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The fourth stage of Grand Prix was opened in Thessaloniki
IMG 1669The opening ceremony of the 4th stage of FIDE Grand Prix Series 2012-2013 took place in the Amphitryon hall of Makedonia Palace Hotel in Thessaloniki (Greece) on the 21st of May.

The players and guests were greeted by the Tournament Director Theodoros Tsorbatsoglou, President of the Greek Chess Federation Georgios Makropoulos, General Secretary of Sports Kiriaki Gianakidou, Minister of Macedonia & Thrace Theodoros G. Karaoglou, Governor of the Region of Central Macedonia Apostolos Tzitzikostas, and FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov.

Chief Arbiter Takis Nikolopoulos then proceeded with drawing of lots. He called up the players to come to the table and pick of the rooks in the shape of White Tower, the famous landmark of Thessaloniki. Pictures
Welcome address by Mr. Ivan Savvidi
Ivan SavvidiTo the Chess World Championship Grand Prix participants
by Mr. Ivan Savvidi, the President of the Federal National-Cultural Autonomy of Greeks of Russia

Dear friends!

It is a great pleasure for me to welcome the organizers, players, participants and guests of the "Makedonia Palace Grand Prix".

The Championship is a significant event not only for Greece but globally, as twelve of the world’s top chess players from different countries are gathered here today.  

Chess is a unique, amazing sport that offers the opportunity to realize the player’s potential to its maximum. Contemplating person perceives the surrounding deeper and brighter and this is the main reason that he is always one step ahead of others.   

Today in the century of information with the changes happening every day and even every minute in all fields of social life, chess provides the ability to evaluate a perspective correctly, to fix a goal and logically estimate ways of its achievement that becomes a formula for success. It is chess that teaches all that. It is undisputable that great Capablanca said: "A good player always has luck!"   

Chess is a symbol of the world, because the key to the victory is in the power of mind and not in the physical force.

I would like to thank those who made chess their life companion, who keep on improving and aiming to the heights in this game!   

I wish you success, implementation of your plans and all the best.

Sincerely yours,
Ivan Savvidi

Message by Antonis Samaras, Prime Minister of Greece
Antonis SamarasI would like to thank you for your invitation to attend the opening ceremony of the international chess Grand Prix tournament, to be held in Greece from the 21st of May onwards. Unfortunately, prior commitments do not allow me to attend this important event.

The organization of major chess competitions and the presence of leading chess players in Greece is an honour for our country and the organizers of this event.

I congratulate you for your continued efforts to promote this great intellectual sport, as well as for your initiative to bring this event to Greece. Such activities promote not only this gentle intellectual sport but also the unrivalled beauty of our country.

I wish you every success.

The Prime Minister
Nicolas Sphicas chess paintings decorate the Grand Prix venue
Nicolas Sphicas chess paintingsNicola Sphicas' paintings and watercolors on the theme of chess are exquisite and immensely intriguing. His decorative details and mosaic like patterns (reminiscent of Klimt) are compelling and original and while ancient sources inspire his work, he has introduced his personal elements, which are innovative and unique.

His work is characterized by a marvelous range of expression and his style plays noble homage to the grand Greek classical figurative tradition, including that continued by Chirico. At the same time, it calls to mind the delicate sparkle of Byzantine mosaics as well as the decorative patterns of Gustave Klimt and even the colorful lyrical abstraction of Kadinsky watercolors, and all of these with his own stamp of originality.

Welcome message by Georgios Makropoulos, President of the Greek Chess Federation
MakropoulosThe 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!

Georgios Makropoulos
Deputy President of FIDE
President of the Greek Chess Federation

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