On November 2, the FIDE Women’s World Championship 2018 officially started. The Opening Ceremony of the event was held in the Organ hall of the Concert and theater center “Ugra-Classic”.
Guests and participants had a chance to enjoy fairy-tale organ melodies performed by Elena Kozemirenko before the official part of the ceremony.
The first part of the ceremony started with the presentation of the participating countries. The flags of them all were carried on the stage: Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Cuba, Egypt, Germany, Hungary, India, Iran, Israel, Kazakhstan, Peru, Poland, Puerto Rico, Russia, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine, USA, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam. There are 64 athletes from 28 countries playing in the Championship.
Chief Federal Inspector of Ugra Dmitry Kuzmenko and FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich appeared on the scene to welcome all the players on a hospitable Ugra land.
Dmitry Kuzmenko read a greeting letter from the President of Russia Vladimir Putin:
“We are proud of the history and wonderful traditions of our national chess school, the names of our famous winners and champions. This is why we are sincerely happy that an event of such magnitude is held in Russia again, in Khanty-Mansiysk, a city which is rightfully famous for its great experience in organizing such high-level sporting events. It won’t be an overstatement to say that this Women’s World Chess Championship has brought together the top chess players of the planet. During the qualifying games, they have already demonstrated their outstanding abilities, played beautiful, exciting games. And, of course, the very format of the tournament requires from the participants exceptional concentration, attention, focus on the result. I am convinced that the Championship will be a spectacular, memorable chess festival and will bring true pleasure to everyone who loves this unique, intellectual sport”, – says the letter of the President of Russia.
FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich took the floor next:
“On behalf of FIDE, let me greet you in Khanty-Mansiysk, at the Opening Ceremony of the Women’s World Championship 2018. Khanty-Mansiysk is the place where major tournaments have been already held: World Chess Olympiad, World Cup, FIDE Grand Prix legs and many others. I am sure that everyone of you enjoys to play and to be here feeling the hospitality of Siberia and its people and a high-level organization of the tournament. I would like to thank organizers, Government of Ugra and its Governor Natalia Komarova in person, local authorities, the Ugra Chess Federation, media, arbiters, Appeals Committee members, and everyone involved in the Championship, everyone who will help you show your best here. You are the most talented, professional, and beautiful ladies playing chess. Of course, there will be one winner, but I would like to wish good luck and fair play to all of you. I would like you to show your best qualities to the whole world as the tournament will be broadcast online and everyone will see you playing.
I will make sure that in the future the Women’s World Championship cycle will be a standard one, and three semi-finalists except for the winner will qualify for the Candidates Tournament which will determine the challenger for the next World Championship Match with higher prizes and better conditions. I would like to reassure you that we will pay more attention to the women’s chess in the future. So everyone could enjoy chess in all its beauty as it is art, sport, and science. Good luck to everyone!”
After his speech, FIDE President declared the Championship open.
Before the start of the entertaining part of the ceremony the drawing of lots was carried out. Chief Arbiter Igor Bolotinsky invited the top seed of the Women’s World Championship, the reigning world champion Ju Wenjun of China, who picked a black pawn. It means that the players with odd starting numbers will start the first game of the first round with the black pieces.
The procedure of drawing lots was followed by bright and spectacular performances of singers and musicians playing accordion, domra and balalaika. Chamber orchestra “Sibir-brass” played a potpourri of famous melodies of the past.
It is to be reminded that the first round of Championship starts on November 3 in the Ugra Chess Academy.