What participants say

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"The offered chess vacation package has more than met our expectations. All the promises of the invitation were fulfilled. The tournament organization is perfect. Despite the three-digit number of participants, a familiar, intimate atmosphere soon develops. October is ideal in Crete."

Christoph Kandler 🇩🇪

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"It's hard to decide what to praise first. The organization of the tournament, for which GM Falko Bindrich and IM Tobias Hirneise are responsible, is simply perfect. The hotel, located directly by the sea, impresses every visitor, the hotel's cuisine leaves nothing to be desired. In the fight on the 64 fields everyone gives his best, even if it is not always the best. At the lectures of the grandmasters everybody can learn something, at the simultaneous events with the grandmasters many a senior has the opportunity to pay a lesson."

Dr. Harbich & Dr. Frank Höfer 🇩🇪

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"From registration, the organizers, the hotel staff, starting with Zoe, and Elena, the restaurant staff, were always helpful and friendly. Falko, Tobias, the referee, all were wonderful people. The resort facilities were perfect for the whole family. I have already signed up for next year's event. My wife and I plan to bring our children and grandson. I know they will enjoy it too, even though they don't play chess themselves at all. Grandmaster Spyridon Skembris was really generous with his knowledge and wisdom in chess as he was always available to analyze our games and also in the GM lectures. Congratulations and a big thank you to the organizers!"

Rolando Geronimo 🇧🇪

"It's really hard to say whether playing chess or swimming in the sea and pool was more fun. Rarely have we experienced such a great combination of chess and vacation: a great hotel, a super organization that made chess possible at all levels in Corona times, and exciting opponents. The concept with the different groups is also very family-friendly. We will come back anytime!"

Almut Steinbach und Marius Deuer 🇩🇪

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"This is the second time I have participated in this great tournament. Everyone is so friendly, the organizing staff, the GMs and the players themselves. Where else can you have a vacation in the sun and play chess? Lots of food and alcohol with great evening entertainment, highly recommended."

Peter Merrifield 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

Adult man seen from chest height, sitting in front of a chess board and looking up at the camera, in the background other players
"I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your excellent organization. I did not have the opportunity to do so on site. All the more I want to make up for it with this. From my point of view, it was a perfect tournament and I will be happy to come back next year! Organization perfect; rooms great; free consumption ideal; supporting program great; the attempt to bring the international (21 nations) a little bit into the foreground great. All around great! Thank you!"

Jürgen Morf 🇨🇭

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"Dear organizers, I was there for the first time. And I am thrilled. So many opportunities to play and experience chess as a banal amateur, with free water, coffee and cake at the board, to exchange with so many from other countries, in such a beautiful place, with a super tour on the non-playing day, with the best and more than abundant cuisine, and all this in a feel-good atmosphere that you spread. Thank you very, very much!"

Ruth Huber 🇨🇭

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"A big thank you to the ACO team for the organization of the World Chess Amateur Championship on the Greek island of Kos. The tournament, its realization, the complete social program as well as the entire hotel (team) had to show an enormously high quality, which absolutely justified the claim of a world championship. Also worth mentioning is the Mediterranean weather on Kos, which will remain positively in the memory with many hours of sunshine. I am already looking forward to next year, to participate in this great tournament, to meet the Greek sun as well as the food and the nice people I met."

Marco Siebarth 🇩🇪

Adult man seen from chest height, sitting at a table and looking at a chess board, in the background other players
"The seminars and even more the individual game analyses of GM Z. Lanka were a real highlight! His enthusiasm, his lively way of lecturing and last but not least his untiring willingness to be available to everyone (and in every free moment!) for questions and game analysis was extraordinary for me! But one does not only profit from his enormous chess knowledge, but he conveys to one the enthusiasm and passion without which chess is unthinkable. Chess is unthinkable. With my 67 years I felt "chess-wise" 50 years younger!"

Henryk Wiktor 🇫🇷

Adult man seen from chest height, sitting at a table and looking at a chess board, in the background other players
"Dear chess friends. I am very very happy with the nine days at the World Championship in Crete, with everything. A great chess atmosphere, great chess players, great people and great friends. Thank you for organizing this perfect event and also for the blitz tournaments! I enjoyed them very much! Thanks again for so much chess, chess and more chess in Greek islands! Do more!"

Antonio Maset 🇦🇷

Personal reports:  
What participants say about the ACO events

Jens Wehrmann (GER) about the 2022 World Amateur Championship on Kos

This year was my third time at an ACO World Championship. The first time in Kos. It‘s a wonderful combination of chess and a holiday. Whether alone or with a companion, everyone gets their money‘s worth. We canonly pay a big compliment to the ACO team. Everything is excellently organised. With Greece, a country was chosen that offers constant summer temperatures over a longer period of time and where there is definitely a holiday feeling. The hotel in Kos stands out from the other well-known hotels, which can be seen in the construction and architecture of the entire complex. You are pampered with an all-round carefree package. Now to the chess tournament itself. Every participant has the chance to play for the world championship title in his or her group, which is not easy, as the competition is very strong and international. It‘s a challenging tournament, and you meet old faces and get to know new ones when you takepart. You exchange ideas and look forward to seeing each other again. The social programme is also great. Besides analyses with well-known grandmasters, seminars, blitz tournaments and simultaneous play, there is something for every chess enthusiast. Culinary delights are also well catered for. In conclusion, you can enjoy chess and a relaxed holiday in a great atmosphere. So, come to Kos, it‘s worth it!

Bert Talloen (BEL) about the 2022 World Amateur Championship on Kos

In my experience, ACO chess tournamentstake the concept „play chess while being on holidays“ to a very high standard. I like the tournament formula of playing games in groups with players of broadly equal strength. The conditions in the playing hall are nearly perfect. And after the games there is the possibility to analyze your game with a GM or go to one of their insightful lectures. If that isn‘t enough, you can also participate in blitz tournamentsor a simultaneous game withone of the GMs. So the chess is serious, but so is the relaxing. In Kos, the 5-star hotel is beautifully located near the sea, has nice pools and a good restaurant, and there is much more to enjoy. On the „free day“ I participated in a tour of the island passing by some of the highlights that Kos has to offer.

Dr. Guntram Hilbenz (GER) about the 2022 World Amateur Championship on Kos

As a newcomer to your ACO tournaments, I would like to thank you very much: Perfect organisation regarding hotel and tournament, organisation team always present and yet discreetly in the background. Interesting chess social programme, family atmosphere, well-organised island tour and close GM analyses of one‘s own games. Great anticipation, also on the part of my partner, for the ACO tournament in October 22 on Crete!

Kevin Winter (ENG) about the 2021 World Senior (50+) Chess Championship on Crete

I have played numerous international tournaments. What am I lookingfor when I enter such an event ? Well, a professionally organised event, agreat hotel, nice venue, side events and a friendly but competitive playing environment. The first ACO experience ticked all the boxes when I played in Crete in October, 2021. I was pleased to play the guest of honour, Vlastimil Hort, in a simul set up by the organisers and it would seem that the legendary grandmaster has not lost none of his chess prowess. It was also great to have access to grandmaster analysis of one’s games and for the English players, Daniel King was the ideal mentor with his clear, helpful and friendly advice although it has to be mentioned that Daniel is equally fluent in German; his lectures too were well received. All in all, it was a wonderfultime in Crete, especially meeting old friends, making new ones, attending the side events, eating well, getting sun and enjoying the chess, amongst other things. Nothing was too much trouble for Falko, Tobias and their team and I give the experience 10/10. As someone once said, I will be back !

Alexander Stuhlmann (GER) about the 2022 World Super Senior (65+) Chess Championship on Kos

I participated in an ACO tournament for the second time. I enjoyed this first Super Senior tournament very much. Apart from the usual good accommodation, catering and organisation, I particularly liked the friendly atmosphere between the participants. The social programme and the extensive opportunities for analysis with the friendly grandmasters also contributed significantly to the success. I am already looking forward to the next event.

Paul Schmitz (GER) about the 2022 World Super Senior (65+) Championship on Kos

My first experience with ACO was in Kos in 2015. I had actually come „only“ for the chess tournament. But already the first time made me not only an ACO fan, but also a lover for Greece. In the next few years, I went to Rhodes and Crete and the Super Seniors World Championship was already the fifth tournament on Kos in the same hotel. Whether alone, with a girlfriend or, as last October on Crete, additionally with daughter and granddaughter, itwas always an experience. The chess tournament with opponents at eye level, the beach and the accommodation. Plus the supporting programme with the blitz tournaments, the simultaneous event and the grandmaster lectures (here the explanation of the Ukrainian defence against the Russian attack by GM Lanka was particularly interesting and amusing). The organisers Falko Bindrich and Tobias Hirneise and their team also did a super job from registration to the award ceremony. I am already looking forward to the next tournament to meet old acquaintances and make new ones. In this atmosphere, the ranking is almost a minor matter.

Karin Tast-Mendez + Ulrich Kremser (GER) about the 2022 World Super Senior (65+) Championship on Kos

The ACO Super Seniors (65+) World Championship was held again on Kosfrom 27 April to 6 May, in the well-known hotel under the new name „Atlantica Belvedere Resort“. Both the organisation of the tournament and the accommodation and catering were excellent. The Mediterranean Sea was already warm enough for swimming, the sun strong enough for tanning and sunburn and spring expressed itself in happy colours. The free day in the middle of the tournament could be used for private explorations or as an organised sightseeing tour. Due to the manageable number of participants, the contact between the players and with the grandmasters became more intensive. They met several times a day, all had space on the terrace for meals and so chess-free conversations were also possible. As in previous years, the three well-known grandmasters were present and were available to analyse the games, conduct seminars and organise a simultaneous tournament. Here too, themore intimate atmosphere meant that players from the G group found thecourage to approach the GM for an analysis. Conclusion: A chess event of a special class for all those who also include the surroundings.

Hans-Jürgen Zeitler (GER) about the 2022 World Super Senior (65+) Chess Championship on Kos

As the former commercial director of the LGA Landesgewerbeanstalt Bayern, organiser of the LGA Premium Chess Cup from 2004 to 2013, I was eager to see how this chess tournament, my first abroad, would go. My expectations were not disappointed. I travelled from Munich. The flight and the taxi ride from the airport to the hotel went smoothly. When I was greeted, there was a welcome drink. The luggage was takento the room. The room was spacious and tastefully furnished. The evening meal was buffet style, and on one occasion you could eatà la carte in the beach restaurant as part of the all-inclusive offer at no extra cost. From my point of view, every guest found something to hisor her taste (salads, various starters, fish, meat and vegetarian dishesas main courses, a variety of desserts. During the evening walk, I wasable to explore the extensive hotel grounds. A beautiful complex with direct access to the sea, a nice beach restaurant and a beach bar nearthe beach. As the hotel had just opened that week, you hardly met anyother guests. There was the possibility to visit the sauna or to get a massage. I also took advantage of these offers, I felt very comfortable here. On 28 April, the first round took place in the spacious tournament room. On the second day, a double round was played. On the day without play, a tour of the island was offered, which was gladly acceptedby many tournament participants. The tour was conducted bilingually. The German guide was very competent and was able to impart a lot ofknowledge about the island and its historical development. The afternoon and evening chess events were very enjoyable. Game analyses with one of the three grandmasters present, lectures, blitz tournaments and a simultaneous tournament were offered. There was something for everyone. I was able to analyse eight of my games with a grandmaster. This was very interesting for me, as other ideas were conjured up on the board. The time until the last round flew by. Then the award ceremony took place in bright weather. The first three winners of each rating group each received a trophy. My conclusion: A nice tournament with very pleasant conditions. I will come again.

Andreas Borchert about the 2018 World Amateur Championship on Kos

"It was my first vacation in Greece and my first participation in an Amateur World Championship and I was looking forward to it for months. My expectations of a great time were really exceeded in all areas. The fantastic hotel complex with the best prerequisites for such an event left nothing to be desired; the good service of the staff, the excellent cuisine as well as the hotel's own sandy beach rounded things off and one could really enjoy the stay in a wonderful feel-good atmosphere.At this point I would like to praise the organizers, who had the preparation, management and execution of the tournament (including the side tournaments) up to the evaluation and the ceremonial awarding of prizes completely under control and ensured a perfect and smooth process, this was also confirmed by the other participants! Many thanks to Falko Bindrich and family Hirneise!"

Spring, sun, sea, wine and chess! An experience report by Dr. Jürgen Kraft (Germany) about the ACO World Amateur Chess Championship 2017

"Dear chess friends, that was a really successful vacation!Admittedly: the announcement: "Amateur Chess World Championship" is a bit bombastic. But: 314 players from all over the world had come, among them from Chile and Australia with the longest journey. My opponents came from India, the Netherlands, England, Poland, Norway, France, Switzerland, among others. A member of the Kos City Regional Chess Club was also there. Youngest player of the tournament 6 years, oldest whole 90! The tournament was played in the Helona Resort, a beach hotel complex directly on the south coast of the island. Rightly 5 stars. 9 rounds Swiss system, usual time of consideration, rating groups staggered according to ELO 200.7 days of play, one day free to explore the island in spring blossom. In the evening flashing tournaments - very recommended for imitation- teamblitz: A strong and a weaker player fight together. Enjoy! Who ofyou now thinks we have been playing holiday coffee house chess, hasgotten quite another idea: Since we had all the time in the world - apartfrom the time of reflection – were the fighting was fierce: acceptinga draw? Only with a Queen and a tower less ... A typical chess day:7.30 getting up, at 8.30 Anne and I want to have breakfast. Since Ihave to swim in the sea before. After breakfast, a short walk along thesea, at 10 am it starts. Excitement ... After the game, Anne and I hadarrangements for lunch at 13.30 - it was several times later. I had neverplayed so many final games.In the evening: There are chess gamesin the hotel bar. But with the English people, one can also talk aboutmusic: Are Deep Purple or the Dire Straits the better band? If you havelost, you can comfort yourself with a glass of red wine and the RollingStones: “You can not always get what you want”; If you win, you canlisten to Freddy Mercury at the pool bar... “We are the Champions!”The off day was very nice: Bus trips over the island are offered. Inaddition to tourism, Kos-Stadt has a beautiful ancient market square inthe middle of the city and a Kreuzritterburg. Two beautiful old mosquesbuilt peacefully next to orthodox churches.A visit to the ancient hippocrates sanctuary is a much just like thejourney to the mountain villages over narrow serpentines: flowers,forest and a wonderful view of the deep blue Aegean.Back to Chess: 5,5 out of 9, Rank 19 of 88 in my rating group. Despitemany mistakes I am satisfied. The most beautiful part was a black victoryin the English four-knight game. Thanks to Bernd’s English tutoringcourse, the opening was clearly in my favor, and I had an opportunityfor polychrome for the first time in my chess career, despite a mistakein the middle game: two black ladies were too much for my opponent.Thanks to the good hotelesses (Oh these calamares with garlic and capernmayonnaise!)My belly unfortunately icreased more than my ELO. NowI have to switch to lettuce! My wife has now enjoyed the beach life andhas become really tanned - perhaps the only disadvantage of the air-conditionedplayroom.We will be back next year! Highly recommended!

The Wimbledon of Chess. An experience report by Uwe Ritter (Germany) about the ACO World Amateur Chess Championship 2018 on Kos.

It is May and it already has a good tradition,embedded between two holidays and twoweekends the chess players meet for themost beautiful amateur event of the year.Like every year when the ACO calls, onetravels from all over the world to the beautiful Mediterranean island KOS to meet at the 5-star Hotel Helona Resort. 307 participantsfrom 30 countries followed the call of the organizers and travelled with their wivesand accompanying persons, in some cases the children were there as well. As every year, the official reception with a glass of sparkling wine or wine on theeve of the tournament was very popular, as one always meets many good old friends again. Even if the last participants did not arrive until after midnight dueto flight delays, all chess players sat on the board punctually the next morning at 10.00 a.m. 9 rounds were played, in 7 rating groups, A to G. The rating groups wereformed starting with the group A Elo 2201 - 2400, downwards.The time control was 90 minutes for 40 moves and 15 minutes for the rest. Thereis also a bonus of 30 seconds per move. There were no disputes due to the alwaysvery fair interaction between the players.Similar to the legendary tennis event, many things here are already good old tradition. In addition to a full board wellness program, there is free catering during thegame in a beautiful playing hall equipped with carpets. Present grandmasters, with whom one can analyze one‘s own game, a free day, which is always used for an island excursion in the group or on one‘s own initiativeand ends with a Greek evening in the hotel. Simultaneous exhibition events of master players present and various Blitz eventswere also an integral part of the supporting program this time. All this always takesplace in a very familiar atmosphere. Even before the tournament started, world chess star Alexei Shirov was a guestand prepared 8 chess players from all rating groups for this tournament for 3 days. Furthermore he was a star to touch, who was not afraid to play a blitz match against other amateurs. The also present grandmasters Spyridon Skembris and Zigurds Lanka were always sought-after analysis partners, some amateurs could behelped with tips and tricks. Both grandmasters also gave chess lectures in Germanand English, an offer which enjoyed great popularity.In the 8th round at the best lunchtime, many chess players were already at the table, the remaining participants in the tournament hall temporarily did not believe their eyes and some even suspected a „Hungarian mirage“ when surprisingly thebest female chess player of all times appeared in the playing hall. Judit Polgar, now 41 years old and long since retired from active tournament chess,visited her friend Maria in the tournament hall to keep her fingers crossed for herpersonally. Maria had only scored a modest three points last year, now she dominatedher group for 8 rounds, was equal on points with Simon Faber from Germanybefore the final round and in the end, due to an unfortunate defeat, was onlysecond behind Simon Faber, who won the F-group with 7.5 points. I can‘t prove it,but let‘s assume that Judit Polgar plays a not inconsiderable part in this positive development. The highlight of the prize-giving ceremony with guest of honour Judit Polgar, was,as last year, the mini free concert of the Chilean artist Maria Jose Yurar Rescaglio, who is well known as an artist in South America, thus far beyond her own nationalborders, and performs under the artist name Juga de Prima. Even before the startof the 9th round, the artist gave all participants a little surprise. We heard and saw amusic video with the title „Oh my dear Capablanca“ which she had recorded.

The concluding remarks were made by participants who were there for thefirst time.

„The participants are all very relaxed. Nothing is missing. A beautifulHoliday tournament in an ambience of a World Championship, plus a greatprize performance ratio“.
(Peter Trzaska, Group B)

„A perfect organization“
(Marco Siebarth, Group C)„

All very well if only the defeats weren‘t.“
(Barbara Kroll, Group E)