David Howell meets world champions in Barcelona

by ChessBase
3/11/2008 – What a drag! The youngest grandmaster ever in the UK, David Wei Liang Howell, 17, was invited to Barcelona, Spain, to play in the Catalonian League. There he was forced to escort a bevy of bubbly young girls, most of them world junior champions (who probably also hero-worship him), on sightseeing tours through the city and the famous Parc Güell. His host IM Anna Matnadze reports.

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World Champions and Chess Prodigies

Report by IM Anna Matnadze

In 2005, Anna Matnadze and friends founded an international charity movement called "Chess – Peace Ambassador", which has gained a significant recognition and popularity since then. The main goals of the Movement are the popularization of chess, the development of women's chess, assistance to disabled and disadvantaged children, assistance to victims of natural disasters, the foundation of chess clubs and chess schools aimed at chess development. These goals are well known to the general public.

The movement has already conducted charity activities, among them the tournament “We Fight Against Drugs” (Tbilisi) and “Assistance to the victims of flood in Western Georgia” (Tbilisi). The participants in these tournaments collected clothes and other items of primary need and sent them to the victims of the flood. A tournament in Tallinn (Estonia) also aimed at supporting the Movement. Especially intensive and close collaboration has been established with the Catalan Chess Club “Peona i Peó”. Members of the Movement’s chess club “Mtredebi-Doves” – World Champions Sopiko Guramishvili, Keti Tsatsalashvili, and Mariam Danelia – have already participated three times in the tournaments and club championships held in Spain.

"Peona i Peó" is currently successfully participating in Catalonia Club Championship. The club, for which Sopiko, Keti and Mariam are playing, is one of the two leaders of the tournament with six ponts out of six matches. In March 2008 the Canarian Chess Federation, together with Club de Ajedrez Caja Canarias and Club de Ajedrez Isla Bonita, invited the President and members of the movement “Chess – Peace Ambassador” WGM Ana Matnadze, World Champion under 10 (1993) and under 14 (1997), WIM Sopiko Guramishvili (World Champion under 16), FM Keti Tsatsalashvili (World Champion under 16) and FM Mariam Danelia (World Champion under 12) together with the Egyptian GM Ahmed Adly (World Junior Champion) to participate in the “V Torneo Internacional Los Llanos de Aridane”, where they will play on behalf of the Movement “Chess – Peace Ambassador”. We promise to report about the events when we are back from the Canaries.

GM David Howell – actually David Wei Liang Howell. “Wei” means “great”, and “liang” means “kind”, in Mandarin Chinese. The whole middle name is pronounced like “William” (“Guillermo” in Spanish, “Guillem” in Catalan)

On February 22nd, 2008 young chessplayer David Howell, together with his sister Julia and his mother Angeline visited Barcelona. He had been invited there by Ana Matnadze and Chess Club "Ateneu Colón", to play in the Catalonian League. He won his first game on board one against GM Oscar de la Riva (Elo 2548), one of the strongest players of the chess club "Andorra". David met young Georgian chess players, world champions and even played a friendly match with Sopiko Guramishvili, who is visiting Barcelona on behalf of the "Chess – Peace Ambassador". He also met management and members of chess clubs "Ateneu Colón" and "Peona Peó", other Catalan friends and had a chance to enjoy sightseeing tour in Barcelona. Pictures of these sightseeing are presented below.

What a welcome! Julia, David's 14-year-old sister, in front of a local bus

And a leaning welcome for the talented young Englishman: Mariam, Sopiko and Keti in the Parc Güell

Park Güell is a garden complex with spectacular architectural elements, designed by the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí and built in the years 1900 to 1914. It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site "Works of Antoni Gaudí".

David with his sister Julia and mother Angeline

Tourist GM in the Parc

Angie and Julia and David in Parc Güell

David speaks fluent German and French; but what about Mandarin Chinese? "My mum knows seven different dialects of it. I understand quite a lot, speak it a little, and hope to become fluent as well soon…”. We are currently him Spanish and Catalan. He is also a good photographer

Barcelona – a view from the high “Mirador” in the Parc

Keti, Sopiko, David and Catalan friend Carles Moya, who is quite fluent in… Georgian!!

David and Jordi Moreno, the manager of “Ateneu Colón”, the Club David plays for

A quick late night blitz match with Sopiko, World Champion under 16 2006. David won 3:2

Such a drag! The young GM has to join the young girls on a sightseeing trip

You cannot leave Barcelona without having sat on the mammoth trunk in the Ciudadela

Mariam Danelia, World Champion under 12 in 2006

Rivalry is left behind, friendship is in the air – the two World Champions under 16

She is real – La Rambla

Taking a break in a Barcelona church – Jordi and myself (Anna) with Keti and Sopiko behind us

About the author

Anna Matnadze, 25, from Georgia, studied German language and literature, and did a degree in International Journalism at the Ivane Javakhishvili State University in Tiblisi. In chess she achieved the titles of WFM at the age of 10, WIM at 16, WGM at 19 and IM at 23. In 2005 she was elected president of the International Charity Movement “Chess – a Peace Ambassador”. Today she coaches, for the Catalonian Chess Federation, players under ten years for the Spanish Championships in Linares. Anna speaks Georgian, German, English, Russian, Spanish, Catalan and Portuguese.


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