Monday 26 September 2016

Ice cream money

     Summer is definitely gone and I feel somewhat nostalgic... There were so many nice tournaments and even more nice memories I've made there.
     My summer had started with the European Individual Women Chess Championship where I was

quite close to qualifying for the World Cup. My chess was not so good there but neither was my opponents'. I missed the previous EIWCC and I forgot how much different can an "all women" event be, especially such an important one like this one. I was satisfied with my overall result, the prize contributed a bit as well, though it would be a lie to say I didn't want more, the goal was to qualify... I guess it will have to be postponed until next year, hopefully.
     A tournament in Iasi followed, "Iasi Open" where my chess was more stable, though again- not too impressive. I had finally won a game vs a 2500 player, somehow it didn't occur so often lately. I won some Elo points, some "ice-cream money" and my thoughts were already in Greece, where I'd go for a full month of non stop chess.
     Greece... Uff, it's not so easy to write about it, it was too good!
     The first tournament, in Anogia (Crete) was a bless, even though I had a tough start there, losing 2 games vs Greek juniors, my chess style had to become more boring for the next tournaments in order to avoid these accidents, no more taking 3 pawns and giving away initiative. Youth hates boring, I guess that compared to when I was 16, I hate boring a little bit less at 22 :) You can read more impressions about Anogia in a whole post I dedicated to it :
Anogia  Money for ice-cream again in place, time to head to the next tournament, this time in Paleochora.
     I promised to write a post about this place as well, but you know, it's never easy to write about something you already miss too much. It was my 3rd time being there. The first time I was there, in 2010, sharing the room and hopes with a very good friend- WIM Smaranda Padurariu was so nice that I came back in 2011 again, though just for vacation. I've missed the nice beaches of Paleochora so much since then, that I had decided to go again this year. Actually my planning of this years' summer concluded to answering a simple question: "where are the best beaches?". For me, the answer was simple- "Greece", it has a very special place in my heart. So... Paleochora- it was great, the rounds started in the late afternoon, so there was plenty of time to spend chillin' on the beach.
Enjoying the fantastic beach in Paleochora
I was a bit too full of chess so my preparation was more in drinking frappes and eating lamb as many times as I could (you can't imagine how much lamb I can eat, even I was surprised by my achievements!). Ah, and I've discovered a new traditional Greek wine "Retsina", you should definitely try it if you go to Greece! The tournament went well, wins vs lower rated opponents, draws and losses vs higher rated (in totally drawish positions, but whatever, some lamb and I was back on track!). The balance was clear: +some Elo points ; +3 (lamby) kg; + bag&shoes money. It was time to move further...

 The next stop was Kavala. The beach was not as spectacular as in Paleochora (very important point for me as you can see), but the tournament was organized very nicely and it was a pleasure to play, though again my preparation continued to reduce with every day that passed. Again wins vs lower rated opponents, some stupid losses vs higher rated ones, culminating in an unforgettable last round game vs a 2600+ player, where I fought for sharing the 1st overall place. I had an extra pawn, the pair of bishops- a totally wining position which turned out to be (as it happens too many times in women chess) not so winning. I lost that game and I felt very sorry for myself to finish such a fantastic month in Greece in such an inconvenient manner. I have to say that as the hours were passing and the night was approaching the day became better and better so finally, it became (despite of this unfortunate game) the best day in Greece! Balance: +some Elo points; + ice cream money; +unforgettable moments.
the Romanian Team in Baku
    The next stop- the Olympiad in Baku, about which I've already written a post you can see here:

     There were a lot of opposite feelings about it, I'm still trying to process the whole event... The most memorable moment was the one were I went for a totally crazy carousel ride, maybe that's the reason I'm still processing everything, my brain got too shaken, yeah...  Balance: no ice cream money, the Elo unchanged, -3kg; +extra adrenaline from that crazy ride...
     The vacation I had on Cyprus after all of these was a bless. I am tanned like never before and I still feel the summer in my veins!

Cyprus, with my dear sis'- Elena

xoxo from Chisinau ;)

Monday 19 September 2016

Baku Chess Olympiad

     Some months with promises of posts have passed with me having no inspiration at all...

     Finally, some days after the World Chess Olympiad in Baku finished, I've found some energy to share some subjective impressions about it.
 Corina Peptan, Elena Luminita Cosma, Ciprian Nanu, me and Cristina Foisor
     Many people say that it was the best organized Olympiad ever. Frankly, I don't share this point of view. I will try to explain myself.
     I liked the hotel we stayed in and Baku itself but the food was too big of a challenge for my stomach and I had problems with it from day 1 until the last day. Moreover, it was sooooo cold in the playing hall that I also got totally sick at the middle of the tournament. One could imagine my joy going to the round with my stomach crying, sniffing all the time and dreaming of a "Parasinus" I couldn't take because of an eventual doping control.
Elena Luminita Cosma, Angela Dragomirescu, Corina Peptan and me

     Another negative thing I had to experience was some arbiters' incompetence. Imagine the following situation: I am playing my game, the endgame looks quite drawish, though it's me who has to make the draw, I find some repetition, if my opponent doesn't go for it, I can finally have some ideas to improve my position, we've repeated the position for 2 times and suddenly my opponent goes to the arbiter saying she wants to ask the captain if to make a repetition or not, the arbiter allows her. I want to specify that there was no draw offer at all. Practically, my opponent was asking her captain "Should I make this move or not?". Despite our captain's protests nothing happened. The same situation happened to one of my teammates in another match, moreover, that other arbiter couldn't even speak English, though he was quite friendly with our opponents who were Spanish speakers as him and allowed the player to talk to the captain and ask about repetition.
      I suppose that the other participants didn't have the same experiences I had and that's the reason they call this Olympiad the best one ever.
     All these facts had shadowed the joy of being a part of the biggest celebration of Chess.
     Otherwise, Baku seemed to be a really nice city. I was happy to see many of my friends from all over the World. I am normally a very positive person and I've tried to find positive things to hold on to through the tournament...
     The tournament started quite good for our team, culminating in an equal match we've made vs the future winners- China. The 2nd part of the tournament didn't go as we wanted, though we fought very hard each match. I guess that the conclusions are yet to be drawn.
     Sport is sport!