How I started playing Chess
I was born in 1970 in Larnaka (Cyprus). I started playing chess when I was 15 years old learning the moves from a Turkish-Cypriot man named Conrad Ali Riza, who came to teach us chess in a camp where I was with some other kids, for the summer holidays. It immediately became a passion. I spent hours and hours fighting with some kids who could play chess as well and I lost a lot of games before getting better. During Summer I carried a chessboard every time I was going to the beach asking everybody to play with me. As many other players used to do, I went to Pasydy chess club to meet chess players and play but I got so disappointed from the environment, that I stopped playing this beautiful game at that time, Besides, School lessons would start a week after.
Six years later, when I was 21 years old, I met that man again walking in the street and I just said hello to him but unfortunately he didn't recognise me. I reminded him of the summer we met and of the chess game we played. He remembered me and asked me to start playing chess again and going to the club. I didn't refuse, and I went there the very next day with a friend of mine. He started teaching us the moves, some important scopes and some good games he had recently played. Enthusiasm came soon and the chess spirit was not far away.
Two months later, the Cyprus chess championship was about to commence and he proposed our participation which was a big surprise for me. I was not ready at all. Finally I was convinced and accepted to play for the sake of experience. I was ranked 5th out of 15 (second division) which was a great success for me as amateur. Few months after the championship finished, I participated in Nicosia chess championship where I qualified for the first division. Bear in mind that I couldn't even write the moves well and I hadn't bought yet any chess book. In January 1993 the Talcom International Chess Tournament took place in my country and the former world champion Anatoly Karpov with six Russian Grand Masters came to Cyprus and participated in that unique and unrepeatable chess event. That time I bought my first book to study after having won a strong Cypriot player with black pieces playing pure chess without even ten moves of theory.
That tournament was really a ''new page in the diary'' of my chess career. The next tournament I played was the Nicosia Championship and I won my first title. Nicosia Chess Champion!!!
The following year, I played even better in the Cyprus chess championship and qualified for the mini chess Olympiad in Monte Carlo. I played on the 4th board and I scored 7 points out of 9 games winning the silver medal. That was another great success and satisfaction for me which gave me the power to carry on.
In 1996, as a mature and stronger
player, I won the Cyprus chess championship with 8.5 points out of 11 games with no
defeat. That was an initial dream which came true and to be honest, it came
As a Champion now I participated for the first time, with the national team of Cyprus in the World's Chess Olympiad in Yerevan. Another one great success came for me there. Playing on the first board, I scored 6 points out of 9 games, with 4 wins, 4 draws and only 1 defeat. I gained my first international Elo rating 2292 and my country won the gold medal in 5th group. Cyprus was writing history at chess!
After the Olympiad I went to England where I played chess in various tournaments having achieved 100% success. It was the time I used to study a lot, I was psychologically strong and felt healthy enough to play pure and fantastic chess. I came back to Cyprus a week before the championship started and I can say I played better than the year before, winning the title again having scored 9.5 points out of 11 games with no defeat. Unfortunately, that was the end of my good performance because I had to start too many lessons for my exams in order to get a permanent job due to low income from chess. I stopped playing chess not only in official tournaments but at clubs too.
Almost a couple of years later, I finished my exams and went back to the fighting battle, started playing chess again but not the way I used to. I felt like an amateur. I was ranked in low positions with a very bad performance. I spent much time to get better and after a hard work I won the Cyprus Chess Championship again in 2001, in 2002 and 2004, undefeated. The Golden title was won in Portugal where I played in the World Union Chess Tournament and won first place. World Chess Champion of Working Unions!! I traveled and played in several tournaments all around the world gaining lot of experiences. In the year 2004 I admit I played better that ever winning the most tournaments. The most important tournament I won was in Budapest, Hungary where I won second place.
I have dedicated my life to chess and I became a member of the Cyprus Chess Federation (Rating Officer) working for the best of all players in Cyprus. I still play chess in many local tournaments every year and I represent Cyprus abroad as well. My latest success was in the 37th Chess Olympiad in Turin, Italy where I obtained the title of FIDE CHESS MASTER!!