Sunday December 21, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
17o C
10o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
Greece's unsung chess heroes aim for the top in Norway

By Costas Onisenko

The Panellinion cafe on the corner of Mavromichali and Solonos streets in the central Athenian district of Exarchia is an unassuming kind of place, much like any other neighborhood watering hole that serves Greek coffee mostly to local seniors reading their newspapers and clacking their strings of beads. It doesn't have an espresso machine or music, yet it does draw a younger clientele too. Almost all of the cafe's patrons share a passion for chess. Boards are laid out on most tables and many of the regulars are players, some more experienced than others.

While other coffee shops and bars spent the first half of the summer screening World Cup matches from Brazil, talk at the Panellinion these days revolves around the 41st Chess Olympiad in Tromso, Norway, which runs through August 15.

Five men and five women are representing Greece at the international tournament, among them a teenager, Stavroula Tsolakidou, from Kavala in northern Greece, who won the world title in the girls under-14 category in the United Arab Emirates last year. Some may argue that chess, the ultimate game of logic, is not well suited to the Greek temperament, yet the success of local players tells a different story.

There are some 200 active chess clubs in Greece and around 30,000 registered players. In fact, the country ranks 25th in the world in the men's category and 28th in the women's, boasting 12 grandmasters and 17 international masters among the men, as well as three female grandmasters and six female international masters, explains Tania Karali, a member of the board of the Hellenic Chess Federation and an arbiter.

“This is what it's about. We sit high in the international rankings because of our talent and despite the fact that the sport is almost entirely overlooked by the state,” player Vassilis Paraskevaidis, a regular at the Panellinion cafe, tells Kathimerini. “It is characteristic of our general attitude: We make an enormous effort and often outdo ourselves, but we lack method. This is something we need as a country in the current circumstances – using absolute logic.

“Chess helps develop a rational character and way of thinking, something that is necessary for every citizen of a modern state,” adds Paraskevaidis. “It is like life; it rewards hard work and method, and punishes thoughtless acts and mistakes. If the powers that be had any understanding of the character-building qualities of chess, the state would have done more to help the game develop.”

According to the vice president of the chess federation, Stathis Efstathopoulos, state support for the sport has been slashed from 850,000 euros per year to 150,000 euros – barely enough to cover operational costs. Some of the expense involved in sending players to tournaments abroad is covered by private sponsorships, while the players often have to pay their own way.

ekathimerini.com , Thursday August 7, 2014 (17:54)  
Explosive Barca unfazed by Panathinaikos, bomb scare
Abidal cuts short playing career at Olympiakos
PAOK loss at Giannina brings Olympiakos to within a point
Reds lose in Turkey to motivated Galatasaray
Environment Ministry to reconsider controversial bill
The government over the weekend appeared to backpedal on proposed amendments widely seen as compromising legislation protecting Greek forests as well as Plaka, Athens’s old quarter. The bill...
Corfu to host country’s first hydroplane strip
Merchant Marine Minister Miltiades Varvitsiotis and Deputy Infrastructure and Transport Minister Michalis Papadopoulos have signed a decision paving the way for the country’s first hydroplan...
Inside News
Workers rush to get early retirement
Nine out of 10 workers who retired in the last four months who had belonged to the former special funds of banks and state corporations that have now been incorporated in the Social Security...
Piraeus Containter Terminal goes from strength to strength
Piraeus Container Terminal, the local subsidiary of Chinese giant Cosco Pacific, is expected to handle a total of over 3 million containers in the January-December period of this year. The J...
Inside Business
COMMENTARY
The big picture
In his second term, US President Barack Obama is taking steps to enshrine his legacy and solidify America’s standing in the 21st century. His recent decision to normalize relations between t...
EDITORIAL
Get your facts straight
The danger that political discourse in Greece will sink to the basest levels of vulgarity is already more than apparent from the allegations we have heard bandied about over recent days. The...
Inside Comment
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
 RECENT NEWS
1. Environment Ministry to reconsider controversial bill
2. Corfu to host country’s first hydroplane strip
3. Political upheaval sharpens after bribe claims with threats and insinuations
4. Police gets new communications system
5. Most Greeks say they recycle daily
6. Probe into revenues of 2 mln euros in Halkidiki municipality
more news
Today
This Week
1. Get your facts straight
2. The big picture
3. Political upheaval sharpens after bribe claims with threats and insinuations
4. Environment Ministry to reconsider controversial bill
5. Changes on E9 property declarations possible until end-year
6. Police gets new communications system
Today
This Week
1. Samaras summons bond vigilantes with euro exit talk
2. A friendly yet firm message from Pierre Moscovici
3. Europe's drama in Greece needs final act to avoid tragedy
4. High stakes
5. On the edge but not gutless
6. Gap between SYRIZA and New Democracy closing, says poll
   Find us ...
  ... on
Twitter
     ... on Facebook   
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright © 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.