedule with two games per day didn't give us a chance to see Ankara during the day. But it was possible to visit some places during the night.

Anitkabir at night. The mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the leader of the Turkish War of Independence and the founder and first president of the Republic of Turkey, stands on a hill and was completed in 1953. An adjacent museum houses a wax statue of Atatürk, his writings, letters and personal items, as well as an exhibition of photographs recording important moments in his life and during the establishment of the Republic.

The Atakule Tower. this observation tower, 125 meters high, is the primary landmark of Ankara. It can be seen from almost anywhere in the city. The top section has an open terrace and a restaurant, which makes a full 360 degree rotation in one hour. The bottom structures house a shopping mall and several indoor and outdoor restaurants.


A night view of the city from the tower


One of the central parks with many lights


A couple sitting next to the Victory Monument


An office of Turkish Chess Federation


The playing venue with the best player from the WGM team Sopio Gvetadze from Georgia in the foreground


WIM Kübra Öztürk, one of the the strongest Turkish players, has actually been nominated "Sportsman of the Year". She scored the best result in her team against the WGMs, but she missed her chance to make the second WGM norm by half a point.


WIM Betul Cemre Yildiz, didn't start well in the tournament but was able to overcome the situation


Emel Kaya, the most unpredictable participant of Turkish team. Starting with 0 out of 4, she scored 4.5 out of 6, gained 50 elo points and the WIM title.


Menzi Ezgi, the youngest participant of the event who also caused problems for her more experienced opponents.


Concentrated: Selen Sop, with an arbiter on the background


The Elo favorite IM Angela Borsuk from Israel, with 7 points out of 10 and the second best final result in the WGM team


Nargiz Umudova from Azerbaijan, with 6 points out of 10


WGM Anna Burtasova from Russia discusses the game her game against Yildiz with the organizer of the tournament Yasin Emrah Yagiz


Narzis Umudova playing white against Menzi Ezgi


The Turkish team during an improvised photo session


GM Adrain Mikhalchishin analyses with his pupils after their games…


…and browses in the excellent library in the office of Turkish Federation while girls are playing


Ozgur Akman, sport journalist, working hard to meet a deadline


Another chess event started immediately after the end of the WGM tournament, with five Turkish and five foreign players, with the same format as the previous event. The Turkish team made three draws in the matches and was able to win the 9th round.


The youngest participant of event 11-year-old CM Vahap Sanal


The Elo favorite of Turkish team Mert Erdogdu playing against GM Yuri Yakovich.


IM Esen Baris playing Romanian GM Grigore George-Gabriel


The only female participant in the second event, WIM Nazi Palkidze from Georgia, scored 4.5 out of 10 and showed a 2366 performance

Ankara is home to a world famous breed of cats – the Turkish Angora, called Ankara kedisi (Ankara cat) in Turkish. It is a domestic cat, one of the ancient, naturally-occurring breeds, having originated in Ankara and its surrounding region in central Anatolia.



About the author

Anastasiya (Nastja) Karlovich was Ukrainian champion and vice-champion among girls under 16, 18 and 20. She was European Champion with the Ukrainian team in the Youth Team Championships. She is also

  • a candidate officer in the National Law Academy “Yaroslav the Wise”,
  • a member of the chess club “Law Academy”
  • a member of the German club Grosslehna
  • one of the organisers of WGM and GM closed tournaments “Cup of Rector”.
  • a Woman Grandmaster since 2003

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