Istanbul-Cologne rematch

11/21/2013 – Just over a year and ago a nice event took place online. The players from Satranc Club in Istanbul huddled together to play a match against their opponents from Cologne. The clubs and the players loved the rivalry, but they still wanted to meet over the board, face to face. Through hard work and clever organization this was made possible and Guven Manay reports on a friendly match.

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Cologne vs Istanbul, part two!

by Güven Manay

Approximately 15 months ago it was August 12th, 2012. At this date, a very small piece of chess history may have been written: Two city teams played online chess against each other, but sitting together in one room, and not like usual in online tournaments, which is anonymously at home. This was a memoroable and great event. However the players wished to face each other in person for the next match. The most common restrictive resources in these kind of intentions are usually time and money.

After Walter Kluth (Former Cologne Muncipal Council and President of Cologne Istanbul Partnership Club) and Güven Manay (President of the Intercultural Chess Club Satranç Club 2000 e. V. in Cologne and also member of the City Partnership Club together with his wife) requested the necessary resources successfully from the sports office of the municipality of Cologne; and after Mr. Sait Riza Öney (President of the Istanbul Representation of Turkish Chess Federation), has been advised from Turkish Federation President Gülkiz Tülay to arrange a tournament venue together with the municipality of the Istanbul district Bakirköy, the detailed planning started.

As usual, the final organization had to be done as soon as possible. Within one day, the Cologne Team gathered together to enable the postings in time. Satranç Club also achieved this using a mixture of its own club members, players, and some spontaneously asked friendly title holders from other clubs. The city partnership club then arranged the travel bookings. The Istanbul Chess Friends arranged the players with comparable ratings, in order to enable a match of more or less comparable teams.

Two weeks before the event took place Güven Manay (middle) visited the Istanbul Chess Club ISD, the location in which last year the Istanbul part of the Online tournament took place. He took a thank you badge for his efforts to the game of Chess.

After an evening lunch of the tournament participants, close to the famous blue mosque (invited from the Istanbul Chess Friends) the next day the tournament started at on November 16th, 2013. The venue is located in the house of arts in Yesilköy, close to a beautiful marina.

In the presence of the culture and press responsible of the German Consulate in Istanbul, Harald Schindler, the City Council member of Bakirköy, Ugur Özhabes, and the organizational responsibles Riza Öney and Güven Manay, several thank you badges were provided. Amongst these there were greeting letters from the German Chess Federation President Herbert Bastian to all participants, from the Cologne Chess Federation (President Andreas Gerdau), from the Cologne Consul General of Turkish Republic, Hüseyin Emre Engin to the Istanbul German Consul General, Jutta Wolke. Chief arbiter in this ELO rated tournament was FIDE certified Cigdem Aktuz, who already had the honor to represent the arbiters in the swearing-in ceremony during the Chess Olympiad in 2012.

It would be possible to tell many stories about the different participants, and all of them are unique. Here are just some examples. Fernando Braga, who has already three GM norms, and who is waiting for the official confirmation of his title. He was responsible for school chess in the whole city of Madrid, until this topic had to come to a closing, because of the economic crisis in Spain. Then he came to Cologne. Mr. Braga was already at the annual meeting of Satranç Club, and he received a good welcome there immediately.

Or the multiple Olympiad participant Eneida Perez de Luecke, who founded a chess village in the Dominican Republic and who is an artist. She provided three of her chess related artworks for a symbolic value to Satranç Club, which have been gratefully received from Sait Riza Öney on behalf of the Turkish Chess Federation.

The artwork

Or the former Turkish national player Isil Goler, who lived years ago as an exchange student in Germany, and was member of Satranç Club. She now lives in Turkey again and travelled from Ankara to this event, because she still feels connected to her Cologne Chess friends.

The Istanbul participants are of course not less interesting: IM Umut Atakisi, who visited in 2001 the Satranç Club on their first significant event, which was a friendly match between a junior selection of the German and Turkish Chess Federation and the first intercultural tournament of Satranç Club in Cologne.

The highly talented 8 years old Isik Can, who already won the U7-School Chess World Championship and participated together with his also successful brother Melih Kaan. A great chess career is already forecasted for Isik Can.

Melih Kaan

The experienced FM and internist Ates Ülker, who was Turkish Champion in 1985, and visited the club house of Satranç Club a few weeks before the tournament.

After symbolic opening moves from Mr. Özhabes and Mr. Schindler, the games started

The event in action

The Istanbul team won the first round clearly with 6.5-2.5. Is was remarkable that many games were hardfought. The second round in the evening was equal for a long while, and after some time it seemed there were many winning positions for Cologne, but it ended 5.5-3.5 in favour of the Istanbul Team.

Because it was a friendly match, Gold Medals for all participants were provided by the Turkish Chess Federation, including logos of both countries' federations for all sportswomen and sportsmen. The city of Bakirköy provided Turkish mocha sets, in order to remember the Turkish saying “Bir fincan kahvenin kirk yil hatiri var” (The analogous translation of this would be: “a cup of coffee lasts for 40 years of friendship”)

It is also remarkable that one of the players came in last minute to the venue, using the recently build, earthquake-proof transcontinental tunnel "Marmaray" between the European and Asian side of the multi-million city. Busy helpers in the background, like Mehmet Öney for Istanbul and Edgar Hennig for Cologne, enabled the live broadcast in Internet in both German and Turkish. It may have increased the online audience rate, which was already high thanks to the World Chess Championship.

After a tour of Bosphorus after the tournament day the Cologne participants, which for the majority it was the first time in Istanbul, obtained a broader picture of the city. For the next time, it would be highly appreciated if (maybe even in 2014) that there would be a follow up event in Cologne. There is no doubt that Cologne would like to win their first homematch in this small tournament series. The next planned event of  Satranç Club is also related to Istanbul: On December 8th, the 7th intercultural speed chess tournament will take place in Cologne. 50% of all entry fees will be sent to the Istanbul welfare organization "Umut Çocukları"‚ (Hope for children).

Posing near the Marina. Next time it will be Cologne's turn to host!

Photos by: Mehmet Oney

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Topics Cologne, Istanbul
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