Three important tournaments from the Greek calendar took place in the period 25.06-09.07 in Kalithea, Halkidiki. First, the youth individual championships for all the ages up to 16 years old, secondly-there was the final four matches of the Greek Cup, and finally- the Greek National Team Championship.
In the past ten years Kalithea became an important part of the European chess life, and it was no wonder that the Greeks counted on the facilities of the wonderful sea resort, combined with the experienced organizers skills by the Tsorbatsoglu family.
Youth championships were perfectly organized. In the venue the access of the trainers and parents was forbidden, and there were many arbiters responsible for the young players. The children themselves were also quite well organized- in case that a conflict or mistake happens they were raising their hands, and were waiting patiently for the arbiter to solve it. the top boards of the tournaments were broadcasted live on the official site. This year I spent as a chief coach for the Kavala chess club, and I have good impressions of the play of the leading young players.
After seven days of tough fight champions became:
Boys under 8- Evgenios Ioannidis -8.5/9.
Girls under 8- Loukia Pramateftaki- 6/7.
Boys under 10- Nikolas Theodorou- 8/9.
Girls under 10- Stavroula Tsolakidou- 8/9. There was a drama in this age, when the long leading Aleksia Moshou lost in the final round, and the title went for her teammate Stavroula.
Boys under 12- Georgios Papadopoulos- 8.5/9.
Girls under 12- Elisavet Papathanasiou- 8.5/9. Here also Eleni Tsolaki (silver) and Nelli Serefidou (bronze) are very talented, and you may hear about all the three girls soon.
Boys under 14- Emmanouil Kazakos- 8/9 together with Pantaleimon Tsouganakis seems to be the leaders of their generation.
Girls under 14- Eleni Fragkou -5/7. There was a tie for the first three places, the other two girls are Asimenia Vafiadou and Ageliki Papathanasiou.
Boys under 16- Charalambos Skoulakis- 8/9. This age was a personal triumph for me, since all my students occupied places in the top five. Third is Antonis Pavlidis, fourth-Theodoros Hrisomalis, fifth- Ilias Kazantsidis. The silver medalist N. Galopoulos is also a future Greek hope.
Girls under 16- Ekaterini Pavlidou- 8/9. The superiority by Ekaterini was obvious-both by initial rating, and by the play.
The championship showed that there are many young talents in Greece, and the relatively good preparation of the young players.
The final four matches of the Greek cup took place on 30 June and 1 July. The teams that qualified were SO Kavala, OFS Kavala (the second team of Kavala, for which I compete), Kidon- Chania and Maro Keravnos (Thessaloniki). As it was expected, the elo favourite SO Kavala did not give any chances and won both the matches with great ease by 3.5-0.5. For the team competed 4 GMs- Kotronias, Papaioannou, Halkias and Skembris, and Kotronias won both his games playing as Black. The actual final for the cup however was the ¼ final between the future champions Kavala and the last year’s winners- ES Thessaloniki. For Thessaloniki team competed GMs Miroshnichenko, D. Mastrovasilis, A. Mastrovasilis, and Zakharian. In this match I. Papaioannou lost as White for the first time since 2004 on board one against Miroshnichenko, but nevertheless, Kavala won the encounter thanks to the lucky win of Skembris (who was a clear exchange and a pawn down) by 2.5-1.5. Here is the time to mention the playing system of the cup- up to the ¼ finals the so-called Berlin system is used, in which the points on the front boards of the team are more valuable (4 points for a win on board one, 3 for the second board, 2 and 1 respectively for the remaining). However, in case of a tie 2-2, and Berlin tie 5-5, the host team proceeds into the next stage.
In the finals this system is no longer applied, and in case of a tie the teams continue to play blitz matches, until one of them proves to be the better one. This determined the match strategy of some teams. Thanks to is the team Maro Keravnos managed to make it to the final and to achieve one of their best successes so far.