The FIDE Confederation Cup for Players with Disabilities in Ankara is in the books. Team Europe won all four matches and deservedly took the title. Although the top two places were determined before the fourth and final round the race for the third place behind Europe and Asia was on. Two contenders, Russia-Turkey and Americas, were facing each other with the winner of the match taking third place. This hard-fought battle full of exciting twists ended in a tie 3-3. This meant Team Americas secured third place with 4 points, one point behind Team Asia that played the tournament without a rest day only to finish one day earlier than others did. In the other match of the day the champion, Team Europe, beat Africa 3.5:2.5 to finish the tournament with a perfect score. African players put up a good fight again and came close to getting their first point but it was not meant to be in the end.
1. EUROPE – 8 (15½)
2. ASIA – 5 (12)
3. AMERICAS – 4 (11½)
4. RUSSIA-TURKEY – 3 (12)
5. AFRICA – 0 (9)
This wasn't the only chess-related activity of the day, however. FIDE Executive Director and famous grandmaster Victor Bologan found time to give a masterclass to players in which he explained some principles in chess to an enthusiastic audience. It is extremely important to combine chess events with instructional seminars or lessons and FIDE Confederation Cup for Players with Disabilities proved to be a good example. Also the Events Commission (EVE) and Commission for the Disabled (DIS) meetings were held in course of the event.
After five days of chess, it was time to award prizes. The closing ceremony was attended by all players and officials such as Ayse Kardas Ergezen (Deputy Minister of Family, Labor and Social Security of Turkish Republic), Akaki Iashvili, Gulkiz Tulay (FIDE Vice Presidents; the latter is also President of TCF), Victor Bologan (FIDE Executive Director), Ozgur Solakoglu (Chairman of FIDE Events Commission and the tournament director), GM Thomas Luther (Chairman of FIDE DIS Commission), Kema Goryaeva (Councillor of FIDE DIS Commission and Event Manager), Dora Martinez (Councillor of FIDE DIS Commission) and Turgay Seçkin Serpil (FIDE DIS Commission Member), Assoc. Prof. Veli Ozan Cakir (Deputy Director General of Sports) as well as Mr. Yaroslav Mozdakov (ROSATOM's Head of International Communications) representing the financial partner of the event.
In her opening speech, TCF President and FIDE Vice President Mrs. Gulkiz Tulay mentioned that it was a great joy seeing the happiness of players with disabilities coming from all over the world to play chess in Ankara and thanked FIDE and ROSATOM who made it happen. Deputy Minister of Family, Labor and Social Security and TCF Vice President Ayse Kardas Ergezen expressed the support by her ministry for events improving the conditions of people with disabilities and her wish to see more of such events hosted by Turkey in future. FIDE Vice President Akaki Iashvili welcomed everyone in the name of FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich and thanked all who made this fantastic event possible and emphasized that chess for players with disabilities was one of FIDE’s priorities. Mr. Iashvili also expressed his gratitude to ROSATOM for their support and said that the cooperation between ROSATOM and FIDE will be a long-lasting one. Head of International Communications of ROSATOM Mr. Mozdakov reiterated that ROSATOM's support of mind sports competitions worldwide will continue in the future.
Finally, it was time to award prizes! The teams taking the first three places, Europe, Asia, and Americas, received their cups and medals. There were also separate prizes in three categories for the hearing impaired, visually impaired and physically disabled participants with the top three players in each category receiving medals. Griffin McConnell from the USA earned a special award as the youngest and most successful player in the competition. The players have also received special gifts in bags from ROSATOM and participation certificates.
Much more important than the prizes and titles were invaluable experience and friendship built among the participants of the FIDE Confederation Cup. The next event for people with disabilities, World Chess Paralympics in 2020 in Khanty-Mansiysk will be even bigger. Hope to see you all there!