21 December 2016

Nutcracker Grants a Ticket to Zurich

Review of the traditional Generation Tournament opening ceremony.

“Put to paper when drunk, edit when sober,” this Hemingway’s postulate is unequalled when applied to the New Year’s festive cocktail parties and other pleasant moments. The Nutcracker generation tournament has for several years been a real feast for chess fans, marking the end of the sport’s season calendar and start of the winter holidays.

 on Friday evening of December 16 the opening ceremony took place at the Central House of Chess, which hosts the tournament. Relaxed, elevated atmosphere, the nicest New Year tree, the Nutcracker figures prepared for the drawing of lots, tangerines and champagne, guests in festive dresses, classical music - something to make your head spinning! Something to remind you about the approaching New Year and a host of other no less beloved holidays being just around the corner.

The honored guests included the oldest world’s grandmaster  Yuri Lvovich Averbach, FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, his assistant and director of the FIDE office in Russia Berik Balgabaev, one of the tournament organizers and philanthropist Oleg Skvortsov with his wife Natalia, CEO of Renault Russia Andrey Pankov, Franco -Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry CEO Pavel Shinsky, grandmasters Ian Nepomniachtchi, Yuri Dokhoian, Sergei Yanovsky, Alexander Volzhin, Sergey Smagin, Sergei Shipov, Evgeny Miroshnichenko, Elmira Mirzoeva, the merited coach of the USSR Anatoly Bykhovsky, international arbiter Eduard Dubov, editor of the “64” chess magazine Igor Burstein, head of the Moscow Chess Federation Alexander Kostyev, Director of the Museum of Chess Tatiana Kolesnikovich, Museum manager and candidate of historical sciences Dmitry Oleinikov, chess TV legends Sergey and Marina Makarichevs, as well as many other well-known individuals.

The Vice-world champion Sergey Karjakin and the 12th world champion Anatoly Karpov missed each other by a short period of time. The former arrived at the very beginning to give several interviews and leave for the basketball match  “CSKA” - “Barcelona” together with his manager Kirill Zangalis, whereas the latter arrived towards the end of the ceremony.

Guests of the ceremony devoted a minute of silence to the memory of those who passed away in 2016: Ivan Bukavshin, Viktor Korchnoi, Mark Dvoretsky, Urii Eliseev, Mark Taimanov, Samuel  Zhukhovitsky, Evgeny Gik ... 

The speeches were given by RCF Executive Director Mark Glukhovsky and FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. Mark Glukhovsky shared about the old and new of this wonderful tournament, reminded its regulations and thanked the Foundation “Ladya”, Oleg Skvortsov and Evgeny Najer for their support of this special chess event.

Besides the traditional contest between “Kings” and “Princes”, this year’s match will also include the teams of “Queens” and “Princesses".

“Despite the lightweight and fabulous aspect of the tournament environment, the prizes are solid, as usual,” - summed up the RCF Executive Director.  

Indeed, the player to demonstrate the absolute best among “Kings” and “Princes” will receive a ticket to the Kortchnoi Zurich Chess Challenge Supertournament (Zurich, April 12-17, 2017). The most beautiful game will be prized with two tickets to the “Nutcracker” ballet.

The best female player among “Queens” and “Princesses” will be awarded with a special organizers’ prize.

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, “It is a pleasure that the generation tournament is held in this beautiful building, the Central House of Chess, which has started to shine with new colors following the recent major overhauls. I would like to thank our “Kings” for the effort of taking time to come and challenge  the young talents. Few chess federations can take the credit for holding such a representative tournament with one of the teams starring someone as famous as Boris Gelfand.“ FIDE President listed a number of major events of 2016, which are crowned by “Nutcracker”, wished everyone a good performance and a happy New Year, and thanked the sponsors and organizers on his behalf as well.

The creative content of the ceremony was provided by Daniil Svidler, who performed Partita number 2 in C Minor by Bach, and by Mathew Glukhovsky, who played Prokofiev and Beethoven, the latter’s birthday being exactly December 16. Each new ceremony sees the maestros delivering ever more confident performances, while their musical compositions adding up in complexity.

The drawing of lots procedure was deftly carried out by the chief arbiter Alexander Tkachev, who casually recalled that one of the “Princesses” - Alexandra Dimitrova - had recently won her age group of the world student championship in a brilliant style.

During the drawing of lots each player (all but Alexei Shirov had not yet arrived from the European Rapid Championship in Tallinn, and Ekaterina Kovalevskaya, represented by her charming son) went to the New Year tree to take the nutcracker figures which had numbers written on them. Drawing of lots results:

“Kings”: 1. Alexander Morozevich, 2. Boris Gelfand, 3. Aleksey Dreev, 4. Alexei Shirov,

“Princes”: 1. Vladimir Fedoseev, 2. Vladislav Artemiev, 3. Grigoriy Oparin, 4. Daniil Dubov,

“Queens”: 1. Galina Strutinskaya, 2. Alisa Galliamova, 3. Ekaterina Kovalevskaya, 4. Elena Zaiatz,

“Princesses”: 1. Elizaveta Solozhenkina, 2. Polina Shuvalova, 3. Aleksandra Maltsevskaya, 4. Aleksandra Dimitrova.

Round one pairings:

“Kings” - “Princes”

A. Morozevich - V. Fedoseev, B. Gelfand - V. Artemiev, G. Oparin  - A. Dreev, D. Dubov - A. Shirov

“Queens” - “Princesses”

G. Strutinskaya - E. Solozhenkina , A. Galliamova - P. Shuvalova, A. Maltsevskaya - Kovalevskaya, A. Dimitrova - E. Zaiatz

The Russian- and English-language broadcasting of games is organized by “Chesskast.” The classical part of the competition in our native language will commented by Sergey Shipov, while Sergey Rublevsky is expected to join him when the rapid section starts. The progress of events in the English-language will be provided by Evgeny Miroshnichenko.

Tournament schedule: 17-20 December (classical chess) and December 21-22 (rapid chess). Games start at 15:00 (Moscow time).