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Who is „Chinese Taipei“?

Dresden, 14/11/2008
Before the start of round two I noticed a young boy sitting on board three of the team with the country initials „TPE“. Apparently the woman handing him a cup of water belonged to the team and I asked Mei-Fang Chen or “Dina” for an interview.

The author of this article is working as a volunteer in the press centre of this year’s chess olympiad. As an amateur chessplayer of rating around 2250 he is taking the chance to meet with the chess world, gather some information from different teams, organize the daily press conference and write it down for publishing on the official website and the olympiad newsletter.

Before the start of round two I noticed a young boy sitting on board three of the team with the country initials „TPE“. Apparently the woman handing him a cup of water belonged to the team and I asked Mei-Fang Chen or “Dina” for an interview. Before I even started my real questions Dina clarified that “Chinese Taipei” is “Taiwan” in the political world except sports. And the chess federation of Chinese Taipei only is a member of FIDE since 2004 when the Chinese delegation negotiated with the delegate from (political) Taiwan that China will agree to the application if they choose the name “Chinese Taipei” (CT). This lead to the first participation of a team from CT in Torino two years ago.
PD: Dina, how popular ist classical chess in CT?
DC:Until 2005 people in CT tended to think that classical chess is soemething belonging to the West and not really of much interest. All chess material is normally published in Arabic or cyrillic letters and therefore there is a natural distance towards the game. Classical chess still has a long way to go to become really popular in CT.
PD: Do you have chess clubs?
DC: We meet once a week on Sunday afternoon in Taipei. There are about 20-30 players there.
PD: What about the team lineup? You have a very young player with you?
DC:Yes, Meng-Wei Ho is 9 to 10 years old (remark: according to the official records he is only 7 and the youngest player of this year’s olympiad) but he particpated in the recent youth world championship in Vietnam. He is a purely local player who we are very proud of. The others have all studied abroad and learned chess there. Now they relocated to CT. Our second board has a rating of 1920, the fourth board is around that level too and the first board is below 1800. Other teams may be here for winning, but we are definitely here to gain experience!
PD: Who is your sponsor?
DC: There is a sport affair council and our state president helped us to find a sponsor this time. Of course we also thank the city of Dresden who allow us to stay for free in our nice hotel!
PD: Dina, thank you very much for your time and we wish you good luck for your second olympiad participation!

Peter Dengler


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