Bulgarian team championships are always a good occasion to meet the old friends, check out how their lives go, chat, socialize, enjoy. We are also spoiled of the choice of good places for the event. These are either the mountain resorts, or, more likely- the see resorts.
Sunny Beach is one of those nice places where the championships take place and it hosted the events from 19-25 September.
For those of you who are not familiar with the system- eight teams play each other on the top A division, with the last two relegated from the group and the top two of the second B division promoted to the “masters”. The male teams consist of six players and two substitutes and the female teams have four players and one reserve.
This was my first year for the extraordinary team of “Abritus”Razgrad. It is a rare bird at the Bulgarian team competitions for many reasons. First, we have the largest fan club. In most of the cases the supporters of the team are more than the players during the event. Second and foremost, poker is supporting the team.
While Loek van Wely claims that chess sponsors his poker adventures, it is the other way up in “Abritus”. The costs for the team are equally distributes between a pharmaceutical company and three successful poker-chess players. Stelyan Georgiev (Spirit), Vladimir Velikov (Bushi) and Yanko Yankov have a lot in common. They are professional poker players but have started as chess players at first. Their trainer, the chess master Rosen Rusev is an experienced poker player as well. For a few years now they support the club not only morally, but financially too. Last year they even brought GMs P.Eljanov and K. Miton at the Bulgarian team championship.
Moreover, in order to free room for professional players Stelyan and Vladimir played in other teams, in second division. They did well there, especially the former, who scored 4/5 at his board…
At the beginning of the tournament we had a couple of problems to deal with. The first one was the team composition. Our team consists of five GMs, and two strong IMs (and one of those is the Bulgarian runner-up from the individual championship I. Enchev!) It seems as we chose wise at the end as the plan to hold on top boards and win on the back was perfectly fulfilled. Moreover, all the players finished on positive score.
The second problem was more serious. We had to decide where and when to celebrate our title…At the end of the team meeting we “voted” the wise decision to win the tournament with a spare round to have enough time to celebrate.
And since we all are very responsible people we had to stick to the plan. All the six matches were duly won and before the final round we were unreachable with 12 team points, clear four ahead of the second team…
The champion’s team was composed of GMs K.Rusev, V. Georgiev, B.Chatalbashev, M. Nikolov, D. Bojkov and IMs I. Enchev and K.Karakehajov.
The silver medals went for the last-year champions- Lokomotiv Plovdiv and the bronze- for Lokomotiv Sofia.
The female championship was more interesting as usual.
Three teams had clear chances before the final round and two of them CSKA and Shah 21 were facing each other. The third contender Lokomotiv Plovdiv won their last match with a minimal margin and had to wait to see the color of the medals. It turned out to be silver as the last game of the vent between E. Raeva (Shah 21) and A. Stojanovic (CSKA) ended in favour of the former which gave her team the victory and the gold medals.
The champion’s team was- WIM E. Raeva, WGMs M. Velcheva and S. Maksimovic and M. Stefanova.
Yuri Benderev Pernik and CSKA promoted to A group in the male section, and Etar and Krakra Pernishki to the female group.