Volodymyr Vetoshko wins 1st Irena Warakomska Memorial

by Sagar Shah
8/24/2017 – A strong open tournament was held in the memory of Irena Warakomska from 11-18 August 2017. The small town of Suwalki became the centre of chess for those eight days as fifteen grandmasters fought for the first prize of €2,500. In the end 19-year-old Volodymyr Vetoshko from Ukraine became the champion with 7.0/9. In this report we game many interesting game analysis, interviews with participants and pictures. IM Sagar Shah and WIM-elect Amruta Mokal report from Suwalki.

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Photos by Amruta Mokal

He is just 19 years old and started as the 14th seed in the tournament, but GM Volodymyr Vetoshko from Ukraine made sure that he went back with the top prize of 10,000 PLN (€2500) ahead of many strong grandmasters. "I didn't come to the tournament with great ambitions. My main aim was to finish in top five and gain some Elo points. It's really incredible that I managed to win the tournament. I think it is the strongest event that I have ever won."

19-year-old Ukrainian talent GM Volodymyr Vetoshko won the 1st Irena Warakomska Memorial tournament in Suwalki, Poland and went back home with €2,500

Suwałki is a town in northeastern Poland with 69,210 inhabitants (2011). The Czarna Hańcza river flows through the town. Suwałki is located about 30 kilometres (19 miles) from the southwestern Lithuanian border. 

The best way to reach Suwalki is to take a five-hour train or bus journey from Warsaw, the capital of Poland. There are also direct buses from Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, which takes around the same time.

The first Irena Warakomska Memorial was held from the 11th to the 18th of August 2017.  Irena Warakomska was the chairwoman of the Hańcza Suwałki chess club from 2002 to 2012. She was the mother of two strong Polish chess players: WIM Anna Warakomska and GM Tomasz Warakomski. Her children decided to organize this event one year after her death in her memory. More information about this great woman will follow in part II.

More than 300 players from all over the world took part in the A (above 2100), B, C, D category tournaments. The A section had 86 players with an average rating of 2311. There were 15 grandmasters with top seed being the Polish GM Mateusz Bartel (2606).

The tournament was held in Hotel Velvet, which is one of the best hotels of the town. All the invited players were also given accommodation in the same hotel.

The playing hall was spacious and the first twenty tables had DGT boards and the games were broadcast live on the internet

Coming back to our winner Volodymyr Vetoshko, the 19-year-old Ukrainian GM, performed at an admirable 2669 Elo, gaining 17 rating points from the event. He scored 7.0/9 and remained unbeaten. He was on the top boards right from the initial rounds and did not let his lead pass. 

Vetoshko's scorecard. Against the strong GMs Vetoshko was solid and did not lose, while he was pretty much ruthless against lower rated players.

The boy is studying International relations in Kiev, Ukraine and is also learning the languages of English and Spanish in depth. "The conditions of the tournament were excellent in Suwalki. I really liked it and will undoubtedly come here next year, if I have the opportunity", said Vetoshko. Next he will play in chess leagues of Slovakia and Hungary. When asked about his favourite game from the tournament, he pointed out that it was against Roman Grib, where he gradually outplayed him and then found beautiful knight manoeuvre in the endgame to clean up the game.


Roman Grib was on the receiving end of some fine endgame play by Vetoshko. The FM from Romania, however, had a successful tournament as he made his IM norm and also beat the top seed Mateusz Bartel in the second round.

Roman had been pushing throughout the game against Mateusz Bartel. In fact he had a win at many points during the middlegame. Mateusz defended tenaciously and reached a dead drawn rook endgame. Next what happened would fit in perfectly in the tragicomedy section of Dvoretsky's Endgame Manual.


The second place in the tournament went to Polish grandmaster Krzysztof Jakubowski who also scored 7.0/9

Jakubowski was brutal with the black pieces. He scored 3.5/4 against some strong players. But it was not his opening play that took him through to the finish line. "I was spending time preparing for the games, but somehow my opponents were always surprising me in the openings. I would survive and then start outplaying them in the endgame. This happened in majority of the rounds of the event and right now I am completely out of fuel!" Krzysztof, who had come to the tournament with his wife and son, chose his battle against Jolanta Zawadzka as the best game of the tournament. "The game was filled with quite some mistakes, but I think it was a great fight", said Jakubowski.


Polish grandmaster Tomasz Markowski finished third. He scored 6.5/9. Markowski is five times Polish champion and has represented the country in the Olympiad on multiple occasions. He is surely one of the finest players that Poland has produced. 

After you were done choosing a good move on the chess board, it was time to choose a tea flavour!

We wrote about Aloyzas Kveinys and his endgame abilities in the part II of our report from Charleroi. The Lithuanian grandmaster continued his good form and finished fourth in Suwalki.

There is something about these experienced grandmasters that they always finish in top ten! From left to right: Aloyzas Kveinys was fourth, Evgeny Gleizerov finished tenth and Mikhail Ulybin won the fifth prize.

Leniart Arkadiusz (above) is an International Master from Warsaw. Even before he achieved the title of an IM, he scored his maiden GM norm at the Aeroflot Open 2007, when he was just 16 years old. In fact this was even before he got any IM norms. In the next ten years Arkadiusz achieved his IM title and also started working professionally as a chemist. He came to Suwalki as some sort of a vacation and break from work. Little did he know that he would be making his second GM norm after a gap of 10 years!

A short interview with Arkadiusz where he talks about the feeling of making a GM norm after ten years, his favourite game from the event and future plans

Arkadiusz's favourite game from the tournament was not his win against grandmasters Mateusz Bartel or Mihok Oliver. It was a draw against second seed Jacek Tomczak. Leniart calls it a quality game. This goes to show how the Polish IM gives more importance to good moves rather than just the result. 


GM Oliver Mihok finished seventh. The grandmaster from Hungary played some very interesting games. I was a witness to one of his encounters sitting on the table next to him and I must say, the opening play from both the players was very impressive.


The new McCutcheon

Opening expert and former World Champion Rustam Kasimdzhanov shows you the secrets in the McCutcheon (3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Bb4). He shows why Bd2 is no longer the main line and which continuation will be the theory of tomorrow.

The rising star of Polish chess: Daniel Sadzikowski. In a country that has players like Wojtaszek, Duda, Gajewski, Piorun and Swiercz, this 22-year-old is knocking on the doors of the Polish national team.

During the tournament Daniel shared a position on his Facebook page. It was beautiful, just like a study. We invite you to have a crack at it:


Top seed Mateusz Bartel didn't have a particuarly great tournament finishing ninth, but he showed some really fighting chess

After the tournament ended, Mateusz showed me a very interesting position from his eighth round encounter against IM Radoslaw Barski. Here's the most interesting moment of the game:


Watch out for the Sumiyas from Mongolia. Bilguun (left) won the blitz tournament that was held before the sixth round in the morning. While Bilguun is already an IM and number three in the country, I think Chinguun (Bilguun's 11-year-old brother rated 2120) is going to make it big in the years to come. The boy played logical chess without taking too much time on the clock and has all the right ingredients in his play to become a strong player. Also in the picture is their father.

Final Standings of the tournament


Complete list can be found over here.

Group photo of all the winners from different categories

We come to the end of the first part of our report from Suwalki and leave you with this small trivia. The boy in the picture is four months old. His name is Kazio. He is with his maternal grandfather here. His parents are famous chess players. Can you name Kazio's parents?

Part II from Irena Warakomska Memorial 2017 will follow shortly with lot of exciting information, pictures and interview with the best woman player of the tournament. Don't miss out on the photo gallery at the start of the article where we have some additional pictures of the players.


Sagar is an International Master from India with two GM norms. He loves to cover chess tournaments, as that helps him understand and improve at the game he loves so much. He is the co-founder and CEO of ChessBase India, the biggest chess news portal in the country. His YouTube channel has over a million subscribers, and to date close to a billion views. ChessBase India is the sole distributor of ChessBase products in India and seven adjoining countries, where the software is available at a 60% discount. compared to International prices.


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lajosarpad lajosarpad 8/25/2017 10:13
Is the father Arkadiusz Leniart?
KevinC KevinC 8/25/2017 03:16
It is usually good form to include a picture of the person being memorialized.