The Warakomskas give a fitting tribute to their mother

by Sagar Shah
8/26/2017 – What is the best way to pay tribute to a person who has passed away. Perhaps, it's finishing their incomplete dreams. Irena Warakomska had a dream - to make Suwalki the chess center of Poland. She was successful in her attempts, but her efforts were cut short when an accident took place in September 2016. Her children WIM Anna Warakomska and GM Tomasz Warakomski decided to make sure that their mother's efforts were not left incomplete. They organized a huge memorial tournament in Suwalki. This report cover Irena's story as well as some interesting personalities at the event.

Photos by Amruta Mokal

Read Part I of the 1st Irena Warakomska Memorial 2017

A strong tournament was held from the 11th to 18th of August 2017 in Suwalki, Poland in the memory of Irena Warakomska. Irena Warakomska (1950 – 2016) was the chairwoman of the Hańcza Suwałki chess club from 2002 to 2012. She was the mother of five children, including two chess players: WIM Anna Warakomska and GM Tomasz Warakomski. She was also a co-founder of the cooperative bank in Suwałki for which she was working for 47 years.

During Irena’s presidency of the Suwałki chess club young chess players won over 100 medals in both individual and team Polish Championships. Among the most successful players included: Anna Warakomska (25 medals), Katarzyna Murawko (21), Magdalena Kozak (17), Tomasz Warakomski (17), Dominika Ostrowska (10). The junior team was Polish team champions twice (2005, 2007). They won the bronze medal in 2006.

The great promoter of chess in Suwalki - Irena Warakomska. She always loved to be with the children of the chess club and motivated them to bring out their full potential.

Her activity as a chairwoman developed the culture of chess in Suwałki and made chess the leading sport in the city. Many successes attracted sponsors, media and many more kids were interested in playing chess. Despite working in a bank and the struggle with her illness, Irena’s attendance to chess tournaments with kids was always her top priority. Thanks to her full commitment Anna and Tomasz are titled players today and Suwałki became the epicenter of chess in Poland.

One of the strongest brother-sister siblings in the world of chess - GM Tomasz Warakomski (2536) and WIM Anna Warakomska (2268)

"My mother was one of the strongest persons that I knew", said Anna, talking to us after the tournament ended. "She (Irena) suffered from many different forms of cancer, but bravely fought all of them. In fact, thanks to her positive attitude she was able to win her battle against cancer. We were all so happy about this fact. However, just when she was going for a routine check-up, her car met with an accident and the terrible tragedy occurred. The entire family was shocked. None of us were able to come to terms with the fact that Irena was no more. One fine day, while we were all (siblings) sitting together, one of us mentioned the idea of holding a chess tournament. Everyone liked it and by January we had decided that we will be going ahead with the organization of the 1st Irena Warakomska Memorial."

The tournament director WIM Anna Warakomska (right) with her elder sister Monika Krupa

"I am a chess player. All my life I have played chess. I had never ever dreamt that I would organize a tournament, leave alone such a big one. But this was a tribute to our mother, who had done so much for us and chess in Suwalki and Poland. We wanted things to be perfect. We did everything the way Irena would have done it. Of course, we couldn't reach her level of perfection, but I think we were able to organize a successful tournament", an exhausted Anna spoke to ChessBase.

The entire team put in a lot of effort and the end result was a successful event. 300 players from all over the world came to Suwalki making it the epicentre of chess for the duration of eight days. Many more participants would have come if the tournament would not have clashed with the Riga International in Latvia. But in general one can expect the number of participants to increase exponentially in the coming years. When we asked Anna whether this tournament would be continued next year? "Absolutely. We have not confirmed the dates yet. But 2nd edition of Irene Warakomska Memorial will be held for sure."

The small trivia and chess families in Suwalki

Before ending Part I we asked our readers the following question: The boy in the picture is four months old. His name is Kazio. He is with his maternal grandfather here. His parents are famous chess players. Can you name Kazio's parents?

And the right answer is Mateusz and Marta Bartel. The duo played their first tournament after little Kazio was born!

I asked Mateusz to tell me about his love story with Marta. "It all began in European Championship 2007," said Mateusz. "That's when I began making my attempts, and soon enough I was successful. We got married four years ago!" The Bartels are the second strongest chess couple in Poland after Radoslaw Wojtaszek and Alina Kashlinskaya.

A very cute picture of the couple after Mateusz won the Polish Championship in 2012 (photo by Sylwia Rudolf)

The Bartel family was not alone, the Jakubowskis too had come with their little boy. That's Krzysztof Jakubowski, who finished second at the event, with his wife WIM Anna Jakubowski and son Tomasz. Anna took care of all the things to let Krzysztof focus on his games. Next year they are planning to switch the roles!

And we have one more family! That's Jacek Tomczak with his wife Asia and daughter Zosia

Anna Kantane and Toms Kantans came from Latvia with their son to help their friend Anna Warakomski organize the tournament

Three years ago Amruta and I had met Toms and Anna in Pune at the World Juniors 2014. In three years the couple not only got married, but also have had a son! The couple believes in doing things without wasting time, and we wish them the best for their new chess endeavour - ChessForce.

Best woman player of the tournament

The best woman player of the tournament was by far Alina Kashlinskaya. She scored two wins against strong grandmasters Pawel Czarnota and Jacek Tomczak. With aggressive and imaginative play she was able to lead the tournament with 5.5/7. But then she lost the last two games to eventual winner Volodymyr Vetoshko and Mikhail Ulybin. Even so, 5.5/9 was good enough to bag the prize of the best woman player of the tournament.

Kashlinskaya's style of play was bold and aggressive right from round one

Alina speaks about the tournament, her favourite games from the event, her husband Radoslaw Wojtaszek helping her to prepare ad her future plans

Kashlinskaya - Czarnota

 

Tomczak - Kashlinskaya

 
 

With this attitude it will only be a matter of time before the letters IM turn to GM in front of Alina's name

One of the most inspiring players in the tournament hall was Łukasz Nowak. The 19-year-old from Poland was just a few months old when he was diagnosed with a spinal muscular atrophy in its hardest form. When he was seven, his grandfather taught him to play chess. Łukasz  really liked the game and after five years decided to play his first tournament - Najdorf Chess Festival in Warsaw. The boy kept working on the game and his level improved. In 2011 he won a bronze medal in the Warsaw Youth Olympiad and a few months later he became the IPCA World Youth Champion. Thanks to the help received from the Polish Ministry of Sport and Tourism Lukasz is going to play at the World Juniors this year.

The chief arbiter of the tournament Olexander Prohorov (right) with Maciej Cybulski who is one of the founders of Chess Manager

What is Chess Manager?

Usually we see the pairings and the results of each round on the chess-results website. Maciej Cybulski and Tomasz Żyźniewski came up with the idea of creating a modern website which would change the way in which pairings, results, live games and all the information related to a tournament is displayed.

The 1st Anna Warakomska Memorial was powered by Chess Manager. Some of the features we liked very much were:

Have a look at the name of the player, along with his flag, birth year and the club or city he represents. The rating change on top right is shown right next to the current rating, so that you can immediately calculate what your live rating is. The rating performance is explicity mentioned below the results.

Two graphs which are interesting are the standings and rating change. You can instantly get to know how the tournament fared for a particular player by having a look at these graphs.

Personalized pairings in the form of a text message received on player’s phone before the game

Tournament organizers who wish to list their tournaments on Chess Manager can register from here. Says Cybulski,"Polish Chess Championships 2015 and 2016, as well as the biggest one-day chess tournament in Poland - the Memorial of Ferdinand Dziedzic was done using Chess Manager. Also Akiba Rubinstein Chess Festival in Polanica and Poznan Chess Festival used our services. Thanks to Olexandr Prohorov, ChessManager was used, among others, in Ukrainian Chess Championship 2016, as well as the largest rapid chess tournament in Lviv. In total, our program has already carried out more than 500 tournaments in 2 years of its existence." 

The analysis room was the balcony of the the Velvet Hotel where you could order a drink and experience the joy of chess analysis

These two gentlemen show you how its done!

Often the work put in by the organizers is seen through small ideas like the following:

The water cans were branded with the name of the tournament along with chess images

The Warakomska family put in their heart and soul to make this tournament a grand success. The 2018 event would be much bigger and better. And they will be there to welcome you!



Sagar Shah is an International Master from India with two GM norms. He is also a chartered accountant and would like to become the first CA+GM of India. He loves to cover chess tournaments, as that helps him understand and improve at the game he loves so much. He is the co-founder of the ChessBase India website.
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ketchuplover ketchuplover 8/27/2017 11:00
Condolences to all the affected. Keep up the great work. I'm sure Irena is eternally proud of you.
neilparker62 neilparker62 8/28/2017 01:55
A fitting tribute indeed! Thanks for this inspiring article.
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