3 international chess events as the major happening of the Games Festival
Here in charming Halkidiki, at the imposing Athos Palace hotel takes place the Games Festival. This is an unique blend of mind sports and relaxation games, that has as main events the chess competitions – Wourld Amateur Open, European Individual Chess Championship and Halkidiki Open 2008. Parallel to it, bridge, billiards, table tennis, scrabble, and go competitions are going on, and the number of participants and visitors of the event is well over 3000 people.
World Amateur Open
82 players from over 15 nations have come to enjoy the beautiful weather and compete in the World Amateur Chess Championship taking place at the Athos Palace. After three rounds 6 players are with full points – Hagai Ghelman (ISR), Charalambos Skoulakis (GRE), Stefan Parlog (ROU), Florin-Iulian Dobre (ROU), Petros Sapountzakis (GRE), and Henry Augusto Castano (COL). As the rating level of all opponents is very close, the competition is wide open and anyone can win it. Today at 16:00 is round 4, and the six leaders meet each other in direct clash.
European School Individual Championship
The holidays, combined with the nice weather and the fantastic conditions at the hotel complex, have attracted many strong young talents at this event. We were surprised to see several national champions and medalists from competitions in Russia, Greece, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria. Watch out for the names in these lists, in a few years you will see some of the players in the top junior rankings. Expect a special report on these young talents at Chessdom.com later this week.
Halkidiki Open 2008
This is a traditional chess event in the region, and the strongest chess event at the Games Festival. The top seeded player is GM Efstratios Grivas, participant in the Corus C group in Wijk aan Zee this year. GM Evgeni Ermenkov, the commentator of Mtel Masters 2006, is here as well. The competition for the top places is completed by GM Georgiev, IM Shavtvaladze, FM Bayram, IM Miljikovic, IM Poley, WIM Gocheva, and FM Breahna.
Surprisingly, GM Grivas is not on top after round 3. FM Atilla Gergacz managed to bring him down in round 2 and leave him with 2,0/3 in the chasing pack. No player has full points and there are eight leaders with 2,5/3.
Games Festival and Athos Palace
Recently, with all the big events as the Baku Chess Grand Prix and the EICC, event organizers and chess officials are striving into finding new ways to promote chess. While the major Fide events are trying to improve by going through a well known pattern, the Games Festival presents the innovative idea of a unique mix of sports and games with similar target groups. In this way practicing chess can spread to social groups that are already involved in a sport that requires similar skills.
Halkidiki Chess Festival is an annual event, taking place for the fourth time. This year it features even more important events than last time, such as the World FIDE Amateur Championship (for players under 2000 rating) and the International School Cup, which is at the same time the European Individual School Championship, and the traditional Halkidiki Chess Open (for players over 2000 rating). Parallel there is an official Arbiter seminar which can give International titles to the participants, the 2nd Chess Marketing seminar, a School Teacher seminar and an International Blitz tournament.
The Games Festival, together with all its events, is one of the most developed and well organized events Chessdom has been a partner of. This can be seen not only in the success of the chess events, but also in impeccable manner in which the technical and administrative staff at all levels conducts their tasks. Most importantly, the Games Festival feeds the chess scene with valuable ideas for future development. It can also be viewed as a general rehearsal for the European Club Cup 2008, which will take place also here in Halkidiki.
The venue, the organization, the weather – everything is perfect here in Athos Palace. Stay tuned for more sunny reports from Halkidiki!
After the playing hall, the pool appears to be the most popular site
The beach is ready to welcome the participants after the round.
The top seeded Halkidiki open player (and Corus C participant) GM Grivas on board 1
The yougest participants needed help to fill out the forms
The participants in the most important amateur chess event in the year.
Young talents and future chess stars participate in the European School Individual Chess Championship.