23 January 2023

Andrey Filatov: CFR Team to Maintain Continuity of its Work

An in-depth interview by CFR President for the TASS agency.

Photo credit: Eteri Kublashvili
Photo credit: Eteri Kublashvili

The Russian News Agency TASS published an extensive interview with Andrey Filatov, President of the Chess Federation of Russia and Head coach of the Russian national men's chess team, which is devoted to such topics as the World Championship Match between Ian Nepomniachtchi and Ding Liren, change of the CFR Executive Director, Sergey Karjakin's intention to head the Moscow Oblast Chess Federation, as well as chess prospects for our country and the Federation's work in the years to come. 

About the World Championship Match

"Ian enjoys a palpable advantage in terms of fighting experience at the highest level for he has won the FIDE Candidates Tournament twice and has already played in the world championship match once. This is what distinguishes him significantly from his opponent, who has qualified only thanks to Magnus Carlsen's refusal to defend his title," said Filatov. – On the other hand, we know Caissa as a capricious and unpredictable chess goddess. Having not won a single qualification event for the match did not stop Vladimir Kramnik from defeating Garry Kasparov in the 2000 match.

I expect a duel between two equal opponents. The one to better handle his nerves will be the one to win because the match promises to be very tense and exciting. Both opponents are brilliant players with inherent trademark styles of their own. Their physical and psychological preparation will  step forward in this encounter."

From the beginning, Mexico was the favourite to host the Match, but the country never submitted an official bid. The International Chess Federation ended up granting this privilege to Astana. "I think it to be a good decision from all standpoints," highlighted Filatov. – Kazakhstan is geographically located between Russia and China, which enables chess fans in both states to follow this exceptional event with enough comfort. A Chinese player has got a chance to compete for the crown for the first time in chess history. I think of it as a landmark event for China. This is also fine for our chess fans, many of whom will be able to come to the capital city of Kazakhstan to cheer for Ian.

Organisationally, chess in Kazakhstan has made a huge step in recent years: it held the 2019 World Team Championship and the 2022 World Rapid Chess and Blitz Chess Championship with success. Having said that, the second bid for the match from Argentina was much inferior to that from Astana. I think that it was the combination of these two factors, geographical and organisational, that has shaped the final outcome. The FIDE Council majority voted for holding the match in Kazakhstan."

Change of the CFR Executive Director

The CFR Supervisory Board has accepted Executive Director Mark Glukhovsky's resignation and has approved Alexander Tkachev for this position. "The CFR team will maintain continuity in its work," added the Head of the CFR. – Alexander Tkachev is a well-known arbiter and organiser, who has many years to his credit as an executive board member. His main task is chess development in our country and holding tournaments to the domestic calendar. Mark Glukhovsky has not abandoned chess work entirely. He will be in charge of the international segment, which is becoming very important to us.

On the whole, our team is virtually unchanged. I want to highlight that the 15th Congress of Chess Players of Russia and the latest Federation's Supervisory Board have praised the executive directorate's work under Glukhovsky. I am personally grateful to our entire team for their great contribution to promoting and popularising chess in Russia."

About Sergey Karjakin's intention to head the Moscow Oblast Chess Federation

"I can only wish success to Sergey. If he manages to shift from talking about 'how to work' to its practical aspect, it will only make me happy," said Filatov. – To achieve some tangible result takes not only getting elected, but also forming a development program, setting priorities, organising a team, and coming up with fundraising... Such a large and diverse region as Moscow Oblast gives many opportunities for chess development. One can hold the championship of Moscow Oblast at a decent level, as well as children's tournaments, and form a team worthy of representing the region at the Russian team championship. Residing in Moscow Moscow, Rublevka, Sergey knows local chess players and their problems."

Prospects of chess development in Russia and CFR's future activities

Talking about chess development prospects in Russia, Filatov noted the growing number of chess players and the popularity of this sport in our country. "On the whole, I'm of an optimistic mindset. My optimism is figure-based: when we started our work, Russia had about 100 thousand rated players, i.e. those regularly participating in tournaments," says the CFR head. – At present, there are over 400 thousand chess players rated nationally. It says nothing about even more fans and amateurs not playing in tournaments or playing in amateur competitions. It means that the popularity of our sport is growing actively, that people want to play chess, take part in tournaments, and improve their skills. Of utmost importance is that they want their children to go in for chess.

All of this allows me and our team to look into the future with optimism. We understand that our work is on demand and yields results. Our plans are detailed in my election program. I believe that the Chess Federation of Russia's Congress voted not only for me but also for our program and for the team of people to implement it.

Let me briefly remind you of the main points: domestically this is to organise more tournaments and maintain a high level of training for the leading Russian chess players. First of all, this is about young chess players. Internationally, this is about the transition into the Asian Chess Federation and the gradual lift of sanctions from the Russian teams. The third important vector is the further digitalisation of services for Russian chess players. This vector of activities creates new opportunities for both experienced players and those only taking first steps in chess."