Bulgarian Team Competitions took place once more in the beautiful resort of Albena between 2-8 Junes. Practically all the best Bulgarian players (except Topalov, Cheparinov and Stefanova) took part in the event. Eight teams competed in the top male and female divisions, and additional 10 teams in the second male division plus four female teams, with the total of 194 players. Among them were 25 GMs and 30 IMs. Male teams constitute from 6 players and two reserves, while female- 4 players and one substitute. The rate of play was an hour and a half for the whole game, and increment of thirty seconds per move. Sofia rules were applied, as well as the zero-lateness tolerance.
The weather was fine, and many of the games had to be decided in a constant time-trouble.
In the male section my team “Naiden Voinov”-Vidin managed to double the title from the previous year. We won almost all our matches, including the direct encounters against Lokomotiv Sofia (3.5-2.5), and Lokomotiv Plovdiv in the last but one round (4-2) which proved to be the decisive match. Before that there was also a thrilling encounter against Lokomotiv 2000, which ended 3-3, but which we could have easily lost. The leader of the team Alexander Delchev arrived for the decisive match against Lokomotiv from the French Team Championship, and managed to win two team championships within a couple of days. Further on the squad was represented by the GMs M.Nikolov, Vl. Georgiev, V. Nevednichii (practically the only foreign player in the male part this year), D. Bojkov, M.Petrov, and FM Hr. Velchev, E.Stefanov.
The second place was for Lokomotiv Plovdiv led by GMs Spasov,Chatalbashev,Petkov and Drenchev. They did though less good on the lowest boards. The most remarkable about their team was the absolute record by IM Ljuben Popov (Bachkata) who played his 56-th (!) team championship with the same team, and who won his 40-th medal with his club!
Bronze medals went for Lokomotiv Sofia. Their indisputable leader Kiril Georgiev scored fabulous 4.5/5. However the saying “One swallow does not make a summer” worked for this strong team, as the leader did not get enough support.
The strong team of Lokomotiv 2000 did not really have a chance for the medals, as in the decisive final round one of their key players could not arrive on time and was forfeited for a minute delay. Another unpleasant incident happened in round two, when Dian Dimov from Abritus who had his mobile phone off in his pocket, pressed it unconsciously while thinking. The mobile made a noise, and he had to be forfeited. The moral is always the same; do better not bring any phones with you, no matter if they are off, or on. There are still alarms, that might start, reminders, or it might make a random sound when the battery is low, there are too many negative possibilities.
The poker phenomenon did not pass Bulgaria, and the team of Abritus was constituted by active poker players, and sponsored by a more advanced others.
From the group relegated the teams of Spartak Pleven, and sadly, the previous title-contenders CSKA. Victory Blagoevgrad and Tunja Yambol are replacing them.
The ladies tournament witnessed the indisputable success of Shah XXI Sofia who comfortably won all their six matches, and drew the last one when the job was done. The team consisted from WIM E.Raeva and WGMs E.Djingarova, M.Velcheva and G.Olarasu, who is the top-scorer of the championship with 6.5/7. A curious fact is that all he ladies from the champion’s team are connected with the champions from the male one. E.Djingarova and A. Delchev, and V. Nevendnichii and G. Olarasu (families), E.Raeva and M. Nikolov (couple) and finally M.Velcheva and Hr. Velchev (brother and sister, and captains).
The silver medals went for Lokomotiv (Plovdiv) (WGM Vosika,and WIM Chilingirova,Yordanova and Genova), while the last-year champions from CSKA managed to grab the bronze despite the financial crisis.
Lokomotiv Sofia and Spartak Pleven XXI got relegated and will be replaced in the next year by Krakra Pernishki and Ivis-Plus Sofia.
Albena is a hot spot at the Bulgarian chess map. It is one of the greenest resorts in our country, and there are more things to be seen in the neighborhood, like the Blachik’s Botanical Garden and the Balchik Palace (mere 9 km away), cape Kaliakra, etc. Currently the world workers championships are taking place in Albena (chess is one of the disciplines). A strong tournament with more than 200 participants (subscribed so far) will take place in the resort at the end of the month (25.05-03.07).
Finally, in September the European Individual Youth championships will be played.