20 October 2016

Novosibirsk Knows to Surprise

The Russian Superfinal opening ceremony in the review of Eteri Kublashvili.

The Russian Championship Superfinals continue their Siberian parade: The previous annual tournament’s venue in Chita was taken over by Novosibirsk. Although the third most populous city of Russia has met the players with soft snow, I do hope that the weather will clear up soon and enable me to take a walk along the capital of the Western Siberia to take some pictures. As is well known, the tournament is organized as part of the “Chess in Museums” project, carried out by joint efforts of the Russian Chess Federation and the Elena and Gennady Timchenko Charitable Foundation.

This year is the first time when our partners and we have selected the Superfinal venue based on the results of an open all-Russian screening procedure, - says the Timchenko Fund CEO Maria Morozova. - I would like to note that two out of three qualified applications have been received from Siberia. Eventually, the joint proposal put forward by the Novosibirsk Chess Federation and the Novosibirsk State Museum of Local History ended up victorious.

 According to the omniscient Wikipedia, the museum was founded in 1920, when the young city was bearing the name of Novonikolayevsk. Since 1987 the historical section of the museum has been accommodated in the former city trade complex - a two-story red-and-white building, contributing to the beauty of the main transport artery of the city - the Krasny Prospekt. Chess players will be performing among concert costumes of opera and pop stars borrowed from Alexander Vasiliev’s collection (exhibition “Sounds of Fashion”), as well as artifacts brought from the Moscow Museum of Chess.

 Not far from the museum is a comfortable and modern hotel “Domina”, where the tournament participants are staying. It takes a 15-minute walk from the hotel to the venue, but everyone willing is able to use a shuttle bus offered by the organizers. With this logistics in mind, it is difficult to be late for the game. Despite all this the zero tolerance rule is not effective on the tournament. If a participant is late for the game by no more than 15 minutes, he “just” gets off with a 10 000-ruble fine.

 A press-conference that preceded the opening ceremony took place at the Novosibirsk State Museum of Local History and attracted many journalists. It was attended by Deputy Governor of the Novosibirsk Region Yuri Petukhov, Chairman of the Department of Culture, Sport, and Youth Policies of Novosibirsk Anna Tereshkova, General Director of the Timchenko Foundation Maria Morozova, RCF Executive Director Mark Glukhovsky, President of RATM Holding and member of RCF Board of Trustees Eduard Taran, the reigning Russian champion Evgeny Tomashevsky and a many-time national champion Valentina Gunina.

 Mark Glukhovsky narrated about the history of the Russian Chess Championships, reminded participants of the lineup and the tournament rules and thanked all partners for their cooperation and assistance in organizing the event.

 Maria Morozova, “Together with RCF we want to revive a wide interest in chess, and this vivid tournament environment will surely help us take a step in this direction. As you can also see, the project “Chess in museums” is gradually moving deeper into the country, acquainting our society with remarkably interesting regional museums. It is very important for us and serves as a reminder of enormous cultural value of the Russian regions. The opening has shown a high level of organizational preparation, let us see how the events unfold.“

 Also Maria Morozova shared about the project “Chess in Schools”, which has recently come to embrace the Novosibirsk region. From now on, as many as 50 regional schools begin teaching chess according to the program specifically designed by RCF.
First Deputy Governor of the Novosibirsk region Yuri Petukhov thanked the organizers and partners on behalf of the Region Governor Vladimir Gorodetsky, “We pay special attention to chess, although Novosibirsk is traditionally associated with hockey.” First Deputy Governor added about the intended opening of the Chess Academy.

 President of RATM Holding Eduard Taran highlighted the following in his speech, “The modern world is a world of fierce competition, which gives a competitive edge to those with better analytical and calculating skills. This is what chess is about and what makes a difference for the rising generation. Superfinal is part of a huge work that we have been carrying on for a number of years now. I hope that this event will serve as a stimulus to the growth of interest in chess among our kids and juniors.“ Eduard Taran also shared about the work carried out by the regional chess federation and its board of trustees and recapped the success of the “Siberia” team in the Russian and European club championships.

 Chairman of the Department of Culture, Sport, and Youth Policies of Novosibirsk Anna Tereshkova, “I would like to congratulate all of us on the chess tournament being held in Novosibirsk immediately after such venues as the Louvre Museum and Tretyakov Gallery. I want to express big thanks to all our partners and organizers. We should not separate culture from sports; therefore, in order for Novosibirsk to continue as a cultural center not only of the Siberia, but of the entire country as well, it is very important that we go on carrying our projects such as the “Chess in museums” and” Chess in Schools.”

 Valentina Gunina admitted that she liked the idea of playing in museums. “Other than your chess board, there is an opportunity to rest your eyes on something else. I hope that this museum will bring me good luck,“ said a many-time Russian and European champion.

 Evgeny Tomashevsky, “I really enjoy being in the rank of the Russian champion and not viewed upon as a ”dark horse“. I do enjoy playing in Russia in general and to the east of my hometown Saratov in particular. The Siberian and Far East tournaments favor me, and I hope that the beautiful city of Novosibirsk will keep up this tradition of mine. With a real feast of chess about to begin, I do hope that we will live up to your expectations.“

The opening ceremony was carried out in the State Concert Hall named after A. Kats.  It seemed as though the whole Novosibirsk joined together to witness a big show: a huge hall and its balcony were filled to capacity.

The official part included speeches of Representative of the Russian Presidential Envoy in the Siberian Federal District Sergey Menyailo, Novosibirsk Region Governor Vladimir Gorodetsky, Mayor of Novosibirsk Anatoly Lokot’,  General Director of the Timchenko Foundation Maria Morozova, RCF Executive Director Mark Glukhovsky, and President of RATM Holding and member of the RCF Board of Trustees Eduard Taran. The latter read out a greeting letter from Dmitry Peskov, Chairman of the RCF Board of Trustees and Press-Secretary of Vladimir Putin. 

 FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov has also sent players and organizers of the championship his greeting address. 

 The opening happened to be a really outstanding ceremony. On the opening day of the Superfinal the concert hall named after Kats saw and heard all kinds of performances existing under the sun: Anna Ardova in the role of Carroll’s queens, performances by the Chamber and other city theaters, singing of the most significant songs of Andrew Lloyd Weber by the vocal ensemble “Markellovs’ voices”, classical arias by soloists of the Novosibirsk state academic opera and ballet Karen Movsesian and Daria Shuvalova, as well as tricks performed by the illusionist Ilya Rogulin. Besides, a film about chess in the Novosibirsk region was shown during the opening ceremony.

 The drawing of lots procedure that involved a robot picking out the numbers became the highlight of the program: the chief arbiter of the competition, international arbiter Maxim Ivakhin would read a participant’s name out loud, upon which a charming robot would display on the screen a number produced by a random number generator. Even though the creation of human hands was assisted in the drawing of lots by a young scientist, the robot still malfunctioned at one moment, but then regained control of the situation in a brilliant manner.

 We already know how the fate, or rather, a random number generator decreed about the tournament table numbers, so let us  simply recall that men’s and women’s tournament winners will be gifted with new all-wheel drive crossovers Renault Kaptur.

 Besides, chess sets with pieces of gold and diamonds are there in store for the Champions as a gift from the company Best Brilliants.

 Keep track of events on our website and listen to our commentators. We promise it will not be a dull experience!  

 Pictures by Alexei Zieler and Eteri Kublashvili