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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Farcical end to women's strong chess tournament in Bucharest

Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2011

Hello everyone,

It is nice to see that Chess In Translation published this report. Taking up a cause is a tough call. It's a pity, chess players are often at the receiving end.

Chess in Translation, in a special news report, writes:

"Chess events perhaps aren’t famed for their organisation, but it’s still unusual to find all the participants of a major tournament going on strike before the final round is played. That’s what happened in the Cotroceni Women’s International that recently finished in Bucharest.

At first glance, the tournament had all the makings of a success. The 10-player round robin event brought together some of the stars of the women’s game, including the Muzychuk sisters, 3-time US Champion Anna Zatonskih, top Polish player Monika Socko, and Valentina Gunina, a member of the Russian team that won the recent Olympiad. It was also being held, as Romanian WGM Alina L’Ami pointed out in a nice preview, in the residence of the President of Romania, apparently with his personal backing for the event.

Irinia Turova - one of the players
who spoke in the article.
The other factor that should have helped was that in the absence of Linares, and with the Women’s Grand Prix in Dubai coming to an end, there was little competition for publicity from the chess media. As it happened, however, the event was barely covered. Perhaps the official site provides a partial explanation.


Nevertheless, it was only in the last round that an outside observer might really note that something had gone wrong. At first glance, the five quick draws perhaps don’t raise any eyebrows, until you look at the tournament situation (see the usual excellent coverage at TWIC)."

Surov: But as I understand it, some people had earlier flights? Otherwise you wouldn’t have had to make such quick draws in the last round?
Turova: Of course. For example, I was playing Monika Socko and we had literally 40 minutes left for our game. Of course, I wouldn’t want to win a point like that without a fair game. From the first day onwards the organiser was promising us money. Each day he’d deceive us: tomorrow, tomorrow…

Surov: You’re talking about appearance money for taking part?
Turova: I’m talking about travel expenses. For example, I flew from Arkhangelsk. My outlay was something like 600 euros for travel alone. That money wasn’t paid, never mind the appearance fee…


The hotel itself was fine, although Anna Ushenina had the misfortune to end up with a view of a graveyard:

Gunina: But you could live with all these “trifles”: the absence of scoresheets, a view of the cemetery, the absence of shops nearby. But the food…
Turova: That was terrible.
Gunina: On the first two days there was a certain Julian with us (he rang round to us to go to the tournament). While he was there, we didn’t eat badly at all, and he paid for everything. But then he left to handle his own affairs, and after a couple of days Eva Repkova signed for everything. The food gradually began to disappear. First honey, then fruit…

To cut a heartfelt but also comical story short, it seems that food was available, but only if paid for especially. Instead of the menu service on the first two days after that it was like eating in a canteen with no choice of meal. Drinks weren’t even served with the food.

As you can see, the problem turned out to be the tournament organiser. Surov goes on to question why the players had agreed to take part in the tournament, having had less than ideal experiences in the past.

Go on and read the full report at Chess In Translation.
Also, the organiser Dan Pasarelu has given his side of the story at the website. It is up to you to draw your own conclusions. He is also responding at this link.

From Alexandra Kosteniuk's
Also see her personal blog at

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