An eventful chess weekend in Maribor

by Antonio Pereira
6/17/2018 – The second weekend of June saw Slovenia's second largest city, Maribor, host a series of chess activities. First, Alexei Shirov took on six promising Slovenian players in a clock simultaneous exhibition. At the same time, a match faced two very strong historical figures in the chess world, Alexander Beliavsky and Evgeny Sveshnikov. The weekend also included an online match against a club from Shanghai, a blitz tournament and the final match of a league of cadets. | Photo: Lena Uranjek

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Chess takes over town

By Misa Hrenic  

The European Chess Academy and the ZSK Maribor Chess Club organized a set of attractive chess activities in Maribor. 

The action kicked-off on Friday, June 8th, when former World Championship challenger Alexei Shirov gave a clock simultaneous exhibition against six promising Slovenian cadets. The games were exciting until the very end and the public saw some real fighting spirit. Alexei Shirov had to give away two draws to score a still impressive 5-1. The event took place at the Mercure Maribor City Center Hotel.

All games of the simul:


At the same time, but at a beautiful gallery centre in Maribor's downtown, legendary GM Alexander Beliavsy was playing a match against the current Senior World Champion Evgeny Sveshnikov. On Friday, they played four rapid games and, on Saturday, they battled in four boards simultaneously with a classical time control. Beliavsky won the rapid 3-1 and the players tied in the Basque-match 2-2. 

Two legendary figures battled in Maribor | Photo: Lena Uranjek

The eight games of the match:


The Styria's Cadet League, one of the biggest Slovenian youth events, organized its final tournament to coincide with the chess weekend. On June 8th, the tenth and last event took place. From September 2017, over two-hundred players in three different age groups —U9, U12 and U15— had been regularly attending the tournaments, and the overall winners were decided in Maribor.

On Saturday, at the Secondary Civil Engineering School of Maribor, a unique online match was played. The ZSK Maribor and the Small World Chess Club from Shanghai confronted on thirty boards in three different age groups — U10, U14 and U18. The match was equalised for a long time, but got decided right at the end — the ZSK Maribor won 16-14. The activity served to strengthen the bond and deepen the friendship between the clubs.

Kids from Slovenia and China played an online match | Photo: Lena Uranjek

Finally, the Maksimiljan Dular Memorial was organized at the Habakuk Hotel on Sunday. It was a blitz tournament that attracted around a hundred players from five different countries. Serbian GM Markus Robert won the event, followed by Slovenian GM Adrian Mikhalchishin and Croatian IM Mrdja Milan.  

Many important chess personalities visited and participated. The most important among them was the President of the European Chess Union, Zurab Azmaiparashvili, the Vice President of FIDE Boris Kutin and other presidents and representatives from the Slovenian, Serbian, Croatian and Austrian Chess Federations. The main supporter of the events, philanthropist Eugeny Ushakov, also joined them and could see the events first hand. Mr. Ushakov is also the main sponsor of the upcoming World Senior Chess Championship 2018, which will be organized in Bled, Slovenia in November 2018.

The Maksimiljan Dular Memorial blitz tournament | Photo: Lena Uranjek

More about the European Chess Academy

The European Chess Academy, an institute for the development of creative thinking in Maribor, was founded by two chess lovers and friends, Slovenian Grandmasters Adrian Mikhalchishin and Georg Mohr. The academy serves the purpose of showing the world why chess deserves the title of the most magnificent game in the world, how it can be used as one of the best educational tools and how, at the same time, it can be a great way to socialize. The Academy has a lot to offer: chess schools, organization of tournaments for all levels, education programs for teachers and trainers, great new books and many others special projects.

Official website of the Academy

More about ZSK Maribor

The most famous Slovenian chess club, the ZSK Maribor, was established in 1927. To the present day, the club and its dedicated members focus their attention on different chess areas: participation of their players and teams in various chess tournaments both in the country and abroad, establishment of a famous chess school, organization of numerous national and international tournaments — the most well-known amongst them being the traditional tournament organized in memory of the great Grandmaster Vasja Pirc. All the club's hard work and dedication throughout the years paid off with many great achievements, both individual and as a team.

Official website of the Club

Antonio is a freelance writer and a philologist. He is mainly interested in the links between chess and culture, primarily literature. In chess games, he skews towards endgames and positional play.


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