20 April 2024

Asian Cities Chess Team Championship Opened in Khanty-Mansiysk

The first round will be played on 21 April.

On April 20, the opening ceremony of the Asian Cities Chess Team Championship took place in the Big Concert Hall of the Ugra-Classic concert and theatre center.

As is tradition, the organisers of the competition in Khanty-Mansiysk paid special attention to the creative part of the ceremony. The concert performance began with an opening prologue: the hall was plunged into darkness, and only the silhouettes of the dancers were visible on the stage.

Then the creative team “Cardigan” presented the “Endemic” collection, merging the motifs of the indigenous costumes of the Khanty and Mansi peoples with modern-day fashion trends.

Getting acquainted with Ugra was completed with an emotional performance by the dance group “Light It” with a poetic title “Soul of Taiga”.

After the colourful parade of the teams with the flags of the participating countries (Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Oman, Palestine, Russia, Sri Lanka, and Yemen), a welcoming speech from Minister of Sports of the Russian Federation Oleg Matytsin was read.

Then, Governor of the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug – Ugra Natalia Komarova and Executive Director of the Chess Federation of Russia Alexander Tkachev were invited to the stage for welcome remarks.

Governor of the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug – Ugra Natalia Komarova: “In Ugra, chess is more than a sport. We play chess in kindergartens and schools, in the most remote corners of our region. Khanty-Mansiysk is a world chess center. Since 2005, we have hosted 18 international tournaments of various levels, including the World Chess Olympiad in 2010. Chess unites people from different countries, and in this regard, I assure the Asian Chess Federation and the Chess Federation of Russia that Ugra is ready to host a wide variety of tournaments. For the young athletes who will play in this tournament, it will be a huge experience.”

Executive Director of the Chess Federation of Russia Alexander Tkachev: “I congratulate everyone on the start of this historic event - the first Asian Cities Chess Team Championship in Russia. In addition, this is the first official competition held in our country, which is included in the FIDE calendar. I express my sincere gratitude to the leadership of the Asian Chess Federation for making this decision and, of course, to the leadership of Ugra and in particular governor Natalia Komarova for agreeing to host this competition. Actually, we had no doubts as to who was to be put in charge of the tournament. I am confident that the event will be held at the highest level.”

President of the Asian Chess Federation Sheikh Sultan Bin Khalifa Al Nehyan sent a video message to the participants and organisers of the Tournament.

After the greetings from the officials, the concert program continued. The “Academy of Dance” and “Light It” groups presented performances focusing on chess.

Then the Chief Arbiter of the Tournament IA Mehrdad Pahlevanzadeh, was invited to the stage to conduct the drawing of lots. He called the captains of the teams of Surgut (top rating) and Tehran (the current champion): the Iranian representative was holding pieces in his hands, and the Russian had to point to one of them. Ilia Iljiushenok drew the white pawn, which allowed him to further draw the color from two other boxed. At that point, the player from Ugra drew a black piece, which means that in the first round the Surgut team will play black on the first board.

The opening ceremony ended with a vocal and choreographic performance telling that chess is an art, the art of choice.

It should be noted that before and after the ceremony, an interactive studio of the TV company OTRK "Ugra" operated in the CTC "Ugra-Classic", making short interviews with officials and participants of the Tournament.

The first games of the Asian Cities Chess Team Championship will be played tomorrow, April 21, at the Ugra Chess Academy. The round starts at 15:00 local time (13:00 Moscow time).

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Photos: UgraMegaSport