Saturday, 26 August 2017

Saint Petersburg - we lost the match but won some friends!

A number of our local players traveled to Russia on 18th August for a challenge match against Saint Petersburg. During the week long visit we saw some wonderful sights including -

The Winter Palace / Hermitage

Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood

Zenit Saint Petersburg football match

Museum of Music in the Sheremetev Palace

River cruise through Saint Petersburg

Korchnoi Memorial Tournament

Kalininsky Chess School

Roshchino Village Summer Chess Camp

Our hosts, the Kalininsky Chess School, were fantastic in every way, providing excellent accommodation, bus transfers in and out of the city, and amazing venues for us to play in. We received an incredibly warm reception from organisers and players alike. Their warmth, hard work and organisation turned the trip into an experience of a lifetime that none of those attending will ever forget. Special mention must all be made to Mikhail Pavlov and Brendan Jamison from the Ulster Chess Union for organising the trip on our side. They worked tirelessly before and during the event to ensure our stay was as enjoyable and fulfilling as possible.

The chess was of an incredibly high standard and proved an exciting challenge for all the players. The schedule included 4 classical games, a simultaneous exhibition against WGM Dina Belenkaya, a rapidplay tournament, and a blitz tournament. We had some notable successes on the trip -

1) Daniil Zelenchuk scored 4/4 in the classical matches

2) Ross Harris and Dmitry Zelenchuk scored 2.5/4 in the classical matches

3) Daniil Zelenchuk and Barney McGahan won in the simultaneous exhibition

4) Dexter Harris and Brendan Jamison drew in the simultaneous exhibition

5) Daniil Zelenchuk came 2nd in the blitz tournament scoring 7.5/9

6) Brendan Jamison and Daniil Zelenchuk came joint 2nd in the rapidplay tournament

Our youngest players Dexter Harris (8) and Adam Fitzsimons (8) performed incredibly well against much higher rated players. Both scored 2/5 in the rapidplay and 3/9 in the blitz.

Saint Petersburg is a beautiful, friendly city that everyone should take the opportunity to explore! Many thanks to our hosts for a wonderful experience and to Mikhail and Brendan for all their hard work!

Kalininsky Chess School have produced this wonderful video of our trip.

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