Monday October 20, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
24o C
16o 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)  
Reds lose to Nea Kifissia, search for new coach
OFI stuns Panathinaikos, Mitroglou hits twice
Greens survive Turow´s comeback to win
Ranieri gets Greece backing despite poor start
PASOK objects to plans for changes to public sector wage structure
Coalition partner PASOK has reacted to leaks about the new pay structure in the civil service by saying that it has not accepted the changes. In a direct attack on Administrative Reform Mini...
SYRIZA´s Lafazanis pledges immediate action on bailout, Tsipras promises
Outspoken SYRIZA MP Panayiotis Lafazanis insists that if his party comes to power it will cancel Greece’s bailout agreement “overnight.” Lafazanis added that the policy pledges made by SYRIZ...
Inside News
Greece’s Alpha Bank said to seek 180 mln euros for Athens Hilton
Alpha Bank AE, Greece’s fourth- largest bank, plans to sell the Hilton Athens hotel for 180 million euros ($230 million), two people with knowledge of the matter said. The 506-room, five-sta...
Greek toy retailer Jumbo lifts Q1 sales 11 percent
Leading Greek toy retailer Jumbo reported an 11 percent increase in sales in its first quarter to Sept. 30, citing robust growth in Bulgaria and Cyprus. Jumbo, which operates 53 stores in Gr...
Inside Business
COMMENTARY
Stop moaning and get in the game
There are so many people who love spending their days talking about the crisis and proclaiming that they know exactly what needs to be done to solve the country’s problems. Some of them obvi...
EDITORIAL
Exorcising the ghosts
Developments last week held in store an uncomfortably realistic understanding of the risks engulfing the country. The massive sell-off in Greece’s stock and bond markets was a strong shock. ...
Inside Comment
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
 RECENT NEWS
1. PASOK objects to plans for changes to public sector wage structure
2. SYRIZA´s Lafazanis pledges immediate action on bailout, Tsipras promises
3. Greece’s Alpha Bank said to seek 180 mln euros for Athens Hilton
4. Greek toy retailer Jumbo lifts Q1 sales 11 percent
5. Turkish vessel enters Cypriot Exclusive Economic Zone
6. Samaras to visit Cyprus on November 7, ahead of Egypt talks
more news
Today
This Week
1. Hardouvelis does not see 'big surprises' in ECB stress tests
2. European leaders pivot back to debt crisis after wake-up call
3. Bakers encircle Thessaloniki's White Tower with giant 'koulouri'
4. Greece must stick to reforms, says Schaeuble
5. Turkish vessel enters Cypriot Exclusive Economic Zone
6. Samaras to visit Cyprus on November 7, ahead of Egypt talks
Today
This Week
1. Possible third figure in Amphipolis mosaic may be uncovered shortly
2. Less haste, more focus
3. Greece to contribute 1 mln towards Gaza reconstruction
4. Greece nearing bailout exit, says gov't spokesperson after IMF talks
5. Istanbul skyscraper casts shadow over Greece's banking ambitions
6. Coalition shooting itself in the foot
   Find us ...
  ... on
Twitter
     ... on Facebook   
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright © 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.