Cevdet KIZIL = Champion of The Republic of Turkey Istanbul University

                            Economics Faculty Chess Club Businessmen Chess Tournament '2003


It was a hot May month in 2003. Istanbul University Economics Faculty Chess Club announced that they were going to organize a chess tournament which would be open to only Business Administration students. I was also especially invited to this tournament by Sabri Sahin, Chairman of the club since I was an alumnus of Business Administration Department of Economics Faculty. Of course, I accepted this invitation immediately because I was really enjoying the environment in this club and there were a lot of intelligent and friendly students to play with. Indeed, at that time I was working part-time for Istanbul University Research Foundation as an instructor of web programming/web designing and Economics Faculty Chess Club was a lovely place for me to visit before my working hours. Actually, I had the chance to know Sabri Sahin, the respected chairman that way during one of my visits. Moreover, many members of the club used to like me a lot since I had played some very beautiful games during my visits and had beat a lot of strong players from other departments. For instance, once I had beat the Champion of Economics Faculty and was congratulated several times by many Business Administration students.

So, in a sunny May day of 2003, the tournament started with single elimination system. The first, second and third rounds had passed without any difficulty and I had promoted to the Quarter-Finals in Istanbul University Economics Faculty Businessmen Chess Tournament '2003. However, in the Quarter-Finals, I was to face a really strong chess player for the first time in this competition. Currently, I can't recall his name - but I can still remember that he was called as "the master" in the club. When the match did start and went into the middle-game stage, things started to become more clear for me and I learned why my opponent was called as "the master" by other players. His playing style was strong and he was not giving up the battle even though I had earned some small material advantage while we were passing to the endgame. Fortunately, in the endgame I was able to use my material advantage wisely and my opponent was unable to stop my queen promotion. What a hard game that was, but thanks to my little material advantage and better use of pawns which later turned into a great material advantage (queen promotion).

As a result, I had the chance to play in the Semi-Finals and my opponent was a very famous but also a very familiar player. That was nobody other than Sabri Sahin, the chairman of the Economics Faculty Chess Club. To speak honestly, I was very sad to match with Sabri Sahin in the Semi-Finals drawings. Because this meant that one of us would be eliminated at this stage and would have to play third place match later. Another important factor was that Sabri Sahin had improved his game seriously in the last months so I was pretty sure that my opponent was strong. Thus, I would prefer to play against Sabri Sahin in the final. On the other hand, of course we had to play and the game started under these circumstances. Sabri Sahin was really good at the opening stage like me, so the game was continuing with a great struggle and none of us had any advantage over another. The next stage of the match was the middle-game and I was seeing a nightmare at that point. Because during the game, Sabri Sahin had a very good opportunity and was implementing a heavy attack against my castled king. At a particular moment while I was analyzing the probabilities and the position, I realized that if played perfect, Sabri Sahin had mate in six moves. I prayed over and over for him not to see the correct moves. And fortunately he couldn't see the best moves and I was really relieved. After that point, I remember that my morale was back and I had implemented a strict defense strategy to protect my king. In the next moves, my strategy was representing very good results and Sabri Sahin was not able to attack my castled king anymore. And then I had an ideal opportunity to attack intensively which resulted in my victory at the Semi-Finals stage. One part of me was very happy for promoting to the Final in that super tournament, but the other part of me felt very sorry for Sabri Sahin.

At last, the Final was waiting for me to be played against another very dangerous player, Ilker Gokyokus. He was also performing an ever-increasing graphic, meaning that he was experiencing the best days of his career. In other words, I knew that I was going to face the strongest player of the tournament - but that was the Final match and I had to do my best, I had to win that game for all costs. Just before the Final game started, a lot of members and players of the club had surrounded the table long long minutes ago to watch the Final match in detail - you could observe many of them betting for the winner of the Final match. After that, the Final match was given a start and it was going on very tough and exciting as expected. The opening and the middle-game stage had passed and everything in the game was still going equal, both in material and positional terms. When the endgame stage was reached, things were still unchanged and both of us were still unable to rule the game. Now everyone knew that one mistake would end the game for sure. And during the endgame, when there were only pawns left on the chess board, my opponent Ilker Gokyokus made a wrong move which did cost him the entire match - he was not forgiven.

In sum, the Final match was over and I was announced as the "Champion of Istanbul University Faculty of Economics Businessmen Chess Tournament '2003". I had earned the "Honor Medal" and was celebrating my chess career's one of the most important chess tournaments. Actually, the honor medal was a gift of my endgame strength and great experience. Oh, I was going to forget... Thanks too my dear pawns!