MACLEAY ISLAND’S OLEG KORENEVSKI IS EQUAL QUEENSLAND’S SENIOR CHESS CHAMPION The sign outside Oleg Korenevski’s Macleay Island home goes a long way to explain the favourite activity of its occupant. Next to the post box is the enscription: ‘Chess Republic’. It is the island home of Oleg and his partner Tricia Walton. Originally hailing from Russia and with a surname that starts with the letter ‘K’ it is no surprise that Oleg Korenevski is not only a chess champion, but also a successful chess coach as well. He follows in the trail of some very famous Russian chess champions such as Garry Kasparov, Anatoly Karpov and Vladimir Kramnik. Korenevski sits comfortably alongside those great names, although Oleg would never place himself in their illustrious category. However, he is good enough to have recently tied for first place in the recent 2021 Queensland Senior Chess Championship, coming from behind in a remarkable comeback to force a draw with top seed George Lester. To say Oleg has had an ‘interesting’ upbringing and life, is a massive understatement. His story is so long and complex, somewhat dangerous and interesting, The Friendly Bay Islander is going to tell it in two parts. The first part is in this December edition about his chess career, and the second and amazing instalment will be in our January edition about his family’s amazing links to Australia and the incredible journey it took to get here back in the mid 1990’s. The chess titles this year were remarkable because four players finished ‘equal first’ on 4.5/6 which saw all four share first, second and third prize equally. They were Oleg, Tony Dowden, John Myers and Allan Fossey. Given the competition was for players 50 years and over, Oleg at 75, was a stand-out. He and partner Tricia Walton have lived on Macleay Island for the past four years. After a career in computing in Russia as a Master of Computing, then in Australia working in that field for the Queensland Government, several years ago he decided to change direction and became a professional chess coach. Growing up in Russia he was introduced to chess at an early age; in fact it could be regarded as Russia’s national sport! Oleg is extremely proud of his students and his success as a coach, with his students already claiming more than 20 Gold Medals as well as silver and bronze in major chess competitions and championships. In fact, one room in his Macleay Island home is dedicated to chess with crammed bookshelves, and rows of plaques recording the successes of himself and his students. Pride of place in the centre of the room is a beautiful chess set and table. The table was built by Oleg when he first moved to Australia and Queensland in 1996. Oleg is also a keen athlete and can be seen around Macleay Island on most days running a massive amount of kilometres. He still competes in half marathons on a regular basis. If you ever see him jogging along, don’t forget to yell out ‘zdravstvujtye’ (zdra-stvooy-tee) which is Russian for ‘hello’. If that’s too hard, just yell out ‘G’day’ - it’s Aussie universal!!
• Oleg at this chess table and board on Macleay Island