Welcome message by Georgios Makropoulos, President of the Greek Chess Federation
The Greek Chess Federation welcomes 12 of the world's leading Grandmasters who are participating in the Thessaloniki Grand-Prix tournament.
It is a unique honour for Greece and Thessaloniki that this great event takes place in our country and especially in the city which hosted the famous Chess Olympiads of 1984 and 1988.
Those Chess Olympiads were the first steps in turning our country into a major chess destination on the world map: Greece is now an active member of the world chess community with 14 of its own Grandmasters in both men and women categories, a full calendar of international chess tournaments organised every year and many important FIDE events taking place in Greece, from the World School Championships to the most prestigious Grand-Prix event in Thessaloniki.
Our results have, furthermore, been very encouraging at the Youth level with several first places and medals for Greek young players in European and World events.
With this opportunity, I would also like to thank once more Mr Ivan Savvidis, a true supporter of chess in our country. As government grants are now becoming very difficult for sports in Greece, the generous contributions of Mr Ivan Savvidis have helped the Greek Chess Federation to remain active and continue its chess development program despite the strong financial crisis which hit our country.
I wish success and good games to all the participants and I am sure they will leave Thessaloniki with the best memories of Greek hospitality!
Deputy President of FIDE
President of the Greek Chess Federation