The Russian Higher League, the 4th stage of the 68th Russian Men’s Chess Championship and the 65th Women’s Championship, is being held in Kaliningrad from June 21 till July 2 as part of the Chess in Museums international program implemented by the Russian Chess Federation together with Elena and Gennady Timchenko Charitable Foundation.
On June 27, the Museum of the World Ocean hosted a simultaneous exhibition for 69 young chess players aged 5 to 16, who crossed swords with Russia’s leading grandmasters: Europe’s Reigning Champion Evgeny Najer and the winners of numerous events, Ernesto Inarkiev and Konstantin Landa.
The young players came from Kaliningrad and other parts of the Kaliningrad Region: Zelenogradsk, Baltiysk, Gvardeisk, Yantarny, Ladushkin, and Svetly. Deputy Executive Director of the Russian Chess Federation Alexander Tkachev, leading expert of the Museum of the World Ocean Marina Egorova, and President of the Timchenko Foundation Lilia Timurova greeted simul participants at the event’s opening and wished them luck.
The museum’s lobby also featured the exhibitions Chess in the War Years 1941-1945 from the collection of the Moscow Museum of Chess and Our Chronicle opened under the auspices of the Timchenko Foundation.
Furthermore, all the simul participants, thanks to the support from the museum’s administration, were able to visit a unique aquarium, the exhibition the exhibition Petergof ― Emperors’ Sea Capital, and get aboard the research ship Vityaz.
Chess is a game for everyone, so on this day members of the Kaliningrad Chamber of Commerce and Trade decided to join the children and played a blitz round robin tournament of 11 rounds. Alexander Tarenenko was the winner, Vladimir Volkov was ranked 2nd, and Leonid Titov 3rd.
As Alexander Tkachev noted at the closing ceremony, the simultaneous exhibition ended with a score 68.5:0.5 in favor of the exhibitors. Only one participant, Nikita Bedenko, was able to draw with Najer, while all the other games finished with the grandmasters winning.
Each of the exhibitors also spoke to the audience, sharing his impressions from the games and singling out the children who had played particularly well.
Konstantin Landa said that he had started playing chess by participating at simultaneous exhibitions at the age of five and a half. The grandmaster encouraged the young players to work hard on chess and wished them success.
“I am pleasantly surprised by the level of my opponents,” said Ernesto Inarkiev. “Today I had to take hard decisions, play combinations and defend; my endgame technique was also tested. It is so nice to see with what attention young children approach a game. My thanks go to all parents and grandparents who encourage the children’s endeavors. I am convinced that this is the right thing to do and is good for their development.”
Evgeny Najer called the simul a training session before the Higher League’s games. “You gave us a good training indeed, there were many interesting games. I agreed to draw with Nikita Bedenko without thinking twice because the position was such that I would hardly have won the game,” the grandmaster pointed out.
All the simul participants got souvenirs from the organizers.
The participants of the blitz tournament between members of the Kaliningrad Chamber of Commerce and Industry also received souvenirs from the Russian Chess Federation and Elena and Gennady Timchenko Charitable Foundation. Marina Fitsak, the Chamber’s Vice President, thanked the organizers for the successful chess festival.
The Children’s Day ended with an autograph signing session and a group photo taking.
A Children’s Day is traditionally held during major chess events under the Chess in Museum program. Thanks to these master classes and simuls, young chess lovers can network with their idols in an informal setting, measure themselves up against renowned grandmasters and perhaps even beat one of them. During the 2014 Russian Championship Superfinals that was held in the Kazan Kremlin’s Art Gallery Khazine, for example, the young Adelya Zinnatullina defeated the experienced Grandmaster Artyom Timofeev.
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