Ivan Ivanisevic wins Karpos Open

by Diana Mihajlova
4/10/2015 – Macedonia does not automatically ring bells when it comes to chess, yet it has been home to some of the great chess battles, when its capital Skopje, flew under the flag of Yugoslavia. Trying to reignite its glories of the past, the 5th Karpos Open is one step in that direction, Skopje will also host the European Chess Club Cup later this year. Here is the report and a historic video.

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Continued from Karpos Open under way in Macedonia

The top seeds on the starting list more or less alternated in taking the lead until about the seventh round. Croation GM Zdenko Kozul who had a perfect 5.0/5,  lost the lead after two consecutive draws and a loss in the eight round to the Serbian GM, Ivan Ivanisevic, who eventually emerged as the sole winner with 7.5/9. Eight GMs followed with 7.0/9 in order of the Buchholz system: Vladislav Tkachiev (FRA), Murtas Kazhgaleyev (KAZ), Robert Markus (SRB), Zdenko Kozul (CRO), Alexandr Fier (BRA), Kiril Georgiev (BUL), Milos Perunovic (SRB), Branko Damljanovic (SRB).

The winner, Ivan Ivanisevic

Clutching the precious envelopes are: Vladislav Tkachiev, second place

Murtas Kazhgaleyev, third place

Alexandr Fier, sixth place

Tamir Nabaty, tenth place

Dinara Saduakassova, Best Woman Prize, 6.0/9

WIM Tijana Blagojevic (MNE), second Best Woman Prize, 5.5/9

WIM Laura Unuk (SLO), third Best Woman Prize, 5.0/9

All three category prizes up to a 2000 rating  went to Turkish players (from left) CM Ahmet
Utku Uzumku, Mustafa Alpago Gulsoy and FM Aydincelebi Kagan, all with 5.0/9

Macedonian players (from left) FM Robert Veleski, FM Ljubisa Andonovski, FM Nikola Nikolovski (U-16),
GM Trajko Nedev and IM Orce Dancevski

Macedonian women’s talent: WFM Monika Stojkovska and Simona Lakinska (U-16)

Vladimir Tkachiev, after a job well done

GM Petar Arnaudov (BUL), is often on the team of the ’Gambit Assecco’,
the organiser of the Karpos Open

(from left) WIM Velickovski-Nejkovic Maja (SRB) and Dragana Simic

On the initiative of Dragan Simic, president of the Chess Club Nis, in the neighbouring Serbia, a collaboration between the three neighbours, Serbia, Macedonia and Bulgaria was founded to unite children in various chess events, including training and tournaments.  Nis Chess Club is also organising an international Open starting soon, the Nis Open.

Before departing, the organisers IMs Zoran Stojkovski and Marjan Mitkov, could not resist and challenged WFM Dinara Saduakassova to a final blitz match in  the lobby of the ’Royal’ hotel. Stojkovski managed a draw and joked that as a good host, he did not want to win.

Zoran and Dinara playing blitz with Marjan kibitzing

Once again, recognition is due to the main force behind the Karpos Open: the Karpos municipality
and its Mayor, Mr Stefco Jakimovski. Under his auspices the next big chess event in Macedonia will
also run, the European Chess Club Cup, both the Open and Women events, 17 – 25 October, 2015.

The ECCC will bring together some of the top world players. It will be held at the same five-star hotel, the Alexandar Palace. The website is partially operational, but you can already register your team.

Skopje is on its way to reclaim the fame and its chess tradition, which it enjoyed at the time of the former Yugoslavia which was a chess force to reckon with. Almost all world champions have passed through the Macedonian capital at one time or other. After the unfortunate earthquake in 1963, for about ten years, a Solidarity Tournament ran as a yearly event which saw its golden age in terms opf participants, possibly best marked by the 20-year Jubilee Olympiad for Men and Women, in October 1972. The Russians won with a team fielding Petrosian, Korchnoi, Smyslov, Tal, Karpov and IM Savon. Spassky had been just beaten earlier in the year by Fischer and was not part of the Olympic team. It was the eleventh consecutive gold for the Russians, followed by Hungary and Yugoslavia.


An old video resurfaced about this Olympiad which evokes the nostalgia of those times. The free smoking policy is quite startling compared to today's standards.

Another postcard view of Skopje

A statue of the ’Apostles of the Slavs’, the brothers Cyril and Methodius. The brothers Cyril
and Methodius are the founders of the Slav language and culture. Macedonians belong to
the South Slav nations, speaking Slav, a Macedonian language with the Cyrillic alphabet.

Diana Mihajlova and her rabbit Suze

After enjoying the week-long, wonderful hospitality in the Macedonian capital, Suze and I are off to the beautiful Macedonian spot, the lake of Prespa, the most picturesque, unspoiled paradise on earth! (It is my birthplace, so I ask the readers to forgive me my partiality)

The lake of Prespa with its island ’Golem Grad’


You can use ChessBase 13 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs to replay the games in PGN. You can also download our free Playchess client, which will in addition give you immediate access to the chess server Playchess.com.

A former university lecturer in Romance philology, she is currently a painter as well as a chess journalist, and reports regularly from the international tournament scene.


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