Hersonissos: Stress management for the soul

by Alina l'Ami
6/23/2019 – An instant fix for a thalassophile (a person who loves the sea) with the sounds and shades of sunset waves. It's just impossible to get bored on the Lyttos Beach (pictured). IM ALINA L'AMI sends her photo reportage of another picturesque chess holiday destination that will have you dialing your travel agent. Don't miss her instructive annotated games and game fragments!

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432 Hertz

The magic number most insomniac, restless or seeking-for-inner-peace people are talking about is said to be the natural musical pitch of the universe with a soothing effect on a fried mind. Scientifically proven or not, common sense unearths the calming impact the sounds of Nature have over the human zoo caught between the concrete jungle of the cities and the serenity of cell phones. Ocean waves, rain drops or birds singing in a mountain meadow have a more heart-directed vibration and hold that relaxing frequency which is considered to be missing in the mind-directed musicality of Wi-Fi and microwaves.

The human brain, particularly the one of a chess player, is on a constant yo-yo, being pinged at by different electromagnetic pulses. When the opponent's radioactive moves and plans are detected, the psyche gets into red flag alert mode, making it increasingly difficult to feel centred, balanced and peaceful.

There may be complete silence in the playing area but the hot-brained heads fume with noise while the hearts keep on pounding. Luckily, dodging such irritating scenarios is possible in Hersonissos, in the Open tournament which has the power to re-mind the overstretched mind of a chess player through its unique location, flanked by the sea, pool and palm trees.

"wine exclusive point"

“The Wine Exclusive Point” (left) was the predestined venue — just like wine, chess cheers the sad, revives the old and inspires the young

Regular listening of nature's heartbeat while playing decreased feelings of anxiety and tuned the players to the real beauty symbolized by chess. The voice of the sea spoke to the soul to such an extent that revelling in the tranquillity offered by its ambiance produced what has been called “Holiday moves”. 

boys chess beach

“Double, double, toil and trouble” on the Cretan beach

The magnetic views unwind but, also distract, a steel frame of mind. Caught on the wrong foot, the top three players  rebounded more efficiently than a tumbler toy and climbed back to their initial starting rank. The selected games depict their journey:


Click or tap any game in the list to switch

Final standings (top 10)

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Stany G.A. 7,5 0,0
2 Froewis Georg 7,0 0,0
3 Anagnostopoulos Konstantinos 6,5 1,0
4 L'ami Alina 6,5 0,0
5 Lirindzakis Timotheos 6,0 0,0
6 Papidakis Georgios 5,5 0,0
7 Gavrish Leonid 5,5 0,0
8 Bras Emanouel 5,0 0,0
9 Izotov Vladimir 5,0 0,0
10 Kotsinis Alexandros 5,0 0,0

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Relaxed, but ready

The best prophet of the future is usually the past. Since I had been "vaccinated" in the previous edition by being mated in one move in an overwhelmingly winning position, this year I tried to pay a smaller price for relishing the beyond-belief Cretan hospitality. 

The bar variation

Excess in moderation was the key — very difficult to achieve by the sea

When a whole army of young and passionate people is mobilized to give you the time of your life, it takes the strength of ten monks together to get back to your room and meditate in solitude. 

resort staff

The animators' team


Animating feelings

Adjusting to the Orphic surroundings took time for the newcomers and playing against the Cretan-born Zeus descendants equated to rating loss too. But a happy chess player is not a myth nor ancient gossip, it is the truth in Hersonissos — “If losing two rating points means winning the tournament, so be it!” said the Indian GM and tournament winner Stany, while keeping in shape on the sandy beach. 


 Exemplary daily routine

Tournaments come and go like the waves of the sea, but the beautiful ones are stickier than the tentacles of an octopus. The Cretan chess event does more than catching the eye, it grabs the heart. When the all-inclusive formula is combined with the overwhelming kindness of the locals and the professionalism of the organizing team, chances are the final experience will be closer to a myth. “Nothing belongs to the Cretan” is neither a pretentious way of showing off nor a matter of honour. It is a way of life, the voice of the tournament organizer capable to inspire the others.


Kostas, Maria and Panagiotis — pinning the Cretan chess tour on the map

Two more Open tournaments are coming up and the mustard-keen chess player can choose to play...both:

  • August 18-25: 8th Anogia “IDEON ANDRON”
  • August 2 - September 2: 3rd Agios Nikolaos

Compared to the previous year, the Lyttos Beach Resort and the chess tournament were fine tuned and mathematically consistent with the 432 Hz of the universe. Heaven can get upgraded too as reality demonstrated: the hotel facilities were mind-boggling, while the absence of double rounds or morning games were also a bonus.


Adrenaline rush — there is always trouble somewhere, even in paradise

playground pool

A room with a view to torture the eyes:) No other choice but jump in!

pool scene

Time flies when you're having fun (in the sun)

The downside of playing in paradise is that nobody is adventurous enough to fall from it, not even your author. Life is too good in the tournament's rhythmic vibe and disturbing the hardly gained resonance would sound unnecessary.


Beautiful sunsets need cloudy skies

To some extent, sticking with the hotel premises is a vital approach but it also deprives the chess player from getting richer by wandering around, exploring a labyrinth of natural and architectural beauties where three Ariadne's threads won't suffice. There is so much to see, feel, taste that the conclusion emerged naturally: a rest day is needed for the 2020 edition.

Evening thoughts

The Argentine founder of the Humanist Movement, Mario Luis Rodríguez Cobos, also known by the mononym Silo, stated that the access to the deeper parts of our consciousness can be achieved through three different ways, all able to produce an experience of change:

  1. being in love
  2. poetry (through allegory)
  3. meditation

“Chess was always considered by me a form of meditation”, revealed the tournament organizer, Kostas Klokas. “And by playing here, being close to the ancient Cretan civilization, spiritual opportunities might occur.” 


Kostas Klokas

“And how do you plan to bring the wind of change in the chess world? Can you sell this concept to the chess communities?”, said the reluctant reporter.

“I don't want to sell it, I would like to offer it.”


Alina is an International Master and a very enthusiastic person in everything she does. She loves travelling to the world's most remote places in order to play chess tournaments and report about them here on ChessBase! As chance would have it Alina is also an excellent photographer.


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