Birthday celebrations with live chess in Odessa

9/6/2007 – It has become a good tradition – once again chess events became an integral part of Odessa City’s birthday celebrations. There was blitz tournament for everyone in the Passage trading center, a mega-simul on 213 boards and a Living Chess display near the Vorontsov’s Palace. GM Mikhail Golubev and Lena Ivanova (photos) have filed a big illustrated report.

Chess Celebrations in Odessa, Ukraine

By GM Mikhail Golubev, photos by Lena Ivanova

Chess Championship of Soborka

‘Soborka’, or, officially, the Sobornaya Square, is the place in historical centre of the town where for many years chess lovers are meeting each other to play their favourite game. In honour of chess fans, the 2nd Championship of Soborka was held on 1st September. This blitz tournament was organised not in park itself (as it was in the last year), but in the Passage trading center, which is located in few dozen meters near Soborka.

Anyone could participate, including the titled players. Three first prizes from the sponsor UkrFerry were tickets to ship cruise. There were more than 150 players. After preliminaries, 16 players qualified into the KO finals. As one could have expected, the favourites dominated. The only participating grandmaster, Andrey Sumets, defeated the national master Denis Kovalev in the final.

Mikhail Freidlin, the head of Agency for Odessa Development Programmes was the Producer of chess events devoted to the birthday of Odessa. Chess is one of many his interests. Thus, every year Freidlin organises the international jazz carnival in our town.


The last year’s winner Stanislav Bogdanovich did not manage to repeat his success


Armageddon! The match for the third place finished last in the tournament. International master Roman Kozel won the match versus the 15 years old Alexey Volosheniuk.

Another key person in organisation was the Director, grandmaster Vladimir Tukmakov who is also the coach of Ukrainian national team.


Freidlin, Volosheniuk and Tukmakov

Mega-Simul on 213 boards

Two other events took place near the Vorontsov’s Palace on the main day of celebrations, 2nd September. On the 213th birthday of Odessa, a simul on 213 boards was organised. Luckily as it seems, our town is young.


Chess and music, why not?

More precisely, 15 simuls were held simultaneously. Five grandmasters (Eingorn, Tukmakov, Sumets, Legky and I) and ten International Masters scored 202 points in 213 games, with seven losses and eight draws. Age of our opponents varied from 5 to 92 years!

Below are some pictures from the simul, taken by our extraordinary photographer.

Living Chess


The simul ended, and the Living Chess programme was about to begin...


Mayor of Odessa (right) congratulates the winner of Soborka championship, grandmaster Sumets.


The Alekhine brothers, Fischer, Topalov, Kasparov and Karpov – Odessite namesakes of the world champions were invited to ceremony.


The Odessa dancing group Surprise. They also acted as chess pieces.


The white side of the royal game makes its moves


...and the black side responds


GM Vladimir Tukmakov (white), art director Fedor Tkach and GM Viacheslav Eingorn (black) before the game


The "pieces" have been set up, the game can begin


Queen to h5, as in the game Halprin vs Pillsbury, Munich 1900


The white and black chess figures come into contact


Grandmaster Eingorn ponders, the spectators wait


A captured white pawn leaves chess board


A white rook has captured a piece and orders it off the board


After approximately one hour of play a draw was agreed


... which leads to jubilation and the final dance

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