Turkey Chess Federation Chairman Gülkız Tülay said Turkish competitors won three titles in the European Schools Chess Championship over the last four years. Tülay told Anadolu Agency (AA): "We are good so far this year. Our expectations are high. Turkey has been making a mark in the chess world."
Tülay said the number of licensed players increased from 30,000 to 770,153 since 2005, with support from İş Bankası. "With the support of İş Bank, a lot of chess classes opened around Turkey. There are more than 18,000 chess classes [in the country] today. We are aiming to increase the number of licensed players to one million."
"The number of tournaments also increased with the increase in the number of players. There are now 5,360 tournaments, while there were only 400 in 2005. Turkish players are not just successful in Turkey, they are also successful at international competitions. They compete at the European Schools Chess Championship, World Schools Chess Championship and other prominent tournaments."
Tülay said that Turkish players won 52 medals at international competitions last year and they are aiming to get 50 medals this year. About the European Schools Chess Championship, which is being held in Budva in Karadağ, Tülay said that 341 players from 23 countries have been competing in the tournament, which ends today. Children aged seven to 17 are competing in the tournament. Nazlı Demir, 7, a student from Mardin TOKİ Primary School, said she began to play chess when President Tayyip Erdoğan came to Mardin and presented her with a chess set two years ago. Demir said: "After that, my uncle taught me to play chess. I have competed in 12 tournaments, and if I get a medal I will take it to the president like I promised him."