A chess tournament in South Africa

8/12/2013 – "I’m on my way from Cape Town to Istanbul," writes GM Alexander Ipatov. "There is a large selection of movies and songs on board the Turkish Airlines flight, but I have decided to open my laptop and write this article. Why now and not when I arrive home? Because Cape Town and people whom I met left a huge mark in my heart. I want to share my impressions while they are still fresh." Part one.

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If I’m not mistaken, WGM Alina l'Ami and GM Sergei Tiviakov have already written few reports about Cape Town, so I must share something unique, something you haven’t seen yet. And I think, it won’t be a problem. I just found out that my external hard disk contains 4429 (!!) pictures and videos from this two-week stay in South Africa! Special thanks to Gerald and Alice Zidek who let me to take pictures with their professional cameras (one of them I unfortunately lost in the ocean during shark cage diving – about this later).

This will be mostly the picture report, since all other kinds of information about Cape Town is easy to find on Wikipedia. Before I go on, I would like to say that it was my best trip and the best spent time I ever had in my life. The games which I played there – is the last thing I will remember. What will really leave in my heart and memory forever – that is the people’s attitude and hospitality. I’ve been almost to 25 countries but can hardly name other places where I was treated like in South Africa.

So, who are those people? First of all, organizers of the event: Gerald and Alice Zidek. The above picture shows Alice and her daughter Bettina performing a concert during the opening ceremony. In the next Gerald Zidek is giving a speech.

Gerald and Alice were responsible almost for the whole organization of the event with 500+ participants. Apart from this, they accommodated three GMs (Marc Arnold, Raj Tischbierek and me) in their guest house Atlantic Gold with stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean. This morning, when I was leaving to airport, I felt like I was leaving my own home. They did absolutely everything possible and impossible that I could enjoy my stay!

I think I wouldn’t have come to Cape Town without support of Turkish Airlines, who became a large sponsor of the DSK Chess Tournament 2013. THY covered round-trip tickets for four GMs from USA, Belarus and Turkey. Where else can GMs below 2600 travel in business class on intercontinental flights?! Special thanks to Zafer Bolukbasi, who was very enthusiastic about sponsoring the event and chess development in South Africa. Zafer also mentioned that THY most probably will be the sponsor for next year too.

Another sponsor of the event was the Kasparov Chess Foundation Africa. I was glad to meet the foundation’s director, Graham Jurgensen, who is one of key person promoting chess in the whole African continent. During my stay I could already see that the chess boom in Africa is coming! Unfortunately, I was not able to take a picture of Graham because he left to Johannesburg the following day after the start of the event. But he did send an enchanting picture to the editor of the ChessBase news page...

Graham Jurgensen with his bride Nida Mishraz Siddiqui and the wedding witnesses. Nida, who is a medical doctor, was the first and until last year the only female in Pakistan to ... have a FIDE rating. Currently it is not listed because the country has not paid its fees to FIDE.

The tournament was named DSK after the Deutsche Schule Kapstadt, which was the venue of the event. I really hope, DSK will keep tradition and organize this event next year too. I’ve already expressed my desire to come again!

Time has passed very quickly and our plane just landed in Johannesburg for a short stop to take more passengers on our way to Europe. I think, it is time to begin our insight into the life of South Africa. Let’s go!

Camps Bay, where the Atlantic Gold guest house is located

The famous Table Mountain, symbol of Cape Town

Hout Bay – in Afrikaans "Houtbaai", which translates to "Wood Bay"

View of Camps Bay and Lion’s Head from Twelve Apostols Mountain

Lion's Head is a mountain in Cape Town, with a summit that reaches 669 metres (2,195 ft) above sea level. The peak forms part of a dramatic backdrop to the city of Cape Town and is part of the Table Mountain National Park.

On our way on top of the Lion’s Head Mountain

With my friend Marc Arnold during our climb to Lion’s Head Mountain

Fearless GM Raj Tischbierek on the top of Lion’s Head Mountain

Contemplating the meaning of life – GM Kivanc Haznedaroglu in an ideal place to do this

Cape Point is a promontory at the southeast corner of the Cape Peninsula,
at the extreme southwestern tip of the African continent.

Boulders beach, located near Cape Point, is home to thousands of penguins

Our little brothers — baboons

Turkish GM Kivanc Haznedaroglu, with Table Mountain behind him

Part two – on the tournament, shark diving and pro wrestling – to follow soon...


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