Peristeri wins 38th Greek Team Championship

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
Peristeri AthensFrom July 5th to July 11th, the 38th Greek Team Championship took place in Athens, Greece. This year's edition was clouded by the economic crisis which has been keeping the country busy for many months.

Report and photos by IM Georgios Souleidis

Until the end of May, I couldn't get a clear confirmation if the Team Championship would even be organised this year. In the end it was mostly thanks to the organising club of Peristeri (Athens) and their sponsor that the Greek chess scene didn´t have to suffer a lapse in its major competition.

As a Greek citizen born in Germany - and living there all my life - I've always somehow felt trapped between two cultures. Of course, I'm trying to extract only the advantages of both cultures for my own life. I prefer living in Germany: everything is so well organised! For example, you always know how much a taxi driver will charge you, and that he'll leave you alone when you don't want to have a chat.

Whenever I'm visiting Greece (basically every summer), I look forward to the friendly people, the multiple hugs and kisses, the nice weather, the "wealthy food", the "Frapé"... I simply look forward to the mediterranean way of life. But, of course, my "double nationality" - and this is not a real advantage - qualifies me to answer some existential questions which are related to both countries. This year, I had to answer the following question: "What is Merkel doing to us?"

In the light of the financial crisis, Germany and its female chancellor Angela Merkel nowadays are seen as the chief portrayal of the enemy - at least, this was my superficial perception. Greek taxi drivers in particular can be very, very annoying when it comes to politics (but not only that). It's not at all easy to avoid talking about it.

Though I´m a chessplayer and so should be able to calculate the possible answers in advance, I tried to convince them that Merkel is not the author of some modern-day Greek tragedy. I learned this was a big mistake - never again, dudes, never again... Next time I'll just respond with: "Yes, Sir you are absolutely right", and vehemently nod my head for the rest of the ride.

While I´m talking about big mistakes, let me just show you what happened to me in the second round of the Greek Championship:

Georgiadis, Ioannis (2457) - Souleidis, Georgios (2410) 38th Greek Team Championship Olympic Boxing Center, Peristeri (2.1), 06.07.2010

Here is the position after 48.Kf1. Tactics for beginners lesson 10: Move and mate in one and a half!

No, I didn´t play 48...Qd1+ etc. Come on guys, that would have been too easy!

I decided to torture my opponent and myself for one and a half more hours and played 48...Qf5+ ...

My position is still won, so what? But in the end I felt so sorry for my opponent that I made a draw after exactly 100 moves. Well, it was my birthday, after all, and people were so nice to me, so I had to give something back... Actually, I just found the perfect moment for one of the most pleasant details of my report: on the same day as me, a Dutch girl named Lisa Schut has her birthday. Lovely Lisa, now 16 years old, joined my team Kydon Chania (Crete) this year, and made sure that we now have ascertained a full point on one of the junior boards.

Lisa Schut scored 6,5 out of 7 and conquered the heart of Kydon Chania

Wait, junior board? Yes, not only Greek taxi drivers are different - the playing system in the Greek league is also unique. We play on twelve boards, as follows:

Board 1-5: Men's boards Board 6: Women's boards Board 7-12: U18 (Boys and Girls) U16 (Boys and Girls) U14 and U12

Every team has the right to include two foreign players (one EU and one Non-EU player). This year, 22 teams took part in the Championship, but there was nearly no team from Northern Greece. One reason is the financial crisis – at least, everybody says this is the reason – another is that many clubs were "not amused" about the playing conditions/venue etc. In my opinion, the current location was the best playing hall of the past decade: built for the 2004 Olympic Games, it is a modern and airconditioned boxing hall. Perhaps a small disadvantage was the fact that the players were located in a hotel in the centre of Athens and had to be brought to the playing venue by public transport .

Olympic Boxing Center Peristeri

As I mentioned above, Peristeri (Athens) organised this year's Championship. Apart from this fact, they were also the clear favourites to win the title. On the men's boards, the team boasted five GMs: a certain Mr. Kotronias played on board 5 (!), and in order not to leave anything to chance, they even "bought" some of the best Greek junior players in their respective categories. Under these circumstances, the wire-to-wire victory came as no surprise. The question whether one of their grandmasters would lose a game was much more exciting. (The answer was no.)

The winning team of Peristeri with Vassily Ivanchuk holding the cup

The teams from Chania (Crete) respectfully followed. Kydon Chania won the silver and S.A. Chania took the bronze medal. Despite the one-sides championship, chess lovers enjoyed watching the first six matches live in the internet – there was some real fighting and first-class chess. This was first of all due to the fact that draws before move 30 were forbidden, and secondly, because the first two boards were mainly occupied by top grandmasters.

The absolute highlight of the championship was the appearance of Vassily Ivanchuk, who played for Peristeri. He scored 6 points out of 7, mainly against grandmasters above 2600. Ivanchuk was by far the best player of the championship. Another player who scored very well was Jon Ludwig Hammer. The young Norwegian achieved 5,5 out of 7 on the first board.

Jon Ludwig Hammer scored 5,5 out of 7

I've selected 17 games, mainly played on the top two boards and by top grandmasters. I included some brief annotations. Enjoy!

Game viewer by ChessTempo

Impressions from the 38th Greek Team Championship

GM David Navara (Czech Republic)

GM Evgeny Postny (Israel)

GM Stelios Halkias (Greece)

Impressions from the 2010 Greek Team Championship

Impressions from the 2010 Greek Team Championship

The German GMs Arik Braun and Arkadij Naiditsch


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