September 22, 2016

Today, on September’22, the press-conference with the officials and organizers of the FIDE World Youth U14, U16, U18 Championships 2016 was held in the media-center of the Ugra Tennis Center.


The speakers of the press-conference were the chief executive officer of FIDE Geoffrey Borg, the director of Russian office of FIDE Berik Balgabaev, the director of the department of physical culture and sports of Ugra Igor Gubkin and the executive director of the tournament Valery Radchenko.


– Geoffrey, you’ve been to Khanty-Mansiysk so many times and, of course, you know all the nuances of hosting chess events. What can you say about this venue where the FIDE World Youth U14, U16, U18 Championships 2016 takes place?

– First of all, I would like to thank the governor of Ugra Natalia Komarova for supporting FIDE and chess events in the region. It is always a pleasure to be back in Khanty-Mansiysk again. Of course, this tournament presents its own challenges, because this is the first time Khanty-Mansiysk hosts the international youth tournament of this level. But we have an excellent team with “UgraMegaSport” and Ugra Chess Federation. They have lots of experience and it is very easy to organize chess events here. Whereas in normal times I spend most of the first days of the tournaments troubleshooting problems with the lights and the temperature in the playing hall, accommodation, etc., here we have most of this problems solved before the start of the tournament. It is much easier to organize here with all this experience. Today we’ve spent more time discussing the future tournaments which will come very soon – the Women Grand-Prix in November 2016 and Team Championships in May 2017.

– Do you think that some of the participants of these Championships will be able to compete in the Chess Olympiad 2020, which will also be held in Khanty-Mansiysk?

– We already have players here who have played in the Chess Olympiad in Baku last week. The average age of chess is coming down very quickly. Some very young players are already members of their national teams not the junior teams. So, I think in 2020 they will be candidates for the medals of the Olympiad. We had 4 8-year-old  players in  Baku.

The perception of chess in general is that only old people are playing it. But this is not so. Chess is very demanding nowadays as  there is a lot of energy lost during the games. It is a physical sport. We are walking a lot between our moves, we are not just sitting for 5 hours. The second thing is that it takes a lot of nerves. It is like you are having an exam every day.  The stress is just crazy. Sometimes Magnus Carlsen looks like he is sleeping at the board. But Magnus is a very active athlete. He is doing tennis, football and basketball. This is just an image he wants to portray that he is lazy and tired. Sometimes it is only a psychological game.


– Berik, during your visit you have inspected the venues of Khanty-Mansiysk that will be hosting the Chess Olympiad 2020 in four years. What is to be done by Ugra to get ready for the Olympiad?

– The Chess Olympiad 2010 in Khanty-Mansiysk was a great success. We feel very comfortable here. I am sure, the participants of the tournament will have the same feelings about this venue. I know almost all the infrastructure of Khanty-Mansiysk and this place fits very well for hosting chess events. Still the Olympiad 2020 will be different from the Olympiad 2010. First of all, the number of the participants will substantially increase. During this visit we managed to discuss the coming Olympiad and to inspect the possible venues where the games could be played.

– Igor, chess is one of the sports that gets the biggest support in Ugra. Is it possible to call Khanty-Mansiysk a chess capital of Russia?

– The development of chess in Ugra has a long and good history. In 2010 we have hosted the World Chess Olympiad and in 2020 we will do this once again. Khanty-Mansiysk is the fourth city in the world that will host the Chess Olympiad twice. Starting from this tournament every year Ugra will host major international chess events. We consider them to be a part of the preparation process for the main tournament – Chess Olympiad 2020.

– Valery, please tell us how did you manage to organize a tournament with 412 participants. What problems did you face?

– A lot of work was done to get ready for the event, as we were also providing visa support for the players. We have been doing this for several months, of course, with the help of the department of physical culture and sports of Ugra and Igor Gubkin. The main difficulty concerned catering for the participants. We needed to keep in mind that we are dealing with people representing different countries, religions and cultures. Besides, time difference also mattered a lot. Some players are already awake at 5 in the morning so we had to organize their breakfast earlier than was planned before. Besides, we added more sweets, cereals and yogurts to their meals.