21 September 2015

Natalya Komarova: I Like All Enthusiastic People

The governor of the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug ― Yugra answered Vladimir Barsky's questions after the World Junior Chess Championship.

“Natalya, Khanty-Mansiysk has already become a second home for many chess players. What role does chess play in Yugra's life?”

“We would really like chess to bring us together and influence our relationships. To inculcate in us, first and foremost in children, a respectful attitude to each other, to the profession and talent. These are values that help organize the society, unite it and choose the right path. This is why we make such an emphasis on chess: we believe that it is a very powerful and effective tool to develop these positive and proper human relationships.”

“What chess programs are being developed in your district particularly rapidly?”

“We focus on children's chess, beginning with the kindergarten: we have the respective programs and teaching methods, we have teachers and trainers. Chess is also taught in schools in different formats, both face-to-face and online. And children not only learn, but also participate in competitions. We are waiting for our own champions to grow up! Of course, this will be very nice, but this is not the most important thing for us. It is important for the region (since you are discussing this with me) that as many people as possible are involved in the game. I think chess is a family sports hobby. We hope that the number of Yugra chess families will match the total population of Yugra: today it's one million six hundred and one people!”

“There have been many chess tournaments of the highest level in Khanty-Mansiysk, from the Olympiad to the candidates' tournament. Only the world championship match is missing. Would you like to host it?”

“It's not us who make such a decision. We participate in the bidding campaigns for hosting various events, both Russian and international, and we are always happy when tender organizers choose Khanty-Mansiysk. It is important that the chess world knows Khanty-Mansiysk and, it seems to me, loves Yugra. Of course, the outcome of such tenders is influenced by the organizers' personal acquaintance with Yugra: they are well aware of Yugra people's attitude to chess. This is why we always have a good chance.

“But some events are held not in the district, but in other cities and countries, and this is natural: the world is big and the chess family is huge! There's a choice. Our task, however, is to work in such a way that the preference is given to Khanty-Mansiysk more often than to any other place.”

Natalya Komarova speaking at the closing ceremony of the World Junior Championship

Berik Balgabaev, 
FIDE President's Advisor:

“A very fruitful partnership has established between FIDE and the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug ― Yugra, and we have already determined what competitions will be held in Yugra until 2017. In 2016, world championships for boys and girls under 14, 16 and 18 will be held here. This is a huge event bringing together several hundred participants from around 100 countries. And in 2017, men's and women's world team championships will be held. Virtually the entire elite of the world chess, the best 10 national teams, will come here.

“As for the world championship match, it's a very costly event: about 5 million dollars will be needed to hold it (the prize fund and the organizational expenses). The next match will be held in 2016. Of course, if Yugra finds it possible to participate in the tender, we will only be happy to see it there.

“On the other hand, there are a lot of other interesting tournaments important for FIDE that are held regularly here, and we are really pleased with that, we come to Yugra with great pleasure each time. I would like to point out that almost all the participants of the World Junior Championship came to Yugra for the first time, and I think they will be happy to come here again and again. Competitions are always held at the highest level in the district, this is its "quality mark." Speaking at the closing ceremony, Natalya Komarova suggested that young players come to Yugra any time, and not necessarily for the competitions: they will always be welcome guests. I am sure that many of them will come here more than once!”

Mark Glukhovsky,
The Russian Chess Federation's CEO:

“The RCF holds many events here too. The Governor's Cup ― a stage of Russia's Cup for classical chess ― will take place here before the end of the year, as well as the finals of Russia's Cup for rapid and classical chess.

“I would like to say a few words about the World Junior Championship that has just finished. In fact, this is an underrated tournament. Children participate today in world championships under 10, 12, 14, 16 and 18, but the common perception is that the title of a chess prince or a chess princess goes only to those who won a championship under 20. If we use the musical comparison, there are many different competitions in the world, and there is the Tchaikovsky Competition, or the Queen Elizabeth Competition. A world championship under 20 is just like this elite competition. A few years later, hardly anyone will remember world champions under 16, while the world champion under 20 is a certain quality mark, which means that the chess player is able to have a professional's life. Competition is huge, and the person must answer the question by himself or herself: do I want to become a professional or not? The U-20 championship helps answer this question. I know many outstanding players who decided to become chess professionals precisely after a victory at a juniors' world championship. Let's wish the same for today's winners!”

Berik Balgabaev,
FIDE President's Advisor:

“On behalf of the entire chess community, I would like to congratulate once again Ms. Natalya Komarova on her re-election to the high post of the governor of the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug ― Yugra. We worried very much, because we have forged a very close and fruitful partnership with Yugra, and it matters to us who will head this region during the next five years.”

“Natalya, you have been heading Yugra for five years. What achievements in the sports sector are you particularly proud of?”

“You are happy and proud and you get tremendous positive emotions when you meet and communicate with athletes at very different competitions. For example, when you go to a hall where schoolchildren try to qualify for the Russian government's physical training standard "Ready for Labor and Defense", and someone is the first to reach the finishing line! Or when you meet masters that are famous all over the world, like Eugeni Redkine. Now he is the director of the Physical Culture and Sports Department in our district, he is an official, and of course, it makes a corresponding impact. But every time when it hits you that there is an Olympic champion around, you unconsciously stand up straight! (laughs)  And you prepare yourself to speak with this man in a proper way, because he is a hero, that says it all.”

“Did you begin to support any of the athletes, do you have a liking for anyone in particular?”

“I have a liking for all Yugra people who do sports. Actually, I like all people who are enthusiastic about something!”