Amici Sumus: Finding Unity and Strength in Chess - My Journey at the Peace Open Tournament

Amici Sumus: Finding Unity and Strength in Chess - My Journey at the Peace Open Tournament



This week’s blog is different, while it is still about chess. But in the realm of chess, victories and losses often mirror the ups and downs of life itself. It was amidst such an ebb and flow that I embarked on a journey that would challenge my chessboard skills and remind me of the powerful connections that can be forged through shared passions. In this blog post, I share my experiences at the “Peace Open ‘Amici Sumus’ Chess Tournament,” a unique event that celebrated the beauty of the game and stood as a symbol of solidarity and unity.

Standing in Solidarity with Ukraine

The international chess community is trying to do its part in providing support for Ukraine. The US Chess Federation published a fundraiser and said that the Kasparov Chess Foundation had donated $10,000; overall, USCF got $33,248 of donations from the US chess community. ChessBase - the German company - helped Tykhon Cherniaiev, a then 12-year-old Ukrainian Candidate Master and a double world U10 chess champion in Rapid and Blitz. ChessBase gave him shelter and support when he and his family fled Ukraine. Full video interview after his escape from the horror of war.

ChessBase article thumbnail

So, when I got an email notification from Jörg Kracht, organizer of the Peace Open ‘Amici Sumus tournament to set a sign of solidarity and support, I didnt hesitate to sign up for it. On Wed 4/20/2022 9:08 AM I got confirmation to play 2 sections. Overall 76 other USA players joined and as a former German proud to say 117 players from Germany.

Aiming for Unity on May Day

As the chess pieces were virtually set on the board for the “Peace Open ‘Amici Sumus’ Correspopndence Chess Tournament,” the timing held a more profound significance. May 1st, celebrated as May Day by workers across the globe as International Labor Day, signifies unity and togetherness. It was a perfect backdrop for a tournament that aimed to unite players worldwide by their love for the game and their shared condemnation of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine.

The essence of the tournament went beyond the moves and strategies of chess. It embodied a message of friendship and respect for all players of the International Correspondence Chess Federation (ICCF) who wanted to stand in solidarity with Ukraine during these difficult times. The tournament provided a platform for chess players worldwide to set an example of unity and support, communicating compassion to the Ukrainian people.

And on August 24th last week, people gathered to celebrate Ukraine’s Independence Day. It represents the unyielding spirit and resilience of a nation that has weathered the storms of history in pursuit of freedom.

A Message of Friendship and Respect

The International Correspondence Chess Federation (ICCF) organized the tournament to foster friendship and respect among players. The tournament commenced with 45 groups, each comprised of 13 players, resulting in a remarkable total of 585 registrations spanning 55 countries. And prominent titelholders didn’t hold back and joined the tournement.

Participating Titleholders Count
GM 9
SIM 28
IM 63
CCE 76

Playing Across Borders

In this grand tapestry of chess and unity, I participated in only one but two sections – taking on 26 games in total. Representing the United States, I was but one player among a diverse array of talents, each contributing their unique strategies and perspectives to the unfolding story of the tournament.

Beyond Prizes: Donations for Ukraine

The stakes of this tournament extended beyond the traditional quest for prizes. While there were no monetary rewards for victory, the entry fees served a higher purpose. All entry fees and additional rebates were directed towards a noble cause – aiding the people of Ukraine and refugees fleeing the turmoil. 5484 Euros were donated to the International Committee of the Red Cross, bolstering their humanitarian efforts in Ukraine.

Quoting the President: Solidarity in Action

The impact of the tournament was best encapsulated by the words of ICCF President Eric Ruch, who stated, “Following the unanimous agreement of member federations, all rebates, in addition to entry fees from the International Peace open, will be donated to the International Committee of the Red Cross. This donation totaled 5484 euros and will go towards ICRC humanitarian work in Ukraine. The payment was made today.” These words are a testament to the power of collective action and the remarkable capacity of the chess community to make a difference beyond the board.

Game Highlights

This is not about victories on the chessboard; it also serves as a poignant reflection on life..

1. Game with Michael Dudley

I have met Michael Dudley various times at the virtual chessboard and it was great to see we got paired twice in both sections I played. He was even more bold and signed up for more sections than 2. I blundered in my first game. But in the second game I thought it’s a draw, offered a draw but miscalculated Michael’s chances. He skillfully managed a win. We exchanged messages during the game. I kept them in the game to set the right context.

Michael Dudley: What a fight! Here’s to another good game when we meet again. Best wishes for your future tournaments! Cheers, –Michael

2022.08.11, 02:11

Egbert: I couldn’t agree more!! I didn’t want to screw the triumph of your brilliant game with a simple resignation. Therefore - with all KUDOs to you - it’s a classic real mate :-) Well done!! Unfortunately for me, I miscalculated twice, including the position, when I still thought it was a draw. Then I realized… oh boy, was I wrong! Again, it was exceptionally well played; it was a pleasure! Take care and onwards! Cheers, Egbert

2. Game with Roberto Pinos

I played Roberto the first time and I was impressed! A FIDE rated player and a CCE (Correspondence Chess Expert) 2022.

Roberto Pinos Rubio:

Hello Egbert. Thank you for your congratulations. It was an interesting game. If you let me a comment. I have played, in face-to-face games, since the 80s, the Modern Defense, very similar to the Pirc. But in recent years I have considered stopping playing it against players who make a quick h4, because it is a very difficult position to play without making moves like h5. With the Pirc of our game, it has taught me that it is very difficult to play after castling without developing the queen’s flank, so many problems have to be solved for blacks. I don’t know your opinion on that, of course. A pleasure to play with you. Good luck in the rest of your games and tournaments. Greetings, Roberto

2022.08.11, 00:41

Egbert: Thank you for your kind words and I agree with most of your statements. However, just little inaccuracies such as 7. h4 b5; stupid, just take 7… Bxh6; then 10… Nxe4 was inaccurate and 27… Ke6 $2 was just a mistake. I moved to Pirc a while ago very successfully. In this tournament, not :-) But that’s how it works in chess.

It was a great pleasure having such a good player as an opponent! I really hope we can play again! Take care Roberto and best of luck!! Cheers, Egbert

2022.08.11, 02:11

Full Crosstable Overview

Tournament Date Status Link
Peace Open “Amici sumus” Group 28 5/1/2022 Running Link
Peace Open “Amici sumus” Group 29 5/1/2022 Running Link

Conclusion: Amici Sumus - We Are Friends

I will start with a quote from the game of one of my opponents:

Dear Egbert, thanks for the game, even if you stand better and can win an extra pawn, in the rook ending. You brought an interesting development into play with 12. c5 - and the following moves. All the best and have fun playing in the future.
Unfortunately, after a year of war in Ukraine, peace has still not come. However, the solidarity from our free democratic states remains. I demonstrated against the GDR dictatorship myself when I was 19. That was a peaceful revolution WITHOUT DEATHS until the reunification of Germany. So lucky then!
With best wishes, Martin

My journey through the “Peace Open ‘Amici Sumus’ Chess Tournament” was marked by more than just the moves and outcomes of the games. It was a reminder that even in the face of challenges and losses, the bonds we forge and our actions can transcend the chessboard’s confines. The spirit of friendship and respect unites us; together, we can make a meaningful impact on the world around us.

As we say in the tournament’s motto, “Amici Sumus”– we are friends.

Leave your comments, thoughts and stay tuned for more insights, stories, and lessons from the correspondence chess world next week.

While donating is always a personal thing, I share what we are doing: our donations are going to Revived Soldiers of Ukraine, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing aid to the people of Ukraine in support of their fundamental human rights and the medical rehabilitation of Ukrainian soldiers.

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