Highlights of Cracovia 2004

by ChessBase
1/9/2005 – From December 27 to January 4 there was an interesting Chess Festival in the historical Polish city of Cracow, with a total of 400 participants in four groups. We were contacted by one Karol Olko, who sent us pictures and information and, with great journalistic instincts, pointed out the highlight of the event. You are going to want to remember the name Kamil Tomsia.

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A few days ago we were invited on a (virtual) tour of the Cracovia Chess Festival. Our host was Karol Olko. He provided us with information, links and pictures and pointed us to the highlights of the event. These will be presented in the second half of this report

The XV International Chess Festival in Cracow (Poland) was held from December 27, 2004 to January 4th, 2005. It was organised by the Malopolska Chess Federation and the Mayor of Cracow. There were four groups: A for players with an Elo of over 2100, B for 1800-2099, C for players under 1800, and D for children born after 1992. Accommodation for guests was provided at a very reasonable rate: for full board from December 27 to Jan 4th you had to pay between €173 (hotel, single room) and €103 (boarding school, four persons per room). That's $230 to $137 for nine days of accommodation and meals.

The Royal Capital City of Kraków (English Cracow or Krakow) is one of the oldest and largest cities of Poland, with a population of three quarters of a million. This historic city is located in the southerly region of Little Poland (Malopolska).

Kraków has traditionally been one of the leading scientific, cultural and artistic centres of the country. It was once the national capital and is considered by many to still be the heart of Poland, due to its history of more than a thousand years. Kraków is also a major centre of local and international tourism, with more than two million visitors annually.

The top seed of the tournament, GM Artur Jakubiec (Elo 2556) began very well but then started playing short draws. That was the chance for the very talented IM Radoslaw Wojtaszek (U-18 WCh, 4th place in U-20 WCh), the hope of Polish chess, went for the sole lead and won the whole tournament with great 7.5/9 score.

Picture gallery

The tournament hall at the start of the round

Players of all ages and abilities compete in Cracow

GM Vladimir Malaniuk and IM Radoslaw Wojtaszek

Another pair to watch: the very young and talented Tokarski brothers

Poland has and attracts a large number of female chess players

Pictures and information provided by Karol Olko

A little boy to remember

When Karol Olko sent us the following picture our first reaction was: oh, please, tell us that the child didn't win this game! In his message Karol wrote: "I think you should focus your attention on the very talented Kamil Tomsia. He was born in 16.04.1996, and his Fide Elo is already 2051! Maybe the record of Sergey Karjakin will be broken soon!"

Yes, you read correctly – Kamil is just eight years old. The above picture was taken in Dobczyce last September, when his rating was still 1800. "Kamil is small for his age and has to use a children's car seat during his games so he can see and reach across the board," Karol tells us. "It looks really funny!"

In the past year Kamil won the Polish Under 8 speed chess championship (30 minutes for all moves) with a 100% score.

At the Cracovia Chess Festival (above) Kamil played in Group B. He ended in place 95 (of 163) with 4 points from nine rounds. Here's his first round game.

Tomsia,Kamil (2000) - Dudzinski,Piotr (2098) [D12]
Cracovia B Krakow (1.1), 27.12.2004
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.e3 Nf6 4.Nf3 Bf5 5.Nc3 e6 6.Bd3 Bg6 7.0-0 Bd6 8.cxd5 exd5 9.Re1 Ne4 10.Qc2 f5 11.Nd2 Bxh2+ 12.Kf1 Qh4 13.Nf3 Qh6 14.Nxd5 Bd6 15.Nf4 Bxf4 16.exf4 Qh1+ 17.Ng1 0-0 18.Qb3+ Rf7 19.Bc4 b5 20.Be6 Na6 21.Qh3 Qxh3 22.Nxh3 Nb4 23.Re2 Re8 24.Bxf7+ Bxf7 25.b3 Rd8 26.Be3 Nc3 27.Rd2 Ne4 28.Rdd1 Nc3 29.Rd2 Ne4 30.Rb2 Nd3 31.Rc2 Bd5 32.Ng5 Nxg5 33.fxg5 f4 34.Bd2 f3 35.gxf3 Rf8 36.f4 Nxf4 37.Bxf4 Rxf4 38.Ke2 Rxd4 39.f3 a5 40.Rc3 a4 41.Re3 Kf7 42.Rd1 Rb4 43.bxa4 Rxa4 44.a3 Kg6 45.Rg1 Rf4 46.Kf2 Rf5 47.Rg3 Rxg5 48.Rxg5+ Kxg5 49.Kg3 Kf6 50.Kf4 h5 51.Kg3 Kf5 52.Re7 g5 53.Re8 h4+ 54.Kf2 g4 55.Rf8+ Kg5 56.f4+ Kg6 57.Rh8 Kf5 58.Ke3 h3 59.Rh5+ Ke6 60.Kf2 c5 61.Kg3 b4 62.axb4 cxb4 63.Kxg4 b3 64.Rxh3 b2 65.Re3+ Kf6 ½-½ [Click here to replay this game.]

You can see that Kamil played a very spirited game and was doing fine until move 35. He got into a bit of trouble in the endgame, but defended tenaciously and thoroughly deserved the half point.



Oh yes, one more thing. We asked the person we had been dealing with, Karol Olko – remember, the guy with the great journalistic instincts, who had sent us all the information and text – to tell us about himself. Somehow we had imagined this was a middle-aged chess organiser who wanted his tournament to get some international attention. Karol's reply was astonishing:

"I'm a 14-years-old Polish boy. I started playing chess very recently. Okay, I knew the basics from my childhood, when I was watching games between my father and brother. I started reading chess books in March this year, and improved my skill greatly by playing blitz on the Playchess.com server, and by watching GM games there, for example the Kramnik-Leko match. Since then I started winning against members of my family. So I decided to play some tournaments. In Cracovia I played in group C. I didn't do well in this tournament, with poor 3.5/9 score. I hope that in next year my score will be at least twice as high! I am a regular reader of the chessbase.com news page and a member of playchess.com."

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