Chess News

Why do people keep coming back to Ikaria every summer? (Part 2)

The island of Ikaria is the host of the annual Ikaros International Chess Tournament that takes place every summer on the picturesque Aegean island.

As we wrote in the first part of this presentation, Ikaria is renowned for its very relaxing and hospitable atmosphere. The way of life of the Ikarians is very serene and healthy leading the island to be included in the very short and distinctive list of “Blue Zones” upon the planet, with Ikarians having a very high life expectancy!

According to recent research, chronic diseases are a rarity in Ikaria. People living on the island have 20% less cancer, half the rate of cardiovascular disease, and almost no dementia!

Ikarians are friendly, easy going and open people. This attitude is also present at Ikaros Tournament. The atmosphere of the tournament is also very friendly with the only obligation of the participants to follow specific dress code rules: Short trousers and a summer look is the order of the day (tuxedos are not accepted)!


The tournament is held at the new, comfortable basketball stadium of Agios Kyrikos. In order to avoid any problems due to the summer heat, the games begin at 7.00 p.m. in the afternoon.

Hmm… Isn’t it a bit late? Well, no! You see, nightlife at Ikaria begins after midnight so there is no need to hurry. If you visit the cafes or the local bars at 11.00 p.m. on a Saturday night you might think that no one is there. An hour later the place is full of life. Midnight is coffee time and then by 3.00 or 4.00 a.m. it’s time for the disco!

And what is the time to go to bed? Well, how about sunrise or even later? Yes, but “I have to play a game the next day!”. Relax and enjoy! The next game is at 7.00 p.m. in the afternoon. You can get a good sleep, then go to the beach, eat a good lunch at the local tavernas and you are ready for the next game!

In Ikaria, the local traditions are still alive and Ikarians are very proud of them. If you want to get a taste of these traditions you should visit one of the famous Ikarian “panigiria” (festivities) organized throughout summer in various places. At panigiria you can taste the local wine and dance the famous “Ikariotikos” till the morning (Yes, going to bed in the morning is an old tradition at Ikaria).


But of course, for those who do not wish a wild nightlife, Ikaria is also a very nice place just to relax. There are some very nice beaches to visit (e.g., Gialiskari, Armenistis, Nas, Prioni, Messakti, Faros, Agios Georgios ust to name a few).

You can also visit the town of Evdilos at the other part of the island or the villages of Faros and Rahes (where the stores are closed in the morning and open at night!).

A good idea is to rent a car and go all the way from Agios Kirykos to Nas (at the other part of the island). You will have the chance to see many picturesque small villages up on the Atheras mountain and enjoy the view of the island from above.

The more adventurous can try to visit Maganiti or Karkinagri. You can also visit (by boat) the Fourni islands (just opposite Ikaria, you’ll find there very nice beaches, delicious fish and even lobsters) or (by flying dolphin) Patmos and pay a visit to the famous Monastery of the Apocalypses.


Ikaria is not a tourist island and there are very few large hotels and facilities. Therefore accommodation for participants in provided at small hotels, pensions and rent rooms. These are not luxurious 5 starts rooms but they are clean, with private bathroom (some of them also have a small kitchen) and, most of them with air-conditioning (although the pleasant wind -called “meltemia” – that blows at Ikaria during July, often makes the use of air-conditioning obsolete).

The rooms and pensions of the participants are located within Agios Kirykos and within Therma, the nearby village that hosts the famous Ikarian spas where, for the price of a few euros, you can enjoy a bath and a refreshing massage.

Therma is 20 minutes from Agios Kirykos on foot or 5-6 minutes by bus (that is provided for free to the participants). Participation cost is always kept at reasonable prices and the organizers contribute to the costs for junior players, families and teams.

Moreover, Ikaria is generally a cheap place to live and you can enjoy your vacation without spending too much money.


In general the festival is an important cultural, athletic but also financial event for Agios Kirykos, since for more than 10 days, all pensions and restaurants are full with chessplayers and this is essential for the local economy. That is also the reason why the municipality of Agios Kirykos strongly support the event.

This year, Ikaros International Chess Tournament becomes 36 years old and invites all chessplayers to visit Ikaria!

Ikaros 2013 (13th till 21st of July) includes the traditional open international tournament “Open Aegean Championship 2013” as well as plenty of other side events such as junior, Ladies, Veteran, blitz, rapid and simultaneous exhibition events, blindfold chess, problem solving, chess lectures and many others.

We are looking forward to meeting you all at Ikaria this summer!


Information about Ikaria can be found at: , , and


Information about Blue Zones and Ikaria can be found at:


The official webpage of the Ikaros, with all the latest information about Ikaros Chess Tournament 2013 can be found at:


while those interested in more details can contact:


++30-6947-829772 (Mr. Dimitris Kapagiannidis)

++30-6977-730286 (Mrs. Antzela. Shiaka)


Or can send an e-mail at:


Click on the images for full size view

We would like to thank the photographer Yiorgos Depollas and the Editions Fotorama Co. for their kind permission to use the photos from Yiorgos Depollas’ album titled “Ikaria” (ISBN: 960-7524-18-7). If you are interested in the other photo albums of Yiorgos Depollas please check at:

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