A week ago, Yuliia Osmak completed her first training session at C’Chartres Échecs. “I found a friendly, benevolent atmosphere there,” said the 24-year-old young Ukrainian, who will play for the club next season. A damn fine recruit.
As an international women’s champion, she has won national, European and international titles and championships. “Hundred a year,” says modestly the man who ranks third in the top 10 best Ukrainian players and thirty-third in the world rankings.
“I play in the women’s national team of Ukraine. But I don’t know if we can play at the Chess Olympiad in July because of the aftermath of the war.”
Julia Osmak (Refugee in Chartres)
She is also concerned that she has no more news from some members of the group, apart from the coach and a teammate who were evacuated from Kharkiv.
The Baby of Hope: Arthur, first Ukrainian newborn in Eure-et-Loir
A call from his parents…
At the end of February, the professional player was in Norway for a singles tournament when her parents called her to tell her they were invading their country. These residents of Kyiv, then threatened by Russian attack, dictated to their elder not to return to the country. Shock ! So it’s been impossible to fall asleep or swallow anything for several days.
Accompanied by Elena, 15
First, she finds refuge with a Ukrainian coach living in Germany, where Elena, her 15-year-old sister, joins her. A great relief for Yuliia, a biology and applied physics graduate. Friends in the chess community then encouraged him to get in touch with the president of C’Chartres Échecs, François Gilles, who welcomed him with open arms. “His wife Chantal helped us and she sent my sister to Sainte-Marie College,” says the grateful elder, who arrived on March 22nd.
Olena of Ukraine, who lives in Bonneval, left to pick up five family members
Initiated by his grandfather, 90 years old, in Kyiv
Housed in a council flat in the city center, the two girls who are learning French try to reclaim their livelihood. The teenager, who already has a black belt, joined the local karate club while Yuliia trains intensively through specialized online programs. A chance to think of that 90-year-old maternal grandfather who got her into chess.
Living in France now
The Kyiv-based sculptor faithfully follows his granddaughter’s YouTube channel, where she shares teaching and playing advice. One of these, which has become a hallmark of his own style, was passed on to him by this grandfather, whom she lusts after like the rest of her family . “My mother learned French, she will come to us as soon as the situation improves,” said the Ukrainian hastily. Although she dreams of seeing her homeland at peace and Kyiv as she knew it, the Chartres-enchanted professional player has chosen to stay in France and pursue her burgeoning career there.