Two Slovenian chess champions took a break from the Gibraltar Chess Tournament when they visited the offices of Gibtelecom, the main sponsor of the event. The visit was the idea of the Chess organisers, whose interest was sparked by the fact that Gibtelecom is now half-owned by the major Slovenian telecoms company, Telekom Slovenije.
The two players were at both ends of the age spectrum. Anna Muzychuk is already an international chess star at the age of 17 and has been playing since she was three years old, representing Slovenia at the remarkable young age of 15. The more mature Alexander Beliavsky, is a Slovenian grandmaster whose games are frequently used as examples in books on chess. Alexander was originally born in the Ukraine and has been a former Soviet champion and participated in many famous Linares tournaments.
Anna attends something like ten tournaments around the world each year, yet still finds time to study at university and pass her exams.
The players were accompanied by Manuel Weeks, a former captain of the Australian men’s chess team and also the official press officer for this tournament which is now one of the main open events in the international chess calendar.
The meeting, at Gibtelecom’s Europort offices, was friendly, informal and wide-ranging.
With the help of Francis Lopez (Business Director), Adrian Ochello (Sales & Marketing Manager) and Widette Gomez (Corporate Affairs), the Company’s CEO Tim Bristow, gave the players an illustrated presentation on Gibtelecom – including tracing its origins back to the Falmouth to Gibraltar and Malta Telegraph line in 1869 – and also on the wide-ranging activities of their own country’s predominant service provider, Telekom Slovenije.
The guests showed a lot of interest, especially in the internet services of both Gibraltar and Slovenia, as computers play a major role in professional players’ equipment. They have an enormous database of games played so that they can analyse the way a prospective opponent makes his or her moves, as well as to follow commentaries on matches. Gibtelecom is providing technical support for such internet services for this Gibraltar tournament, held as always at the Caleta Hotel.
It wasn’t all technical though. There was a lot of talk from both sides about Slovenia itself – Tim, Francis and Adrian had all visited Slovenia in the course of their duties, and Tim said the Company was encouraging as many of the management team as possible to get to know Telekom Slovenije, and their mobile subsidiary, Mobitel, for themselves.
The picture that emerged, from the Slovenians and the Gibraltarian side, was that Slovenia is not only a beautiful country but also one that is still comparatively safe and where English is widely spoken at various levels.
Tim and Francis agreed that Gibraltar and Slovenia have another thing in common – the love of good food. A feature of Slovenian gastronomy is the taking of slow meals – made up of a large number of small courses that are spread over four or five hours. They also produce their own wine, every last drop of which is consumed within Slovenia.
The picturesque charm, however, has not prevented Telekom Slovenije from making the country one of the most advanced in Europe in the field of telephony and internet services.
After the 45 minute meeting, Gibtelecom arranged for their guests to see something of the Rock and also the salvage works on the New Flame wreck off Europa Point.