By Bejay Browne
A TWO day chess event which was held in Paphos at the weekend, saw a Grandmaster simultaneously take on 35 players and remain undefeated.
The event was organised by the Paphos chess club and took place in the medieval castle at the harbour of Kato Paphos and the Dionysus Hotel in Paphos.
Special guest, Vasilios Kotronias, a Greek chess Grandmaster and chess author, gave lectures and took part in the matches, remaining undefeated.
Kotronias was awarded the titles of International Master in 1986 and Grandmaster in 1990. He is nine-time Greek Champion. He represented Cyprus from 1998 to 2004, but has since switched Federations to become a Greek national player again.
The president of the Paphos chess club, Constantinos Nicolaou, told the Cyprus Mail that 35 players from all over Cyprus took part in the two-day event, including a number from his club.
“The weekend was a great success and the highlight was the simultaneous play that GM Kotronias gave against 35 chess players from all over Cyprus at the Paphos Medieval Castle on Saturday. It was watched by hundreds of tourists, locals and foreigners, and was a first-class opportunity to promote the sport.”
According to Nicolaou, on Saturday, Kotronias first gave two lectures at the Dionysus Hotel and in the evening, he challenged many players to matches. He played simultaneously and moved from player to player and each had to make their move when he was close to them, said Nicolaou.
Kotronias won all of his games, except three where he conceded draws, with players from the Paphos chess club.
“It was a two-day special event and we hold one or two large events every year, as well as regular tournaments,” he said.
The participants were from all over Cyprus and included a number of children.
“We have about 50 members of the club, but they don’t all play all of the time. We had about 20 players from Paphos taking part, the rest were from around Cyprus.”
On Sunday, a tournament was held at the Dionysus, where 35 players also took part. The Grandmaster played and came first, said Nicolaou.
The Paphos chess club has been going since the 1980’s and Nicolaou has been president for the last four years.
“I have been playing for 20 years. I didn’t do so well on Sunday though, I think I had too much on my mind from organising the event.”
Club members range in age from 7 years to 60 and many participate in national and international tournaments.
“Anyone can join us, both children and adults and of any nationality. We play friendly games every day at 4pm and a tournament every Thursday at 7pm and players come from all over Cyprus,” he said.
The event was organised to highlight the “noble” sport in Paphos and throughout Cyprus and was held as part of “Pafos 2017”.