Chess at 1700 meters: Turkish İş Bank Chess League

6/28/2008 – The Turkish İş Bank Chess League is taking place from June 23 to July 3, 2008, with 22 GMs, 18 IMs, 15 FMs, 15 WGMs, 2 WIMs and 2 WFMs participating. It is taking place in a mountain resort near Izmit, just east of Istanbul, at an altitude of 6000 feet. We have a beautiful pictorial report brough to you from the Kartepe Mountain Resort by WGM Anastasiya Karlovich and Özgür Akman.

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The İş Bank Chess League 2008

Report by WGM Anastasiya Karlovich and Özgür Akman

The top players on the lists of the clubs include GM Vugar Gashimov (2680, but he did not show up) GM Dragan Solak (2630), GM Gadir Guseinov (2624), GM Hristos Banikas (2600), GM Suat Atalik (2592), GM Vasil Spasov (2579) ,GM Boris Savchenko (2569), GM Ioannis Papaiannou (2566), etc.

After the sixth round Manisa Doruk College and Adana Truva Chess Center are sharing first place, with 12 points each, followed by the last two year’s champions. Besiktas, Turkish Airlines (THY) and Servergazi. Adana Truva and Servergazi are newcomers to the league but they have quite strong squads.


We are on Turkish soil, close to the Izmit Bay

The venue

The venue is Kartepe Green Park Resort Hotel, a famous hotel on Kartepe, a mountain very close to Izmit (the eastern neighbour city of Istanbul) and it means “Snow Mountain” literally, which explains the reason the venue also being a famous skiing center. The mountain’s altitude is 1750 m.

The hotel is often chosen by football teams as a pre-season camping site. It regularly hosts the Turkish first division teams, and the chess players are staying together with Sivasspor, which last year fought hard for the Turkish Championship but were eventually surpassed by Fenerbahçe and Galatasaray, taking fourth place.

The format

The round robin event with 16 teams and each team has ten boards. The first four boards are without limitations, the fifth board is a women’s board (as it’s the same in the French and Greek team championships), the sixth board is a junior, the seventh under 16 boys, the eigth under 16 girls, the ninth under 14 boys and the tenth board under 14 girls. The best out of ten boards take the full match points.

Therefore, having strong grandmasters may not be sufficient for a club to get the title – the club has to have a strong youth squad, too. This might sound weird or unfair to some, but the rationale behind it is the urge the clubs to invest to the youth.

After the seventh round Doruk Koleji and Adana Truva has won all their games, but Truva has not entered the major battles yet, except for their victory against Besiktas, the reigning champions. Doruk Koleji won a crucial victory already against ISEK Aquamatch in round four, with a score of 6:4.

Let’s look at some of the teams and their squads...

The defending champions, Besiktas used to have GMs like Mamedyarov, Gashimov, Gurevich, Areschenko, Mirosnichenko, Kuzubov, Halkias and strong women players like Dembo. But this season they are playing with strong local players led by IM Umut Atakisi, the manager of the club. They are still very strong but we will see whether it is sufficient for a third consecutive title.


WFM Kubra Ozturk (actually Kübra Öztürk), 16, one of the sports celebrities of Turkey

A familiar name in the club for you might WFM Kübra Öztürk, twice U16 Girls European Champion, and Burcu Sasmazel. Besiktas, is actually the oldest (first registered) sports club in Turkey founded in 1903. They have strong football and basketball teams and compete in many branches of sports. Their nicknames are Black Eagles.


Burcu Sasmazel is 13, and good at chess, mathematics, science and astronomy


IM Emre Can, one of the Turkish youngsters, took the fourth place in U18 European Championship. He is rated 2461 and has one GM norm. Emre has scored 4/7 on second board so far.


GM Suat Atalik of ISEK Aquamatch making his move against GM Dragan Solak, leading the Tarsus Zeka Chess Club, the largest chess club in Turkey, with more than 2,000 members. They were the runner-up last season. However, they have worse results which might explain their mood in the picture.


Atilla Yüksel, 2007 World Under 11 Schools Champion, is very talented and very lively. He plays for TED Ankara College and has scored 5/7 so far.


Ayça Fatma Durmaz, another friend whom we already met back in World Youth Championship 2007 in Kemer. She plays for Antalya Deniz Genclik and her result is 3.5/4.


GM Levon Aroshidze and GM Tamaz Gelashvili, playing for Denizli Erbakir

Some clubs have their own uniforms, but these guys prefer to wear Manchester United and Barcelona shirts. When you see the total of 15 Georgian players participating in various clubs, you can be forgiven for thinking that it is the Georgian Open Championship!


GM Dragan Solak of Tarsus Zeka and GM Ioannis Papaiannou of ISEK Aquamatch in the analysis room, where the latter is showing his nice win against GM Farid Abbasov (who happens to be Solak’s teammate)


Onur Kinsiz of ITU and IM Mert Erdogdu, 2434, of THY, who recently played in Bosnia Sarajevo B group


IM Anna Muzychuk, 2486, originally from Ukraine, now the top Slovenian women player, in Turkey playing for the Turkish Airlines team, for which she has been playing for three years. She has scored 2/3


GM Efstratios Grivas, the well-known chess coach and writer, who looks after the the Turkish national team. Efstratios plays for Pamukkale University and has scored 4/7 on the first board so far.


The Bursa Tophane High School is led by Bulgarian champion GM Vasil Spasov, who scored 4/5


IM Ekaterina Atalik, the strongest Turkish women player and the spouse of first Turkish Grandmaster Suat Atalik, one of the strongest chess couples around nowadays. The play ISEK Aquamatch.


Anna's sister WGM Mariya Muzychuk, only 16 but already rated 2387. Above she is chatting with her opponent, Ilgin Ulusoy, playing for Bursa Tophane High School. Mariya has scored 7/7.


IM Kivanç Haznedaroglu, 2463, has two GM norms, together with Mustafa Yilmaz, agred 16 and rated 2342, a Turkish hopeful who made his mark in the Turkish Championship by defeating Mikhail Gurevich in the first round, winning an IM norm there.

Adana Truva, the rating favourites of the Turkish league won all of its seven games comforably. They have the Azerbaijani GMs Gashimov, Guseinov and Safarli, together with a strong Turkish squad, including the two in the picture above. Also, IM Baris Esen (2451), IM Nana Dzagnidze and...


Betül Cemre Yildiz, another good friend from the hosting country, who we know from World Youth Championship and Atatürk Women Masters


WIM Zehra Topel, 2234, 2007 Turkish Champion, playing for Istanbul Technical University (3/6 so far)


One of your dedicated reporters, WGM Anastasiya Karlovich, rated 2212

Current standings

# Team
+
=
MP
Pts

1

Truva Satranç

7

0

0

14

54½

2

Doruk Koleji

7

0

0

14

49½

3

Türk Hava Yollari

6

0

1

12

46

4

Beşiktaş Jimnastik Kulübü

5

0

2

10

43

5

Servergazi Belediye Spor

5

0

2

10

42

6

İsek Aquamatch

4

0

3

8

38½

7

İstanbul Teknik Üniversitesi

4

0

3

8

32½

8

Antalya Çallispor

3

1

3

7

32

9

Pamukkale Üniversitesi

2

2

3

6

31½

10

Antalya Deniz Gençlik

1

3

3

5

30

11

Er-Bakir Spor Kültür

2

0

5

4

33½

12

Tarsus Zeka Satranç

2

0

5

4

31½

13

Ted Ankara Kolejliler

1

2

4

4

28½

Bursa Tophane Meslek Listesi

2

0

5

4

28½

15

Mersin Ezgi Satranç Kulübü

1

0

6

2

23

16

Selçuk Üniversitesi

0

0

7

0

15½

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