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May 5th, 2011

Kosteniuk visits Macedonia, day 2

Hello everyone!

As I promised earlier here is the post about my second day in Skopje.

The day started with a morning TV-show program recording. 

I should be able to download the footage of this video when I get back to Miami. After the TV, I went for my first simul of the day into a local school. The opening of the simul was recorded by dozens of tv cameras and journalists. I was very glad to see so much interest from press towards the chess event. The school was decorated with many nice posters and there were hundreds of kids following the simul.

Here I shall add a few words about recent chess activities and chess development in Macedonia. Recently the Asseco company who was sponsoring a local chess club and the mayor of the Karpos municipality Stevce Jakimovski have decided to unite their efforts and start popularizing chess in Macedonia. In January 2011 a new chess club for kids – Gambit-Asseco was opened in Skopje. Then the Karpos Open was born which took place from April 2 to April 9 in Skopje, Macedonia and later on I was invited to boost even more attention to chess in Macedonia. As the organizers of all this chess movement say their main goal is to attract more kids to chess clubs and for that they want to break the existing in the society the image of chess as a boring game and substitute it with the “Chess is cool” concept.

The kids of the simul started studying chess on a regular basis only in January and the organizers assured me that on my next visit, I will have a tougher time playing with them. This time as you can see from the photos above I finished some games with fast scholar’s mates

Below are two newspaper clips about the simul that came out in Skopje

After the morning simul the organizers invited me to have lunch at the Sky Restaurant of the Stone Bridge Hotel. On the photo below you can see me with all the people behind the chess movement in Macedonia.

After some relaxation I had another battle ahead, this time much more serious than the previous one. 20 business men of Skopje were ready to give me a fight over the boards.

We played for a three long hours

On some boards I was able to checkmate my opponents:

On some I needed to agree on a draw:

One of the longest games of the simul, was my encounter with the mayor of the Karpos municipality – Stevce Jakimovski:

When the game reached the following position:

I played 1. Ke3 Black replied with 1. … Kb6 2. Kd4 dxe4 and here I made a blunder by taking on e4 instead of c4. I’m sure you will be able to find a draw for Black after 3. Kxe4? and a win for White after 3. Kxc4! I must add that I won this endgame anyway although only with the help of my opponent.
The final result of the simul was +16=4-0, but the most important thing is that the simul proved that chess can be much more exciting than, for example, soccer:

Finishing this post, I want to thank the organizers for their efforts in promoting chess in their country and for the wonderful two days I had in Skopje. I’m sure that we will hear more about chess in Macedonia soon and I hope to come back to Macedonia soon!

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