Online-Chess tournament between Cologne and Istanbul

8/17/2012 – In the German city of Cologne there is a chess club that was founded, twelve years ago, by players hailing from Turkey. Today the Satranç Club 2000 has members from different countries. Recently they challenged a club from the twinned city Istanbul to an Internet match on ten boards. This is easy to arrange on the Playchess server, and it was hugely enjoyed by everyone involved.

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Online-Chess tournament between Cologne and Istanbul

By Güven Manay

How are new ideas born? In many cases, new ideas need a reason. The 12-year-old Cologne Chess Club‚ Satranç Club 2000, was founded by players hailing from Turkey and now has members from several countries. In 2008, the club organized a tournament in conjunction with the Dresden Chess Olympiad. This time the 2012 Istanbul Olympiad was an excellent reason for a new event.


The tournament poster

In addition to this: Cologne and Istanbul are twinned cities since 15 years. In 1997, the Cologne Mayor Norbert Burger and the Istanbul mayor Recep Tayyip Erdogan (now Prime Minister of the Turkish Republic) signed the cooperation document. Since then the Cologne-Istanbul Urban Partnership Association has been founded in order to look after good relationships between the two cities.


Güven Manay und Walter Kluth in Cologne

When Güven Manay from the Satranç Club 2000 contacted his friends from the board of the Cologne Istanbul Partnership Club, Walter Kluth (Cologne Muncipal Council from 1989-2009) and Monika Bongartz, they decided to plan an online chess tournament between two selected teams from Cologne and Istanbul.


In the Cologne clubhouse: a poster showing the history of chess...


... tracing its roots from north-west India to Europe and China

But what makes this online tournament different from others? Both teams are sitting in together in a room, and not like normally in online tournaments anonymously at home. Because Walter Kluth is also head of an educational institution he immediately found a training classroom with several computers. This meant that the Cologne team found a tournament location within a very short time.


The team in Cologne with the organising committee


The Istanbul team with their Captain Fuat Ergür (second from left)

Güven Manay now informed both the Turkish and the German Chess Federations. Both were excited by his initiative. The President of the Istanbul Chess Federation, Fuat Ergür, was contacted, and he arranged the contact to the Chess Club Istanbul Satranc Dernegi, founded in 1943 in Istanbul Sisli.


The young Istanbul player Deniz Firat...


... and the opponents in the Cologne chess club

The 12th of August was chosen for this event. Because of summer holidays in North Rhine Westphalia, it turned out difficult to find eligible participants. Many very strong players, even grandmasters, were out of town. Hence, the Istanbul Chess Federation offered to adapt the strength level of their team to the Cologne one.

One of the arbiters from the Playchess server was ideally suited for staging this event: WFM Emine Yanik Süral grew up in Germany and although she now lives in Turkey she is equally fluent in both languages. Interestingly, the Cologne team contained a former trainer who taught her in the nineties. It's a small world!

Emine Yanik Süral was born in 1976 in Dortmund, Germany, of Turkish parents. She started playing chess in 1988, when her slightly older brother took up the game. Since then she has been a member of the Huckarder Schachverein and played successfully in a number of tournaments. That cemented her love for chess, and Emine continued playing for different chess clubs: Brackel, Heiligenhaus, Erkrath, Turm Emsdetten.

In 2001 Emine married and moved to Turkey, and in 2008 she founded a chess training centre in her city Salihli. Sabrina Chevannes wrote a lovely report about that. In 2004 her first daughter, Ceren, was born, and in a month she is expecting her second daughter. Emine is determined to remain active in chess and play for different clubs. She is the main Turkish sysop for Playchess.

The cologne team members Eneida Peres (who will play for the Dominican Republic Olympic Team in Istanbul) and International Master Norbert Lücke also attracted attention.

The tournament day

After a short opening ceremony, led by Walter Kluth, Güven Manay and the recently elected president of the Cologne Chess Federation, Andreas Gerdau, the tournament started. Always expect the unexpected: both teams needed to change their members slightly at very short notice. A thunderstorm in Istanbul caused a traffic jam and difficulties with the Internet access. Despite all adversities, the start button was eventually pressed for a nice and exciting competition.

Cologne gained the lead very quickly on board seven. Board nine of Istanbul won after half an hour then. Board two drew and then the standing in the tournament was: Cologne-Istanbul: 1.5:1.5. After a while Cologne lost three games in a row and it stood 1.5:4.5 against them! A major defeat of the Cologne team looked likely. But then Cologne fought back and three of their members won their endgames in a row against Istanbul. However Cologne lost the last game on board six and Istanbul had won the match.

Istanbul won the match 5.5-4.5 – download all games in PGN

A good practice for both the teams’ players before the new season or in fact for the Olympiad, and a good general prep for everyone.


Congratulations and prize giving in Istanbul


Sarven Cakmak, board member of the Istanbul Chess Club of
1943, receives the trophy for his Teams Istanbul

The audience (which was a mixture of those physically present in the playing halls and the virtual spectators on Playchess) loved the event. Thanks to everyone who supported it! And why not a friendly rematch soon?


A report on the match appeared prominently in the mass media newspaper Hürriyet

With the best wishes from Cologne to Istanbul for the organization of the chess Olympiad from 27 August to 10 September!

Photos: ISD, Monika Bongartz, Abuzer Akpinar


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