Ikaria derives its name from Ikaros, the son of Deadalus, who according to Greek mythology, was the first man to fly but he flew too high and too close to the sun so that his lax wings melted and he was drown into the sea that, since then, was named after him.
But what is this that makes these people return to Ikaria every summer? Is it the strong composition of the tournament and the high prizes or the luxurious hotels, the bars and the trendy beaches that one finds in tourist islands like Mykonos, Paros or Santorini?
No, definitely not. There is, of course, a number of GMs and IMs playing in the tournament every year but the majority of the players are non-professionals who come to Ikaria with their friends and family to combine their vacations with a chess tournament. In this respect Ikaria is an ideal place for chess players in summer.
Agios Kirykos, the capital of the island, where the tournament is held, is a small town, so every morning and every evening all chess players meet at the cafes down at the port. You can chat, enjoy a cup of coffee, or just relax viewing the Ikarian Sea.
The atmosphere is very relaxing and no one is in a hurry. This is a very distinct characteristic of Ikaria. There is no hurry for anything! This at first might appear strange or even annoying for the unfamiliar visitor but it only takes a couple of days to get accustomed to the local rhythm of life and start enjoying it! In fact this is exactly what people appreciate at Ikaria and return to it. In some cases you can even leave a café or a restaurant without paying. The waiter is in no hurry. You will return the next day and pay your debts!
Read the full article by Dimitris Skyrianoglou