everything is ready for the ETCC
Leaving in the extremely early hours of the morning, in pitch dark, we faced a nine hour drive to Athens and half a day on a ship. Starting the day optimistic, Athens’ horrific traffic jam was threatening to seriously remove the tired smiles off our faces and we were still to catch the ferry to the mythical island of Crete. As unpleasant as it might seem the idea of spending a total of 12 hours on ship, Minoan Lines gave us an enjoyable and luxury trip.
The view from the 8th deck
The Chessdom junior manager in the ship
One of the restaurants inside the ship
Finding our way to Creta Maris, the venue of the European Team Chess Championship, we devoted some time to Heraklion, the islands’ biggest city and main harbor. It offers splendid atmosphere and authentic Greek hospitality, and without any doubt carries genuine chess spirit. One can see senior citizens playing chess and drinking coffee in the early hours of the morning. Even the local fruit market had chess sets on sale!
Trying to make use of the map
El Greco work in Crete
A stylish chess set on the local market
Chess art work can be found all around the city
Nice coffee houses are at every corner
The church of Heraklion
25km west of the big city we found our final destination – the wonderful Creta Maris. The marvelous hotel complex that is hosting the European Team Championship is on the very seaside and has unique views and atmosphere. The organizers of the competition could not have picked a better environment – calm and serene on one hand, entertaining and typically Greek on the other. The warm sun brushes the ground where Europe’s chess stars will lead their team battle and Crete welcomes with pleasant white and blue scenery.
The Chessdom team was welcomed by the CEO of ETCC 2007, Mr. George Mastrokoukos, the very person we owe the great opportunity to watch and comment live for you on Chessdom. We really have to stipulate that he has organized the event into deep detail, made sure that every need of the players and coaches is fulfilled to its very best, and yet he can seem professional and breezy at the same time.
Teams are planned to arrive tomorrow, although we noticed that some of the delegations are already here enjoying their early dive into Creta Maris’ surroundings. We have seen the delegations from Austria and Cyprus and the strong Armenian team was completed just one hour ago with the arrival of Levon Aronian and Gabriel Sargassian. The first to have arrived at Creta Maris are, of course, the Greek team – Halkias, Papaioannou, Kotronias, Mastrovasilis, and Banikas. Later on today we expect the Ukranian delegation.
The monument in front of the ETCC playing hall
The way to the conference room, which will host the event
The playing hall of the ETCC
Chill out zone for the players
The flags are up and everything is ready
The playing hall is prepared. It also has a nice view to the sea
Beautiful and warm Crete island with authentic atmosphere
One of the swimming pools of the 5 star Creta Maris and rooms of delegations