Romanian League in a more or less exciting Black Sea resort

10/8/2012 – Why go to the Bulgarian Black Sea cost when we have the Romanian seaside jewel Mamaia? This question did not get an automatic answer when WGM Alina L'Ami attended the Romanian League, as a reporter and participant. The place looked off-season and forlorn, but that changed slowly with the joys of playing a team competition. Big pictorial report.

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Romanian League in Mamaia

Report by WGM Alina L'Ami

Some years ago I was in total indignation, hearing that my “traitor” friends were choosing as a holiday destination the Bulgarian coast. I was constantly bewildered: why drag yourself over a considerable distance to sit on the same sand, to soak your body in the sunlight and your liver in drink on the same Black Sea coast?! Noooooo, we have Mamaia, the Romanian seaside jewel! Or so they say…


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Seaside resort off season – not very inspiring


I am sure the entire place gets a new vibration in the summer time, with loud music,
loads of street vendors and wild parties...

Now I am not so sure anymore. I don’t like to be negative, but the initial feeling when I set foot on supposedly the best beach of Romania, was: am I in the wrong place? Probably the very unfriendly wind and the off-season atmosphere were not very helpful in cheering me up. Probably the Romanian League, which was about to start, was providing additional strain. Or maybe I have become a bit snobbish about beaches and beach towns?

Actually, I agree it was nice, the beach itself. However, the town lining the beach gave me the sad old industrial feel – not exactly my cup of tea. Besides several buildings looked rather undecided, meaning that for years their construction hasn’t been completed. They did not capture my attention on the seafront as did the luxury and kitsch which seemed to coexist perfectly together, the proportion varying according to each person’s taste. And if you want to feel good, Mamaia is not at all sympathetic, financially speaking. It burns you wherever it catches you, just like the sun after 12 o’clock noon.


Our hotel – I almost lost my camera in the Black Sea, trying to find a good angle

This was, in short, my premature disappointment. But once I started to acclimatize, once the weather improved and the tournament went on, I was surprised how I was looking at everything with different eyes. It was not a 180 degrees change, but I can honestly say that I enjoyed it!


A boat trip to the island of Publius Ovidius Naso, or simply Ovid in the English-speaking world

It couldn’t have been otherwise, since we were amongst friends, since we were playing a team competition, which is always more interesting than if you fight only for yourself. I do have one regret though: less and less clubs have money to send their women’s teams. Only eight lined up here. Nevertheless, it is worth mentioning that Ekaterina Atalik, Ketevan Arakhamia Grant, Anna Zatonskih and Corina Peptan (our best female player) were defending the first board.

In the men section, games of strong players like Andrei Volokitin, Ferenc Berkes, Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu, Ivan Salgado, Illya Nyzhnyk and many other 2600 players – were more than enjoyable to watch.


Your reporter in good spirits – I suppose that a seaside resort, even if off season, has the power to create endorphins. Maybe it's even better than the raucous atmosphere from the summer season.

Now, looking back, I fully agree with the Romanian saying: “people sanctifies the place”. In other words, with a nice event going on, with a beach full of chess players and the inspiring seawater on the horizon, Mamaia reveals itself as being not so bad at all. I am more than 100% sure it has a lot of potential, and if the present has a few gaps, the future smiles on us.

Final standing of the men's group

Rnk
Team
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
1
CS AEM Luxten Timisoara
 * 
3
5
6
2
Sah al Municipiului Baia Mare
 * 
3
4
3
ACS Sah Apa Nova Bucuresti
3
 * 
4
4
4
5
4
CS Medicina Timisoara
2
 * 
4
4
5
4
5
CS Politehnica Iasi
3
2
2
 * 
4
4
6
CSM Lugoj
1
2
2
 * 
3
4
4
7
CS Victoria Techirghiol
0
1
2
3
 * 
1
3
4
8
CSU Ploiesti
2
½
5
 * 
3
3
9
CS Sinandrei Timis
1
2
2
3
3
 * 
3
10
Sah Club Cugir
½
2
2
2
3
3
 * 

Final standing of the women's group

Rnk
Team
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
1
CSM Bucuresti
 * 
1
2
2
3
3
2
CS AEM Luxten Timisoara
2
 * 
1
3
2
2
3
3
CS Medicina Timisoara
1
2
 * 
2
0
2
2
4
CSM Lugoj
½
0
1
 * 
2
3
5
CS Politehnica Iasi
1
3
½
 * 
3
3
6
Clubul Central de Sah Bucuresti
½
1
1
½
0
 * 
7
ACS Sah Apa Nova Bucuresti
0
1
1
1
½
 * 
3
8
CS Universitatea Arad
0
0
½
0
0
0
 * 


The winners: AEM Luxten Timisoara for men, and ...


... CSM Bucuresti for women [two photos courtesy of Romanian Chess Federation]


The tournament hall

In the men's event there were six boards, with one reserved for a junior player (under 20 years old). In the women's section there were three boards, again with one for a junior under 20. Because three boards is rather little and because you get either two whites or two blacks, the Federation have decided in the future to increase the board number to four instead of three, so everybody will be satisfied.


What the teams were fighting for


Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu, Romania's top grandmaster


15-year-old Ukrainian chess prodigy GM Illya Nyzhnyk


Ukrainian GM Andrei Volokitin


GM Ferenc Berkes of Hungary


GM Mihail Marin, our famous chess writer and grandmaster


Mihail's wife Marin Luiza (on the left) and her twin sister Otilia Baciu (right) – I'm
always afraid I'll mix them up, for obvious reasons.

GM Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant playing on the first board for the winning team: CSM Bucuresti. Besides being a full grandmaster, Kety impresses me with her elegance and warm-hearted personality. Still, she defeated me without any mercy in the last crucial round...

Irina Bulmaga, above enjoying the sun. Our second board (Politehnica Iasi) is not only a very talented WGM but also a ferocious team player. Irina fought until the last drop of blood in the final round against Corina Peptan, pushing and pushing and refusing at all costs to make a draw. Eventually she lost the game, but her efforts are to be praised! If only more players will have the same mindset.


Smaranda Padurariu, our third board (Politehnica Iasi),
WIM and girlfriend of Dutch GM Jan Smeets.


A marine monster? Actually more like a Marin monster, one with a GM title...

Copyright L'Ami/ChessBase


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