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Interview with Haralambos Tsakiris, FIDE World Amateur Champion

Haralambos Tsakiris from Kavala, Greece, won the recent World Amateur Championship after the dramatic finish when he defeated the earlier leader from Iceland.

Tsakiris is awarded the title of FIDE Master and elo of 2200 for the effort. We spoke to Tsakos immediately after the closing ceremony.

Chessdom: Hello Haralambos, congratulations on winning the title of the World Amateur Champion. How do you feel now after the tournament, after all the exhausting games that you played?

Haralambos Tsakiris: First of all, I feel tired, because particularly this last game lasted for five hours. Of course, I am also very proud, because I think this is a great achievement.

Haralambos Tsakiris trophy

Haralambos Tsakiris with the trophy

Chessdom: Did you expect the victory before you came to Porto Carras?

Haralambos Tsakiris: Not really, because I didn’t have much time for preparation, and I started as number 13 according to rating.

Chessdom: So how long did you prepare for the tournament?

Haralambos Tsakiris: This week before the Championship I prepared for about one hour per day.

Chessdom: Here is also your trainer, GM Dejan Antic, so I will ask him a couple of questions. Dejan, can you tell us something about your student Haralambos?

GM Dejan Antic: Tsakos is one of the advanced students from the Kavala Chess Club and we do the coaching on regular basis. I can say that I was expecting some results, because he experienced a small crisis some months ago and he started doubting his ability to play good chess, but I advised him to be patient and that the results will come and he came back in form with much greater confidence.

I knew that he will play good in this tournament, but he even surpassed the expectations and was quite impressive. His opponents admitted that he deserved the title of the World Champion and this is a great achievement, first of all for Tsakos and his family, and then for the rest of us in the Kavala Chess Club.

Dejan Antic

GM Dejan Antic

Chessdom: What kind of advise did you give him before the last round when he was trailing behind the leader by half a point.

GM Dejan Antic: The pairings came out very late in the evening and we had a morning round, so there was not much time for preparation. Only at the breakfast we had a chance to talk. In this situation the chess preparation doesn’t count for much. The most important thing was that Tsakos would keep his mind clear and employ the correct game strategy.

I told him that he should be ready to play a very long game, to be patient, and not to rush anywhere. To maintain the pressure, but without unnecessary aggression, without complications. And he was very impressive.

Chessdom: Tsakos, how old are you?

Haralambos Tsakiris: I am sixteen.

Chessdom: So you can still play in the Junior Championship in Greece and Europe. Now that you became the World Champion, your ambition will probably grow higher.

Haralambos Tsakiris: I think that I have to train much harder and to study more, because I have to prove that I am worth of my new elo of 2200. I am also happy that thanks to this result more people will learn about the efforts of the Kavala Chess Club.

Haralambos Tsakiris

Haralambos Tsakiris

Chessdom: There were other members of your club participating in the Championship. How did they do?

Haralambos Tsakiris: A friend of mine, Georgios Kafetzis, finished fifth, and Savvas Manelidis finished 4th. They both shared the third place but missed the medal on tie-break criteria.

Chessdom: Thank you very much and good luck in the future tournaments.

The FIDE World Amateur Chess Championship 2012 was held in the 5-star Porto Carras Grand Resort in Halkidiki.

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