The chess fans from Nis, Serbia, were trembling with excitement as the 10th Women’s World Champion Antoaneta Stefanova visited the city on 28th November to promote the game among the young girls.
Her visit to Nis was organized and sponsored by the FIDE Commission for Women’s Chess (WOM).
The technical organizers were Chess Federation of Central Serbia, Nis County Chess Federation, Nis City Chess Federation and Chessdom.
The one day program included reception in the City Hall of Nis, a one-hour lecture and simultaneous exhibition against 20 talented girls from Nis and Plovdiv.
In the talk with the City Sports Councilor Milan Pesic, Stefanova said that she was happy to come to Nis and support the efforts to involve more girls into chess. The Councilor was interested to learn about the new trends in chess coaching and asked for more frequent visits of the top female players.
In the full hall of the Best Western Hotel My Place Stefanova hosted a very instructive lecture on “How to beat the World Champions”. The lecture provided a plentiful of useful tips and practical advices.
After a short break for refreshment, the simultaneous exhibition on 20 boards followed. 19 girls from Nis and special guest Viktoria Radeva from Plovdiv participated.
The honorary first move was made by Consul of Bulgaria Atanas Krstin.
Aca Celtik, the frontman of the popular musical band Orthodox Celts, also attended the event.
The girls provided strong resistance, but after nearly three hours of play, Stefanova won all games.
Viktoria Radeva was in best position to do something more, but she rejected a draw offer in slightly better position and eventually lost. She shared with Chessdom:
“I travelled 400km just to play against the World Champion and I wanted to play until the end, no matter the result. Since I started playing chess I wanted to meet Antoaneta Stefanova, and this was a very important moment for me. I will analyze the game thoroughly.”
On the evening, before departing Nis, Radeva even proclaimed – “This was the happiest day of my life!”
The other girls also had their say.
“Antoaneta Stefanova played a simul against 20 girls and I had the honor to be one of them. We had a good game, there were many mistakes from my side, I lost, but she is the World Champion after all. This was a wonderful experience and in few years I hope to be like her.”
“At first I was a little afraid…as the game was going on I was very excited! I am delighted to have had a chance to play against the World Champion!”
“I am happy to have met the Grandmaster, the World Champion, to have had a chance to observe her thinking process and style of play during our game. I am glad to see how they play chess on the highest level. I think that now I feel greater responsibility and respect towards chess.”
“I am absolutely delighted to have participated in this event, to meet the World Champion and shook hands with her. For me this was the best moment that I will always remember. This was a wonderful experience to play against the Grandmaster. I hope that some day I can achieve at least a fraction of her successes.”
“It was super! When Antoaneta held the lecture it was very interesting and I learned a lot from her games. I am proud to be a part of this wonderful gathering.”
Chess fans from Nis are deeply touched by the attention given from the FIDE Commission for Women’s Chess and Antoaneta Stefanova.
Local sponsors: “My Place” hotel, “Bambus” flower shop, “Guliver” agency, “Tagor” electronics, “Triglav” insurance
Huge thanks to Dragana Simic, Igor Lukic, Miroljub Stankovic and Anton Mihailov for making certain that the event runs smoothly!
(photos by Slavei Radev, Igor Lukic and Goran Urosevic)