Saturday, 4 February 2017

Big City Life

     Life can not be more lonesome in a big city...
     A few days or weeks in between tournaments- and there can pass hours or even a day or two until I speak to a real person, until I have a real conversation, not on phone or skype or facebook... Yeah, people live in groups and societies not accidentally.
     Well, I have decided that I had spent enough time on social media and phone so I went out for a change. I went to the bus stop, wondering which is the bus I should take to a quite close to my flat shopping center. Being thirsty for a conversation with a "real person", I asked a young woman what number had the bus I should take. Quite common, right? I was expecting a quick, bored answer, maybe accompanied by a suspicious look- that's how people usually react here, tired and sore from their routine- big city life...
      Like I've said, she was a young woman, a few years older than me perhaps... A long "grey-ish" coat, some worn black boots, a pink-ish cap and a scarf, no make up- she was drowning in the city's endless shades. She told me I could take whatever bus came first- they were all driving the same way- like many of us do- work, home, work, home, home, home and work again. Not I, I am the lucky chess player whose home and work routine is not quite defined... After some 20 sec thought and the suspicious look I've already got used to, she decided she could share a bit more- there was a free bus, one she was waiting for as well- it was driving towards the shopping center I aimed for. Surprised by her being so talkative, I decided to continue our conversation. What could I say? I complained a bit about the mud that was all around, saddened about my recently polished shoes which looked quite sad as well, by that time. She told me I could use the public restroom of the shopping center in order to try to clean them. Hm, I was surprised by her remark... She stopped talking and started to look again for the bus we were waiting for. She told me then that the bus had a specific logo and it didn't stop at every station, we had to wave the hand for it to stop and take us. It was the most common and in the same time the strangest conversation I have ever had in my whole life!
     When the next bus came, I told her I'll just take it, tired to wait for the "free logo bus". I had a conversation today and it was enough. It was just the time to go clean my shoes...
   
      No, I'm not lonely, and I don't wait eagerly for the next tournament, I love to drown in the sad shades of this big city, with its suspicious, bored and sore people who can be very talkative... From time to time...


Cheers from Bucharest!

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

In Memoriam- Cristina Adela Foișor

     Nici nu știu cum să încep...

     Simt că aș vrea atâtea să spun... Dar, poate dacă nu le voi scrie, va mai fi o șansă ca totul să fie doar un coșmar din care să mă trezesc...
     De câteva zile tot am insomnii și ghemul ăla din stomac nu mai vrea să dispară...
     Simt că orice aș scrie, ar fi prea puțin...
     Punctele astea de suspensie, le-aș continua la nesfârșit... Nu era loc de punct atât de devreme...

     Mai am încă pe laptop baza ”Caro Foișor”... A apărut după vreo 2-3 partide pierdute în 1.e4-c6 2.d4- d5 3.Cc3-g6. Am avut nevoie de multe ore de pregătire pentru a reuși o primă remiză... Ce stres aveam când vedeam pe tragerea la sorți- Cristina Adela Foișor.

     Este puțin spus că port un respect deosebit față de Cristina... Soție, mamă, campioană- le reușea pe toate!
     Coerența si cronologia nu sunt punctele mele forte, dar totuși:

     Baku, Olimpiada de Șah 2016

     Pe la jumătatea turneului- România era printre primele poziții ale clasamentului, în mare parte- datorită Cristinei, care avea un scor fantastic.
     Seara, ca de obicei, eram cu toate fetele în camera căpitanului pentru a hotărî cine joacă și cine stă a doua zi.
     Eu eram necăjită, avusesem probleme cu stomacul încă de la începutul turneului, ca să mai și răcesc pe deasupra... Mi se părea că sunt cea mai săracă... Cu ochii de acum, aș fi spus prima- ”Eu vreau să joc mâine!”. Dar nu, stăteam cu o mutră de găină plouată, plângându-mă de febra mea.
     Cristina a spus atunci că ea va juca mâine, că va rezista ea cumva să facă măcar o remiză (chiar dacă resimțea deja oboseala acumulându-se), iar eu să stau să mă fac bine, ca să fac cât mai multe puncte pe final.
     Numai ea știa cum s-a dus, în starea pe care o avea, a doua zi la rundă...  Despre asta era Cristina, așa am cunoscut-o eu...

     Wroclaw, Septembrie 2015

     De câte ori nu am vorbit până în miez de noapte despre câte-n lună și în stele...
     Îmi amintesc o istorioară din nenumăratele...
     În seara aia, îmi dăduse să gust din borcanul cu miere pe care îl adusese de acasă. Apoi mi-a spus și povestea din spatele lui. Ovidiu hotărâse să cumpere albine, să facă miere... Zis și făcut! După ceva timp, nu îmi mai amintesc exact cu ce ocazie, a venit acasă cu un cadou pentru Cristina- ”un costum de albinuță”- cum l-am ”botezat” noi râzând... Așa a luat naștere mierea din acel borcan.
     Tot la turneul din Wroclaw am analizat vreo 2-3 ore o partidă de-a Cristinei în Spaniolă, jucase o variantă rară pentru negru... Ne-am tot uitat la o ordine de mutări, la alta... Ea confundase ceva și îmi explica diferențele... Diferențe pe care memoria mea le-a înregistrat doar până in Baku, când în meciul cu Azerbaijanul mi-a fost jucată varianta respectivă și nu am reușit să-mi mai aduc aminte nimic... Îmi era o rușine... Nici nu am întors capul spre dreapta, înspre masa 2, unde juca Cristina... Nu a menționat nimic despre asta, nici față de căpitan, nici față de celelalte fete... Mi-a spus după aia la masă, din nou, cum trebuia să joc și care erau diferențele...

     Se mândrea atât de mult cu fetele ei- Sabina și Veronica!
     Îmi amintesc cum într-o dimineață am întrebat-o la ce se uita pe youtube și mi-a zis că e un video de-al Sabinei în care ea analiza o partidă recentă... Zicea că ”Uite, abia a început să publice video-uri și deja are atâtea vizualizări!”.
     Uneori îmi povestea diverse curiozități din lumea geneticii, pe care, la rândul ei, le știa de la Veronica, cu care se mândrea nespus de mult, mai ales pentru că a reușit să intre la una dintre cele mai bune Universități din lume!

     La turneul ăla am devenit mai mult decât colege de echipă...

     Eram într-un moment de cumpănă și ea mi-a dat niște sfaturi pentru care îi sunt recunoscătoare până în ziua de astăzi. Am simțit că dacă mama mea ar fi fost șahistă, mi-ar fi zis exact la fel...

     Plovdiv, 2014

     Avusesem o evoluție intermediară la Campionatul European feminin din acel an, dar am hotărât să merg totuși la festivitatea de premiere pentru a o aplauda pe Cristina, care reușise încă o calificare la Campionatul Mondial. Zis și făcut! Am felicitat-o pe Cristina și stam noi acolo de vorbă, când îmi aud numele! Împărțisem ultimul loc premiat- 20, împreună cu alte vreo 20 de șahiste... Câștigasem vreo 45 de euro... Cristina, mai în glumă, mai în serios, mi-a zis să păstrez măcar o bancnotă de 5 până la urmatorul Campionat European și să văd cum o să se înmulțească! Așa am și făcut. Ce credeți? La următorul Campionat European la care am participat, în 2016, în loc de 45 de euro au fost 1000!


     S-au scris și s-au spus multe despre Cristina zilele astea...
     Pentru mine, ea a fost unul dintre acei oameni trimiși de către Dumnezeu în calea noastră pentru a ne inspira și pentru a ne fi un model în viață...

     Așa va rămâne Cristina în inima mea- ca o a doua mamă din lumea șahului.

    Dumnezeu s-o odihnească în pace!


Tuesday, 10 January 2017

A Chess Saga

     2017 is already here and it has brought loads and loads of snow in Bucharest... (yep, Bucharest is my new home now!).
     While most of the "normal" people had to return to their normal schedule and go to work, I'm taking advantage of the privileges of being a chess player, staying comfy at home, drinking tea and planing the calendar for this year... 
     2016 was definitely an interesting year! There were many ups and downs, but somehow, more ups come to my mind, which is a good thing...
     I hope that 2017 will be at least as good as 2016!
     November & December were some veeeery full months for me! I think that I've never played so much chess! There were more or less successful tournaments, but I've understood that it can't be healthy to play so much if you want to think of yourself as of a professional.
     I hope to play less in 2017 and if possible- better! :)) Why not, right?
     I've achieved the "so much wanted" 2400+ Elo again, though I try not to overthink it. After all, chess is not about ratings and this 2400 doesn't either feed me or warm me any better than 2395... 
     I hope that I'll be able to make the necessary adjustments this year so I would start playing better chess, that's the main goal (besides buying a sofa and a TV for the new "hommie" :)). 
     These being said, here's a little timeline of the last "chess months":

Calimanesti, Romanian League, beginning of November, smiley face


late November, Kings' Tournament- vs GM Mihail Marin (my face as expressive as ever!)


Again a very friendly Irina, this time vs GM Vlad Jianu
Romgaz Open- very late November- again a "happy" face
     
My mood at the beginning of December!

Wining 3 National titles (Rapid, Blitz and Solving) right after the beginning of December deserved a smile!

Finally a happy face and a week break from chess!

Vandoeuvre, France, first half of December- happy face goes on!

End of December, Austria, right before the last 3 "very successful" rounds (0,5p/3)

     I will finish on this positive note, the face I had after those 3 rounds got no official record!


xoxo from Bucharest :) 



Tuesday, 8 November 2016

The Eclectic Novi Sad

     Inspiration has struck me once again, at almost a month since my last post! The reason might be the fantastic atmosphere that reigns in Novi Sad.
     I am playing in the Serbian Open Chess Championship
(you can follow the results here: http://chess-results.com/tnr240163.aspx?lan=1 ) which is held in the same time with a major event- the European Club Cup. Three rounds have passed and I'm on 2p/3 after yesterdays' double round. The rounds start at 5 pm, so people would have time to visit the venue of the upper mentioned Club Cup, where the rounds start at 3pm. Despite this, I haven't had time for it so far. I hope to stop by in the next days...
     Novi Sad is a very interesting city. I stay quite close to the city center and I am having a blast taking long walks through it. I think I'm walking at least 5 km a day :)) The architecture is really impressive though it is a quite small city... There are many, many nice & cosy cafes and restaurants, many shops...
     I have also visited the Chess Club of Novi Sad in the first day. Anyone can come and play some blitz games there while having a drink. I was impressed by how many people where there that evening... It was a really nice atmosphere. I have always dreamed of being able to come to a such kind of place with my friends and analyze some variations, play some games... That would be a fantastic way of spending evenings for me!
     It is the 3rd or maybe 4th time I visit Serbia and I have never been disappointed! People are great here, the food is nice and the city is eclectic!
     I just hope that my chess will be able to keep the pace!
  
     Here are some photo impressions:






xoxo from Novi Sad! :)

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Another bite in the... rain

Chess despite everything!
     Another rainy autumn day is behind...
     The weather has changed so dramatically since my last post that I can't help the somehow typical autumn melancholia to invade my mood.
     All this time since Olympiad I've been trapped in the "normal life" of a "normal person". You know, when you have to do so many little things, you're busy all day long and then you get in bed at the end of the day asking yourself if you really did anything significant. Frankly, though I know this kind of weeks are necessary, I feel like my life passes by, so you can imagine how happy I am they're over!
     I am finally getting back to my favorite lifestyle- the one of a chess player!
     Many tournaments are ahead! First, an Open in Cap d'Agde, France, where I've already been for 2 times, one of them which I really enjoyed (the one not involving someone stealing all my money on my day 1 of being in France and losing 20 Elo points afterwards).
Favorite activity in rainy days!
     An Open in Novi Sad will follow, one which will take place in the same period with the European Club Cup. I've been several times in Serbia and it was great every time so I am looking forward to this tournament!
     The Romanian Club Championship will be next and the Romanian Blitz & Rapid Championships afterwards and maybe even some more tournaments will appear in my calendar as well... I am fully packed up for the last months of this year and I'm really excited about it!

     I hope you're all well and I wish you a full or maybe a calm autumn- however you prefer it!


xoxo from Romania :)
    

Monday, 26 September 2016

Ice cream money

Mamaia,EIWCC
     Summer is definitely gone and I feel somewhat nostalgic... There were so many nice tournaments and even more nice memories I've made there.
     My summer had started with the European Individual Women Chess Championship where I was

quite close to qualifying for the World Cup. My chess was not so good there but neither was my opponents'. I missed the previous EIWCC and I forgot how much different can an "all women" event be, especially such an important one like this one. I was satisfied with my overall result, the prize contributed a bit as well, though it would be a lie to say I didn't want more, the goal was to qualify... I guess it will have to be postponed until next year, hopefully.
Mamaia
     A tournament in Iasi followed, "Iasi Open" where my chess was more stable, though again- not too impressive. I had finally won a game vs a 2500 player, somehow it didn't occur so often lately. I won some Elo points, some "ice-cream money" and my thoughts were already in Greece, where I'd go for a full month of non stop chess.
     Greece... Uff, it's not so easy to write about it, it was too good!
     The first tournament, in Anogia (Crete) was a bless, even though I had a tough start there, losing 2 games vs Greek juniors, my chess style had to become more boring for the next tournaments in order to avoid these accidents, no more taking 3 pawns and giving away initiative. Youth hates boring, I guess that compared to when I was 16, I hate boring a little bit less at 22 :) You can read more impressions about Anogia in a whole post I dedicated to it :
Anogia
http://irinabulmaga.blogspot.md/2016/07/zorbas-world.html  Money for ice-cream again in place, time to head to the next tournament, this time in Paleochora.
     I promised to write a post about this place as well, but you know, it's never easy to write about something you already miss too much. It was my 3rd time being there. The first time I was there, in 2010, sharing the room and hopes with a very good friend- WIM Smaranda Padurariu was so nice that I came back in 2011 again, though just for vacation. I've missed the nice beaches of Paleochora so much since then, that I had decided to go again this year. Actually my planning of this years' summer concluded to answering a simple question: "where are the best beaches?". For me, the answer was simple- "Greece", it has a very special place in my heart. So... Paleochora- it was great, the rounds started in the late afternoon, so there was plenty of time to spend chillin' on the beach.
Enjoying the fantastic beach in Paleochora
I was a bit too full of chess so my preparation was more in drinking frappes and eating lamb as many times as I could (you can't imagine how much lamb I can eat, even I was surprised by my achievements!). Ah, and I've discovered a new traditional Greek wine "Retsina", you should definitely try it if you go to Greece! The tournament went well, wins vs lower rated opponents, draws and losses vs higher rated (in totally drawish positions, but whatever, some lamb and I was back on track!). The balance was clear: +some Elo points ; +3 (lamby) kg; + bag&shoes money. It was time to move further...

 The next stop was Kavala. The beach was not as spectacular as in Paleochora (very important point for me as you can see), but the tournament was organized very nicely and it was a pleasure to play, though again my preparation continued to reduce with every day that passed. Again wins vs lower rated opponents, some stupid losses vs higher rated ones, culminating in an unforgettable last round game vs a 2600+ player, where I fought for sharing the 1st overall place. I had an extra pawn, the pair of bishops- a totally wining position which turned out to be (as it happens too many times in women chess) not so winning. I lost that game and I felt very sorry for myself to finish such a fantastic month in Greece in such an inconvenient manner. I have to say that as the hours were passing and the night was approaching the day became better and better so finally, it became (despite of this unfortunate game) the best day in Greece! Balance: +some Elo points; + ice cream money; +unforgettable moments.
the Romanian Team in Baku
    The next stop- the Olympiad in Baku, about which I've already written a post you can see here: http://irinabulmaga.blogspot.md/2016/09/baku-chess-olympiad.html

     There were a lot of opposite feelings about it, I'm still trying to process the whole event... The most memorable moment was the one were I went for a totally crazy carousel ride, maybe that's the reason I'm still processing everything, my brain got too shaken, yeah...  Balance: no ice cream money, the Elo unchanged, -3kg; +extra adrenaline from that crazy ride...
     The vacation I had on Cyprus after all of these was a bless. I am tanned like never before and I still feel the summer in my veins!

Cyprus, with my dear sis'- Elena


xoxo from Chisinau ;)
     

Monday, 19 September 2016

Baku Chess Olympiad

     Some months with promises of posts have passed with me having no inspiration at all...


     Finally, some days after the World Chess Olympiad in Baku finished, I've found some energy to share some subjective impressions about it.
 Corina Peptan, Elena Luminita Cosma, Ciprian Nanu, me and Cristina Foisor
     Many people say that it was the best organized Olympiad ever. Frankly, I don't share this point of view. I will try to explain myself.
     I liked the hotel we stayed in and Baku itself but the food was too big of a challenge for my stomach and I had problems with it from day 1 until the last day. Moreover, it was sooooo cold in the playing hall that I also got totally sick at the middle of the tournament. One could imagine my joy going to the round with my stomach crying, sniffing all the time and dreaming of a "Parasinus" I couldn't take because of an eventual doping control.
Elena Luminita Cosma, Angela Dragomirescu, Corina Peptan and me

     Another negative thing I had to experience was some arbiters' incompetence. Imagine the following situation: I am playing my game, the endgame looks quite drawish, though it's me who has to make the draw, I find some repetition, if my opponent doesn't go for it, I can finally have some ideas to improve my position, we've repeated the position for 2 times and suddenly my opponent goes to the arbiter saying she wants to ask the captain if to make a repetition or not, the arbiter allows her. I want to specify that there was no draw offer at all. Practically, my opponent was asking her captain "Should I make this move or not?". Despite our captain's protests nothing happened. The same situation happened to one of my teammates in another match, moreover, that other arbiter couldn't even speak English, though he was quite friendly with our opponents who were Spanish speakers as him and allowed the player to talk to the captain and ask about repetition.
      I suppose that the other participants didn't have the same experiences I had and that's the reason they call this Olympiad the best one ever.
     All these facts had shadowed the joy of being a part of the biggest celebration of Chess.
     Otherwise, Baku seemed to be a really nice city. I was happy to see many of my friends from all over the World. I am normally a very positive person and I've tried to find positive things to hold on to through the tournament...
     The tournament started quite good for our team, culminating in an equal match we've made vs the future winners- China. The 2nd part of the tournament didn't go as we wanted, though we fought very hard each match. I guess that the conclusions are yet to be drawn.
     Sport is sport!