World Chess Champion From Mariupol
Ihor Yarmonov was recently crowned champion of this year’s IPCA World Chess Championship for people with physical disabilities in Slovakia. He is known among friends and colleagues as a chess composer — and it's his endgame strategies and tactics that make him the local king
Ihor Yarmonov was recently crowned champion of this year’s IPCA World Chess Championship for people with physical disabilities in Slovakia. Among friends and colleagues, he’s known as a chess composer, and his endgame tactics, performed during the tournament, made him the local king.
“It was so competitive that, prior to the last round, three people had scored the same number of points. The victory was only decided based on secondary achievements, and we received the gold medal for our city — and for our Ukraine,” chess club instructor Volodymyr Ponomarchuk said.
“This is Ihor’s medal on the right. It’s the 5th gold which he really wanted to win and bring back to Mariupol,” wife of the chess champion Halyna Huryna said.
Ihor has cerebral palsy. His wife Halyna accompanies him to every championship. For her support, she also received a medal.
“In the eighth round against the Russian, playing black Ihor defeated him. We realized then that we had a chance to win gold. And the Russian was so upset, that he said – ‘this is my last tournament and I will never ever play chess again’,” Huryna said.
Ihor dedicated the victory to his parents. Seeing Ihor unable to play football with his peers or ride a bicycle, his father gave him a chessboard.
“Now, we are playing. It’s [opening] called the Spanish Game. It’s Ihor’s favorite [opening]. When the game begins, nothing can distract Ihor.”
Some chess players compare themselves to sappers — one wrong move and you’re finished.
“To improve your results in chess, you must have passion. Without this excitement, without determination – nothing will happen,” chess player Leonid Boiko said.
Ihor now plans to take a vacation along the Azov Sea coast. His friends say they are preparing a surprise for him.
“I think he deserves the title of honorary citizen of Mariupol. We have already submitted the documents,” director of Mariupol chess club Mykola Bastryha said.
In August, Ihor Yarmonov plans to finish a book about Ukrainian chess players with physical disabilities and their achievements on the international stage — to tell the stories of other winners like himself.