Milliyet (literally meaning “Nationality”), one of the best-known newspapers in Turkey has nominated two candidates from chess for its traditional “Sportsman of the Year” award. Voting is conducted through the Internet and mail, and lasts until the end of the year. The results cannot be seen on the Internet and the winners of the awards are awarded at a special ceremony with all the candidates invited.
Chess is becoming more and more popular in Turkey, and the Turkish Chess Federation last December concluded a sponsorship deal with Is Bankasi. Recently Garry Kasparov’s “My Great Predecessors” was published with the help of the sponsorship of Is Bankasi Kultur Yayinlari. Chess success has also been forthcoming. In 2006 WGM Ekaterina Atalik won the European Individual Chess Championship, and six months later Kübra Öztürk won European Championship title under 16 in European Youth Championship in Herceg Novi, Serbia & Montenegro.
Kübra Öztürk, winner of the European Championship under 16
Kübra became a celebrity in her country. Her success was reported in most of the newspapers in Turkey, and a documentary on her life was shown on TV. She is considered to be a rising star of Turkish Chess, and can be expected to be even more successful in the future.
Kübra Ozturk was born in Ankara, the capital city of Turkey in 1991. She started playing chess at the age of seven. Recently she took the silver medal in Turkish Championship, and shared the fifth place in the World Youth Championship under 16 girls. She caught the attention of the legendary Lajos Portisch at World Junior Championship 2005 in Istanbul, who spoke highly about her future prospects. Kübra plays for Besiktas JK, the reigning champion of Is Bankasi Chess League.
This young chess player is now a candidate for the Best Sportsperson of the Year in the Athletes section of Milliyet. The other candidates include Neslihan Demir (internationally known volleyball national team player), Yusuf Dikeç (shooting), Hasibe Erkoç (Boxing), Ismail Güzel (wrestling), Tugba Karedemir (Ice Skating), Zenep Kirez (Taekwondo), Elif Mavis (mountaineering), Taner Sagir (weightlifting world champion in his weight), Gulbin Su (Handicapped Sports), Devrim Cenk Ulusoy (Diving) and Göksü Uctas (Gymnastic).
Kubra is not the only candidate from chess for the Milliyet awards. The President of Turkish Chess Federation, Ali Nihat Yazici, has been nominated for Best Sports Manager of the Year. Yazici is in the process of converting Turkey into a chess superpower, and has increased the membership of the TCF from 5000 in the year 2000 to 150,000 members today. He recently ran for the Deputy President of FIDE together with Bessel Kok in the “Right Move Team”.
Also nominated: the President of the TCF Ali Nihat Yazici
The other candidates to the Best Sports Figure of the Year are Ahmet Agaoglu (President of Golf Federation), Goksel Arsoy (President of Sports for Everyone Federation), Ozhan Canaydin (President of Galatasaray SK), Turgay Demirel (President of Basketball Federation), Erol Karabiyik (President of Volleyball Federation), Caner Doganeli (President of Boxing Federation) and Emin Sazak (President of the Committee of Yilmaz Sazak Athletics’ Competitions).
It would be really nice for a chess player to become “Sportsman of the Year” in Turkey – especially such an endearing young lady. If you want to help achieve this monumental goal you can vote for her on the Milliyet site.
"Stuffing" is an ugly word – let us call it general support for the noble game of chess. To vote for Kübra and Ali Nihat go to the Milliyet.com.tr web site and click on the cast-a-vote link on the left side of the page. In the popup that appears you should enter your name, surname, age and email address. Select Kübra Öztürk as "Yilin sporcusu" and, if you wish, Ali Nihat as "Yilin spor adami", whatever that is. Click Gönder to "submit" the vote.
Note that you will only be able to gönder a vote once – the site appears to store this in a cookie to prevent multiple submissions.