1st Anastasia Chess School on Krk Island

10/5/2012 – Anastasia Golubenko was a superb chess trainer who mass-produced an army of champions in Estonia. Earlier this year, aged 46, she passed away after a long illness. Croatian chess friends organised a commemorative Chess School on the island of Krk, close to where Anastasia spent her youth. The U11 tournament was auspiciously won by her daughter Sanja. Report by Valery Golubenko.

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The 1st Anastasia Chess School on Krk Island

By Valery Golubenko

The world is often very unfair, especially to its best. Perhaps, they are just more valuable to the eternal skies than to our bomb-happy earthians. Anastasia taught her students to fight a war with chessmen, but in everyday life she was helpless to fight the arbitrary rules of its administration. A quarter of a century ago she came to Estonia from Volgograd, a town that had been victorious in World War II. But in the third millennium it's turned out a war is still in progress, one against herself and her family. This vibrant young woman, the best chess coach in the country, passed away last Easter. Naturally we keep Anastasia in our hearts, minds, and memory, but we want to continue her professional life as well.


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The 1st Anastasia Chess School was held this August in the Punat, Krk Island, Croatia. It was not a simple journey for me, Anastasia's husband, and our daughters, Valentina and Alexandra, all chess players. Four years ago all four of us went to the same place, to swim, tan and prepare for the Women's World Championship 2008. We were full of energy and happy family:


Anastasia and our daughters Sanja and Valja on Krk Island in August 2008


Happy moments in the Adriatic sea: Anastasia and Sanja


Preparation for the Women's World Chess Championship 2008 with GM Ognjen Cvitan
[Photo by Anastasia Golubenko]

We are most grateful to our Croatian friends, for the umpteenth time providing us with our little home away from home, and to ChessBase for the generous prize funding. Ivan Mandekic, the chess organizer from Rijeka, changed the schedule of his August chess school on the Krk Island, including into its program two rapid tournaments: U17 for advanced players, and U11, for beginners.

It was my dream that participants of the U11 tournament should get prizes from ChessBase, namely Fritz & Chesster programs. Ivan Mandekic expected about ten players for the beginners' competition, and we agreed with ChessBase that they will provide seven copies of Fritz & Chesster 3 for the seven first places, and three complete sets of Fritz & Chesster (1, 2, and 3) for the last three. For the stronger U17 competition we expected about twenty participants, and ChessBase provided six valuable chess program as prizes for the three best girls and three best boys: a starting pack of Chessbase 11, Deep Fritz 13, and the ChessBase Opening Encyclopedia for the best boys, and three Fritz 13, also signed by Garry Kasparov, for best girls


ChessBase prizes for the U17 tournament

Ivan Mandekic, for his part, named this event the Anastasia Chess Summer (Anastasia Chess School + Anastasia Chess Cup), and published a special announcement on the site of Chess Club Draga Rijeka he runs: http://www.sah-draga.com. Thanks to these efforts the event gained additional popularity and more participants. For the beginners' tournament U11 twice the expected number of participants turned up, and we faced a problem with prizes to give all 20 players. So we unpacked the complete sets of Fritz & Chesster 1, 2 and 3, and luckily for us there were several pairs of siblings (sister + brother, two sisters, and two brothers!).


Prizes for the U11 tournament

The final prize was a special one personally from Anastasia Golubenko. In her last days she asked me to give to the children all our Kasparov Chess Computers left from my distribution activity (for the Hong Kong company Saitek, with whom Garry Kasparov was affiliated from 1983). I brought one, and it became a very special prize from Anastasia and from all our family. And especially for these tournaments, U11 and U17, Ivan Mandekic prepared commemorative medals for all prize winners with the engraving "Anastasijin Kup" Škola Šaha.

The first several days of the Anastasia Chess Summer 2012 were working days in the chess school. GM Ognjen Cvitan and FIDE Trainer Ivan Mandekic with his assistants gave their students chess lessons and tested their performance with thematic chess studies. Then, on August 24th the tournament among advanced players U17 was held in the People House of Punat.

The results of this competition can be found on the chess results. The rating favorites and master candidates Ivan Vihor Krsnik Cohar (2141) and Sven Tica (2112) scored 6.5/7 points and shared 1-2 places. The smallest possible tie-break decimals gave victory to Ivan. He was really happy with the first prize, the ChessBase 11 Starting Package, and didn't hesitate to show his pleasure that.


Happy winner of the main ChessBase prize Ivan Vihor Krsnik Cohar

The prize-giving ceremony was headed by the vice-mayor of Punat, Gordan Franolic (right). The ChessBase prizes were given to the winners by WGM Valentina Golubenko. On the left is the organiser of the event Ivan Mandekic.

The second prize, the latest Deep Fritz 13, signed by Garry Kasparov, was presented to Sven. The final boy's prize, a ChessBase Opening Encyclopedia, went to the next rating favorite Emil Rajter (1974), who scored two points less. A peloton of two boys and three girls, all with four points, produced all winners amongst the girls: Viktorija Vujic, master candidate Ena Cvitan (daughter of GM Cvitan), and Jelena Dašic. They all got the Fritz 13 package, with only the first prize winner getting one that was signed by Garry Kasparov.


All U17 winners. From left: Ivan Mandekic, Emil Rajter, Valentina Golubenko, Ivan Vihor Krsnik Cohar, Sven Tica, Gordan Franolic, Jelena Dašic, Viktorija Vujic, Ena Cvitan.

The same evening, on the town esplanade, former junior world champions Ognjen Cvitan and Valentina Golubenko gave simultaneous exhibitions for the participants of the U17 tournament.


Ivan Mandekic's announcement of the simul by grandmasters Valentina Golubenko and Ognjen Cvitan

It wasn't a walk-over for both, and they lost by half a point. Valentina let her opponents choose the color:


The simuls in progress

Three days later Valentina and Ognjen joined the Croatian national teams in Zagreb to fly to the World Chess Olympiad in Istanbul, Valentina as a player for women's team, and Ognjen as a coach of the Swiss men's team.

Anastasia Chess Summer 2012 days were completed by the U11 rapid tournament. As you already know all twenty participants got the ChessBase prizes! There was a tough fight for first place between two nine-year-old girls, Sanja Golubenko and Paula Kraljic, who had shared 2-3 places in the Croatian 2012 championship G9.


Sanja Golubenko vs Paula Kraljic

They played the hidden final in the second round.

In this position Alexandra played 1.Ne6 Kd7 2.b7 etc. Both girls won all their remaining games and with it the overall tournament among boys and girls. Alexandra took the boy's gold medal, and Paula took girl's gold medal.


Second boy was Andrijan Kovacic...


...and third was Paula's brother Emanuel Kraljic, both with four points each


Second and third girls were the Grškovic sisters: Ana with three points...


... and little Mare with two points

The prize-giving ceremony was headed again by the vice-mayor of Punat Gordan Franolic. Special prize from Anastasia Golubenko, the Kasparov chess computer, was given to Ante Starcevic as the most assiduous disciple of the chess school lessons. Ante took fifth place and thus left without the boy's bronze medal.


The special prize from Anastasia Golubenko has been given to Ante Starcevic


The vice-mayor of Punat Gordan Franolic with Sanja Golubenko

In this rapid competition I followed only games of my daughter and would like to offer some moments from her other games:

1st round: Igor Lukicic-Sanja Golubenko

1...Nxc3+! 2.bxc3 Qxd5+ and Black won

4th round: Sanja Golubenko-Silvio Franolic-Kukina

1.Bxf6! Bxf6 2.e5 Bh4? 3.Qxg4 and White won

5th round: Andrijan Kovacic-Sanja Golubenko

This was the real final, as both players had four points from four games. Sanja played 1...Bd7!? with the idea, which came true: 2.Bh6? Nh5! and White lost a piece and then the game.

The next day, after the first Anastasia Chess Summer had finished, Ivan Mandekic published some very heartfelt words on the Chess Club Draga Rijeka website. My translation from Croatian is here: "We often say that life is a novelist. This is a real chess story dropped into an unusual and soulful human context: the overall winner of the tournament is Anastasia's younger daughter, nine-year old Sanja Golubenko. Surely her mother, somewhere there among the stars, feels pride at seeing her daughter wearing a gold medal with the name of her mother."

Previous stories

The Personal Island of Anastasia Golubenko (Part one)
10.06.2012 – Like a bright comet in the cool Estonian sky she appeared, a quarter-century ago, from her far-off Volgograd island, to mass-produce a youthful army of chess champions of Estonia, Russia, Europe and the world. Then she made her final journey back to her home and her parents, full of vitality, which slowly ebbed from her. After a long illness Anastasia Golubenko, 46, died. She will not be forgotten.
The Personal Island of Anastasia Golubenko (Part two)
25.06.2012 – She was one of the most dedicated and successful coaches Estonia ever had, producing national, European and even world champions in the junior categories. But as a Russian she was ostracized, as were some of her students. Her tireless battle for their rights ended when Anastasia passed away at the age of 46. Her loving family and friends are planning a tribute for her. You can contribute.

Copyright Golubenko/ChessBase


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