Saturday, 30 July 2016

Zorba's World

     It is difficult to start this post, as there are too little words in order to describe the past three weeks... I am so happy that I had had this fantastic inspiration and I chose to play this summer in Greece!
     I will dedicate this whole post to the first tournament I played on Crete- the "5th Anogia International Tournament Idaion Andron".
     It is funny that just before coming there I read the book "Zorba the Greek" and I have truly savored it! I liked so much how Zorba would find happiness in every little thing and I was dreaming that my trip to Crete would be about the same thing. So it was!
     When landing in Heraklion I was already feeling like I'm in some other World- the breeze was whispering me that it will be an unforgettable experience!
     The organizer was waiting for us with a wide smile on his face and his first words were "This will be the best tournament in your life!" He had a little of Zorba's character as well- such a positive and kind person- actually all the people I met in Anogia (a 2000 people village in the heart of Crete) were like this! He took us to the taverna in which we have eaten for the whole tournament- a very cozy place owned by a local family. We have had the most fantastic meals ever there! Home made lamb,goat, all kind of cheeses (the best I've tried so far), amazing wine and rakia- all hand made there! I felt like all I dreamed when reading the book actually came true!
     The room I got had a stunning view as well- I could see eagles flying over my head- it was breathtaking!
     The tournament was organized very well- there were 20 (!) live boards and we had Cretan treats and water in the playing hall. I don't see how the organizers could have done a better job!
     I am so grateful that I had this amazing experience and I will surely come back to this Heaven!
     Here is the link where you can see the results:
     & here are some photo impressions:

 More to follow on the next places I've visited soon!

xoxo from Greece ;)

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

It's time to melt!

     Here I am- back to the "virtual life"!
     I haven't updated my blog for quite a long time and for no particular reason- not much inspiration left after playing chess daily I guess :))
     Many games and tournaments are behind and I am in Chisinau for a week or two, trying to relax before another month full of chess... It's unbelievable how hot it can be here- it feels like the global warming has become a huge issue- it's just crazy! I am stuck home, sitting under the AC, not tempting the fate by going out at 38 Celsius degrees...
     Anyhow, I have a lot to think about, the European Individual Women's Championship was very eventful. I had a lot of crazy games, wining positions which I lost and vice versa. I finished the tournament on the 20th place, being the 30+ seed, which was quite well, though not good enough to qualify to the World Cup (only 14 places were eligible for that).
     I played another rapid tournament and a classic one afterwards... My rating is getting again closer and closer to 2400, though never close enough :D I have already stopped checking it, though some extra conditions at tournaments have used to be quite a motivation. These Elo points get lost so quickly and never hurry to come back...
     I can't wait for the next chess marathon to begin! I will play in 3 nice Opens in Greece, 2 of them on Crete and another one in Kavala. Greek beaches are by far my favorites! I love drinking frappes under the umbrella and then going for a swim in the fantastically clear blue sea! I guess my skin color might change quite a lot this summer :D

Carpe Diem friends!

I urgently need another ice-cream to survive this day :D

xoxo from Chisinau ;)

Thursday, 24 March 2016

The "Cabernet Street"

Playing vs the tournament winner- GM Sergei Zhigalko
     It's spring and my mood is perfectly described by this! :D
     I had a couple of very interesting weeks, first, while playing the "Chebanenko Memorial" in Chisinau and then playing the last match with my team in Bundesliga.
     Let's take it one by one.
     The "Chebanenko Memorial" has already become a strong traditional rapid tournament in Chisinau, Moldova. It saw the light thanks to GM Viorel Bologan- the strongest Moldavian GM ever and a person for whom I have a deep respect, both for his chess accomplishments and his personality. It is well known that Veaceslav Chebanenko was "the coach of all Moldavians", including the above mentioned Viorel. The Rossolimo, the Slav with 4...a6 are only some of his "inventions".
A little speech during the wine tasting
     It is great that there's a tournament which pays honor to his name and I am very happy that I participated in this event. I didn't show my best chess there, nevertheless I took the 1st women prize.
It was a great feeling for me to play in the club where I practically grew up.
     The non chess part of the event was very nice as well. Moldavian people are well known for their hospitality and I believe they showed it once again. There was a very nice excursion organized to the "Cricova Winery Cellars". We walked along the "Cabernet Street", the "Chardonnay Street"...
     They say that Moldova has the best wines and women... I guess I'm not an objective judge, but one should definitely put Moldova on his travel list in order to test it!

     As about the Bundesliga part- I think it deserves a separate post, so- to be continued...

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Ukrainian Spring Waltz

GM Hou Yifan
     Spring has started with a very interesting event to follow- Women's World Chess Championship
Match in Lviv, Ukraine.
     It is one of the most awaited "clash of titans" for me- GM Mariya Muzychuk (2563) vs GM Hou Yifan (2667). I think that none of the latest crown matches were as interesting as this one.
     I've known Mariya for many, many years, as we were constant opponents at the European and World Youth Championships. Coming from a chess family, it was no surprise that she was always among the best ones in her age group. Lots of hard work, ambition and preparation- will it be enough to keep the crown?
     On the other hand, her opponent- the Chinese Hou Yifan is no doubt the strongest woman in chess at this moment, competing successfully on top men's level. I admire her very calm and seemingly "easy" way of playing high level chess.
     I am no oracle, but if I would be, I'm not sure whom I'd place my bets on.

     Round 1

     The first round was a calm draw in a Giuoco Piano. The Chinese had no problems in equalizing with black and the draw was agreed as early as move 31.
     I am sure that both sides have their own strategy for the match and the 1st game might have seemed less ambitious only because of this. I think it was some sort of tapping and getting to know how's the opponent feeling and what's her current form.
     It was interesting for me to observe how Mariya's behavior during the game has changed. If she was usually very intense and even had some nervous tics like tapping with her legs, it was a completely different player I saw now. She had a smiling, confident and seemingly relaxed look for the whole game.

Mariya Muzychuk (left) vs Hou Yifan (right)
     The 2nd round will start at 3pm local time, though we'll be able to follow it only a half hour later due to the anti cheating measures.
     I am curious- what's Ukrainians' strategy with black in this match? We will know in a few hours!

P.S. I hope that the quality of broadcasting will be better today, as there were a lot of problems to be fixed yesterday...

(Photos taken from the official site of the event: )

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Winter Drama

     A very tense weekend is behind...
     I haven't done much writing lately as my results weren't good at all and I was not sure if a post with the name "Depressed and discouraged" or "A month full of blunders" would be of much interest. Though I understand that everything happens for a reason and maybe this is just a "wake-up call" for me, one that wants to tell me that I should change my life, that I'm doing something very wrong, I still can't rationalize this... Hm... These ups and downs- lately only the latter...
    Well, let's talk about this weekend better.
     I played for my team- "Schwäbisch Hall" 2 matches in Bundesliga. These games were very important, as our team is fighting for the 1st place. Taking in count my short intro, one should understand that I was not in my best form... The 2 games I played were at least "not good", I blundered almost mate in the 1st game and lost, after my opponent had offered me a draw a few moves before- the match ended 3-3.
     The feeling I had after this game was... very guilty. A nice dinner with a glass of good wine and cheering words from our captain made me feel more or less ready for the next days' derby with "Bad Königshofen", or at least I thought so.

     The match didn't look good for us after a few hours. Though our first 2 boards- Nino Batsiashvili and Alina Kashlinskaya were clearly better and they eventually won, Sophie Milliet, Sopiko Guramishvili and I were in trouble, while Katya Atalik had a quite drawish position. Finally, it was  2,5-2,5 and my game was the only one left. The endgame I had on the board was not very optimistic- 2 pawns down in a Bishop (for me) vs Knight ending. We were playing on our last 30 seconds, it was 2 pm, I had my flight at 4.50... I was just trying to make moves that would not lose immediately... Somehow my opponent got nervous and gave me hopes for a draw. It got not so easy for black to win and struggling to find the best moves in time trouble she blundered terribly and I won. The match ended 3,5-2,5 for us.

    It was a game I wouldn't want show anyone, the only thing I did was to continue fighting... I guess that this game reminds me somehow of the latest Di Caprio movie :))) Yes, that's the best description of it.
    No one could believe that I won, neither did I for several minutes, just sitting at the table, trying to realize what had just happened.
     I think that maybe it's a sign that this bad period in chess ends for me with the end of winter...

xoxo from Romania :)

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

"Chessy" New Year

     First of all, I would like to wish everyone a very Happy New Year, full of accomplishments and everything each of you wants!
     I spent the New Year as a real chess player- on the road, on my way back from a tournament in Austria. It went well for me until the last round, where I felt it was the moment to play some mad chess :)) If I would win, I could share the 1st place, a thing which was very appealing... Unfortunately, I took too many risks and eventually- I lost that game.
     Anyhow, I enjoyed my stay there, it was the first time I played in Austria and I'm looking forward for coming back at some point. The trip back was very funny, mainly because it wasn't me the one who had to drive and I could enjoy watching fireworks in each city we passed in the company of a friendly bottle of Jager :D
     I already have a lot of plans for 2016, mainly chess related ones.
     My first tournament will be Moscow Open. I have played there for several times and despite the very cold weather I enjoyed it every year. It is one of the very few Ladies Opens with good prizes and I find it very interesting.

That's all for now, I will come back with more news very soon, as I had a project I worked on and it should be published very soon!

Once again, Happy New Year to everyone and may all your starts be inspired!

xoxo from Timisoara ;)

Friday, 11 December 2015

Warm Bundes Evenings

     Here I am, back to Romania, after yet another very nice days spent in Germany, at Bundesliga.
     I have already played for 5 years in the German Club Championship and somehow I associate the cold part of the year with warm evenings spent with my team.

From right to left: Ekaterina Atalik, Karina Ambartsumova, Deimante Daulyte, Nino Batsiashvili, Alina Kashlinskaya and me
     I have always dreamed to be a part of a team where everyone's friends and no one puts a smile on her face secretly hoping you'd lose. Yes, that's the sad thing about many women (can't say about men) teams. I don't know about others, but I am quite emotional during tournaments, during most of the tournaments, Bundesliga is an exception. I am so calm and just happy to be there that I never ever get adrenaline rushes :)) I just enjoy my chess and get pleasure from simply playing my games.
     I know that no matter of the result, a very nice evening will follow with  the super optimistic Karina always making jokes, with Deimante laughing so enchanting that you can't help laughing yourself as well, with Alina's existential questions which eventually end up with another hard laughing, with "the machine's"- Nino's tired faces which usually provoke another joke from Karina and the evening wouldn't be complete without the very elegant Katya whose outfits are a pleasure for any eyes.
     Our team has of course many more strong and beautiful players, though this is the formula of the matches I usually get to play.
     Jokes, laughing, tasty dinners and wine- perfect team spirit and the formula of our good results!
     Enjoy some photos from this weekend made by Thomas Marschner:

A proper motivational talk, from left to right: Alina Kashlinskaya, Ekaterina Atalik, me and Nino Batsiashvili

The first match won by us, with me drawing vs Zoya Schleining

A totally wild game where I sacrificed 4 pawns vs Ketino Kachiani-Gersinska (Baden Baden team) and somehow managed to win. The match ended in our favour!

The last game which I won vs Manuela Mader with our team winning as well!

If you thought we're all watching some chess, you're wrong- it's Alina's wedding photos!

     I am very happy to be a part of the "Schwäbisch Hall" team and I'm looking forward for more warm evenings like the ones I always have at Bundesliga!

xoxo from Romania ;)