Antalya – an invitation to Chess Part II

2/16/2007 – During our recent visit to Antalya we had an opportunity to witness a very moving spectacle: 1,300 children taking part in the Turkish Youth Championship, in age groups between 8 and 18. The venue, a five-star hotel resort, was swamped by chess playing kids, some showing remarkable talent, all showing great enthusiasm. Pictorial report.

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Turkish Youth Championship in Antalya – Part II

Report by Frederic Friedel

Between 28 January and 3 February the Turkish Youth Championship was held in Antalya, a grand festival with 1,273 children participating. There were 284 girls and 889 boys in the event, in age groups between 8-18. Included were journalists, parents, trainers and some 2,000 visitors. We reported on the opening of this remarkable event. Here are pictorial impressions of well over a thousand children captivated by chess.


On the day before the first round the Limra Hotel Resort in Kemer slowly filled with children, parents and trainers. Soon there was not a corner of the hotel that is not taken over by the royal game.


Boys form their little groups to practice or to discuss opening ideas


Young ladies planning a strategy for their first round games


Even the youngest join the analysis sessions


Struggling to find the truth in a complicated position


A one-on-one lesson before the game


Young Turkish talents practicing, under the watchful eyes of GM Adrian Mikhalchishin (background left), the head Turkish trainer, and FM Özgür Solakoglu, TCF Board Member and international arbiter.


On the day of round one players and parents stream to the tournament halls


The hall before the start of the round...


...is soon filled with hundreds of chess playing children


The battle in full swing, pieces are whipped off the board


It is exhilarating to see how many girls are among the tournament participants

In the evening I am introduced to a number of Turkish chess talents. One was very special: Burcu Şaşmazel, a 12-year-old damsel from Izmir. The first name is pronounced "Burju", the second is Shash-mazel (the Turkish letter “ş” is pronounced “sh”). She is the girl who canvassed in front of the FIDE Presidential board for the World Youth Championship 2009 to take place in Antalya (pictures are to be found towards the end of our previous report).


With her trainer and members of the Turkish Chess Federation watching I gave Burcu my traditional talent test – one which many of today's top players have had to face in their early years.


This girl can concentrate. She solved the first part of the problem without moving any of the pieces in just a few minutes, and then went to work on part two, in the noisy, bustling recreation area of the hotel.


After 21 minutes Burcu had worked out the entire solution to the study

A fascinating young lady, who's other interest include mathematics and chemistry. Mainly mathematics. She also has a telescope and reads about astronomy. When I told her about my computer-controlled Maksutov which will find and track any star you key in, she said: "If I had a telescope like that I would go out every single night to study the skys!"

Here are the results of the age groups, provided by the Turkish Chess Federation.

2007 Turkish Youth Championship Standings (10 Rounds Swiss)

Under 10 General       Under 10 Girls    
1.Nurettin C. Tercioğlu İzmir   1. Yeşim Patel Manisa 9
2.Kamil Berkan Kirez İzmir   2. Beyza Akgül Mersin
3.Batuhan M.Taştan Bursa 9   3. Ezgi Nezihe Menzi Mersin 8
Under 12 General       Under 12 Girls    
1. Atilla Koksal Yuksel Ankara   1. Fatma Ayça Durmaz Antalya 9
2. Ahmet Olçum Mersin 9   2. Burcu Şaşmazel İzmir 8
3. Canku Emiroglu İzmir   3. Başak Sevgin Manisa
Under 14 General       Under 14 Girls    
1. Özgür Çatalkılıç Istanbul   1. Selen Sop İzmir
2. Burak Komut İzmir   2. Seray Tulay Mersin 6
3. Burak Fırat İzmir   3. Emel Kaya Mersin 6
4. Kaan Komut İzmir        
5. Utku Suer Tekirdag        
6. Irmak Sipahioglu Mugla        
7. Engin Topak Mersin        
8. Suleyman Karanlik Hatay        
Under 16 General       Under 16 Girls    
1. Mustafa Yılmaz Ankara   1. Gözde Dinçok Istanbul
2. Oğulcan Kanmazalp İzmir 8   2. Melodi Dinçel Istanbul
3. Murat Deniz Taşdelen Istanbul   3. Berfu Dinçok Istanbul 6
4. Ataman Aydogdu İzmir        
5. Mert Yilmazyerli İzmir        
Under 18 General       Under 18 Girls    
1. Ibrahim Gunaydın Istanbul 8   1. Özlem Gencer Ankara
2. Huseyin Yigit Yazgı Istanbul   2. Hazal Tıkır Adana
3. Can Ertan Mugla   3. Gözde Deniz Altunkeser
4. Levent Polatel Yalova        
5. Ali Ammar Camci Sakarya        
6. Ramazan Soyek Antalya        


The prize winners on the stage. You may spot our friend Burcu, who won the second prize in her age group


Kübra Öztürk handing out the prizes to the winners. Kübra is 15 and one of Turkey's biggest talents, having won the Gold medal winner at the European U16 Championship. She did not play in the Turkish Youth Championship, probably because she is too strong for the field.


Proud winners, with FIDE Vice President Zurab Azmaiparashvili
(left) and TCF President Ali Nihat Yazici on the stage.


The audienc at the closing ceremony pack the hall

The sponsor of this remarkable event is İş Bankasi (İş Bank, pronounced "ish bank"), which is supporting chess activities in Turkey on a massive scale. The Turkish Chess Federation receives substantial subsidies from the bank on a monthly basis for its chess activities, which includes supplying 100,000 chess books for the Chess in Schools project of the TCF.


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