Last updated: 2008-07-31 14:13 EET

The inaugural edition of the international women chess tournament “In Memoriam Maria Albulet” has recently drawn to a close in Braila ( Eastern Romania, on the bank of the Danube). Grand International master Corina Pieptan won the tournament. Pieptan ranked as favorite and has the greatest number of titles from Romania. Corina Pieptan is the defending international champion, having won the title 7 times before; Corina is also a multiple laureate of the junior individual and world European championships.

The International chess tournament “In memoriam Maria Albulet” brought together 10 chess players from 10 countries: Bulgaria, Greece, The Republic of Moldova and Romania. For Romanian women chess players, but also for the staff of the Romanian Chess Federation, the competition was a test ahead of the November teams’ chess Olympics, to be held in the German city of Dresden. The late Maria Albulet was born in Braila, on the banks of river Danube.

In 1957, jointly with Margareta Teodorescu, Maria Albulet won silver, actually the first Olympic medal in the history of Romanian Chess. Although teams’ Olympics have started as early as 1924, the 1957 edition brought a separate women’s competition for the first time ever. Soviet women chess players ranks as favorite to the title, yet they were seriously challenged by two unknown chess players, who were part of the Romanian team. At the end of the Olympics the Romanians came on par with the team of the Soviet Union; however, in the wake of play-off chess criteria, the Romanians reaped only silver. A few years later, the Romanian women chess team and the team of the Soviet Union again had a similar number of points. Again play-off criteria favored the Romanians, but criteria were changed overnight so that gold could go to the USSR.

Because she won the first Olympic medal in the history of Romanian chess, Maria Albulet was rewarded with the title of Emeritus Master. Albulet won the national senior champion three times, in 1951, 1955 and 1956. A pediatrician by training, Maria Albulet acted for Petrolul Ploiesti for the most part of her career.

Among the participants in the inaugural edition of the international chess tournament ”Maria Albulet” held in Braila Maria Albulet’s daughter, grand master Marina Makropoulou. We recall Makropoulou left Romania towards the end of the communist regime as she married to a chess player from Greece, a country she has since been representing.

Also worth mentioning is the fact that Marina Makropoulou or Pogorevici as she was known at that time, had also competed for Romania, as in 1982 she walked away with silver at the Chess Olympics held in Lucerne.
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