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Press conference with International Team of disabled chess players

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KARLOVICH: Dear ladies and gentlemen, let me invite you to the press conference with the members of the International team of physically disabled chess players (IPCA). Let me introduce you the first board of the team Andrei Obodchuk and the team captain Zbigniew Pilimon.

My first question is about the organization itself: when was it founded, what are your main goals? Could you, please, tell a bit more about your team, which plays in the Olympiad?

OBODCHUK: Our organization was founded in 1992 by a Czech handicapped chess player Irzhi Ulman. Unfortunately, he’s passed away. Afterwards Polish organizers continued his activity in the Association: Bogdan and Tadeusz Biluchik – wheelchair users with severe form of myopathy, but they have also passed away.

Recently, when we were at the World Championship for physically disabled chess players in Poland, we went to visit and honor their graves there. We express our gratitude to FIDE for providing us such an opportunity to participate in Chess Olympiads. The first Olympiad we have been participating in was the Chess Olympiad in Bled 2002.

Not only on behalf of people with reduced ability of musculoskeletal system, but also of those one with sight and hearing problems – I cordially thank for such an opportunity, we understand that these are significant expenses, but for all of the members of our team it’s a real holiday.

KARLOVICH: Tell us about the team itself and about your performance in the Olympiad so far?

OBODCHUK: Our team is called “International Physically Disables Chess Association”. It’s quite understandable, that we are doing our utmost to play well. But indeed, there is an extremely decent chess player, IM Stanislav Mikheev, who actually is the best player on his board, so far he has 6,5 points out of 7. I’m playing on the first board and also I’m an acting Champion of our World Chess Championship for disabled chess players.

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KARLOVICH: Tell us please about your own results in the Olympiad?

OBODCHUK: Probably, you have heard that, I managed to defeat such a strong chess player as Emil Sutovsky from Israel. I understand that there was a big part of luck, when my opponent sacrificed a piece at one point and couldn’t find the way to continue his attack. And of course, I was trying my best to make it difficult for him. At the moment I have 50% of result on my first board.

KARLOVICH: Tell us, please, since when your team started to participate in the Olympiads and about your best result in the Olympiad.

OBODCHUK: Well, as I have mentioned already, our team started to participate in Olympiads starting from 2002 in Bled, after that time we don’t miss any Olympiad. As to the best results, it’s necessary to mention Khanty-Mansiysk Olympiad in 2010 – our team got 64th place- not an amazing result, but taking into consideration that German team was at 65th place – we were quite successful.

KARLOVICH: Tell us about the members of your organization, and the federations that are in your association. What are the problems that your association faces?

OBODCHUK: There are federations of more than 20 countries in our Association; these problem is that federations don’t have any special additional funding. So usually the procedure is like this: we find a country and federation which are ready to organize the Chess Championship, and afterwards chess players pay for their participation, tickets etc. themselves (on volunteer basis).

We are very satisfied, that recently we had participants from India, here in the Olympiad people from Japan, Palestine express their interest in joining our Organization. There is more and more interest towards our Organization.

Of course, we badly need both financial and moral support. I would repeat myself, if I tell once again that we are very grateful for the Organizing Committee of the Olympiad, but you know, many members of the team have really severe diseases, they are on wheel-chairs, so they need assistance, and the rooms they have are not enough for them. So this is one of the problems that we are facing.

We are indeed an International team – our Men’s team consists of one Italian, Czech, Ukrainian and 2 Russian chess players. And people, who accompany them, have to cover their expenses themselves, and it’s quite a heavy financial burden.

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KARLOVICH: Our last question is about young talented chess players in your Association. Can you tell us more about them and about their achievements?

OBODCHUK: We have lots of perspective talented players, for instance, we have one Polish chess player Lucasz Novak, he can only move his head and their parents are moving pieces on the board for him.

We have other talented players from Russia as well. Especially, I would like to mention 2 young (13 and 14 years old correspondingly) boys: Grisha Doronkin and Andrew Tersentsev – they almost can’t move themselves, nevertheless they play on a very good level – they are fulfilling their CM titles.

Unfortunately, we have not so many women chess players in our Organization, but we have a very gifted player in our team – Nikola Konkalova from Slovakia.

KARLOVICH: Thank you for your answers, we wish you good luck in your further performance in the Olympiad.