In the conference hall of the Grand Hotel Zhemchuzhina, Sochi, the opening ceremony of the World Schools Chess Championship took place on 2nd December. 499 players from 30 countries arrived to take part in the competition. The tournament is hosted in Russia for the first time ever.
Alexander Tkachiev, Deputy Executive Director of RCF, read out the welcome address of the Russian President Vladimir Putin. The opening ceremony was attended by FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, RCF Executive Director Mark Glukhovsky, and ISCU President Alexander Kostiev.
The head of ISCU told about the history of the event and its stars who became leading chess players of their countries 13 years later. Mr. Kostiev said that for many years he looked forward to seeing this event taking place in Russia. Mr. Glukhovsky underscored that the championship in Zhemchuzhina is organized for the young players, and they are the main actors of his show.
Mr. Ilyumzhinov called Sochi one of the main chess centers in the world, as this city already hosted the Women’s World Championship and Carlsen-Anand World Championship match. FIDE President thanked the Russian Ministry of Sports, Elena and Gennady Timchenko Charitable Foundation, and the RCF President Andrey Filatov for the wonderful initiative and a very high level of preparation to such an important event.
The drawing of lots was taken care of by Chief Arbiter Igor Bolotinsky and the medal winner of the 2016 World Junior Championship in Batumi Margarita Zvereva. The rising star of Russian chess drew Black, therefore all top rated players in each age group will play their first round games as Black. The drawing of lots was followed by a show of magician Daniil Reiven, winner of the Battle of Illusionists in Krasnoyarsk, and Roman Munin, the performer of Moscow Circus named after Yury Nikulin.
The first round was played on December 3, 3:30 pm Moscow time. The RCF website will show the top games live.
The event takes place on December 3-12. Boys and girls are playing in separated age groups under 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, and 17.
The organizers of the event are FIDE, RCF, and International Schools Chess Union.
Official site: http://ruchess.ru/en
Photos: Andrey Filatiev and Dmitry Kryakvin