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Khanty-Mansiysk is greeting the participants and guests of the World Chess Cup for the fourth time. The Opening Ceremony took place on 27 August in the Concert-Theater Complex «Ugra-Classique».

Long before the beginning of the Opening Ceremony the guests were welcomed in the famous Parisian «Café de la Regence». Everyone, who loves chess and is passionate about its history, knows about this place- it is the café that gathered together chess amateurs of this ancient game in the 19th and 20th century in order to have some coffee and challenge each other at the black-and-white chess board. The organizers of the World Cup had an idea to transfer this French atmosphere to Ugorian land by creating the atmosphere of the café in «Ugra-Classique». Everyone could have a cup of coffee and play a game of chess as well as watch the video-film «Ugra-the capital of chess».

128 strongest chess players of the planet from 46 countries will face each other at the World Cup. Before the Opening Ceremony they got together at the Technical Meeting headed by the tournament arbiters and FIDE representatives. The Chief Arbiter of the tournament Ashot Vardapetian (Armenia) reminded the Regulations of the World Cup. He requested the participants to be as serious as it is possible towards the first round and to be present in the playing hall in advance in order to have the commencement of the competition decent.

At this time guests and participants were welcomed by alive chess pieces that were demonstrating the collection of the Ugorian designer Elena Skakun and young chess players of Ugra were playing a game of chess. The FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and the mayor of Khanty-Mansiysk Vassily Filipenko joined the children and also played the first demonstrative game of the tournament. After the tense but short game it was finished in a draw.

Later on the «opponents» had another rendez-vous on the stage to greet the participants. «We host the World Chess Cup for the fourth time and last year we hosted the World Chess Olympiad, to my mind, on a rather high level, — noted Vassily Filipenko. — We want to demonstrate our serious attitude to chess via the organization and the level of the tournament itself. Chess players of Ugra have achieved good results in this sport by winning many international tournaments».

«I can witness that chess level in Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug-Ugra is improving to a very high level, — confirmed Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. — In 2005 when we were considering the bids for the World Cup most of the FIDE officials were rather uptight about Khanty-Mansiysk and asked me where it was situated. Today, after so many years, I can say with confidence that the capital of Ugra has become a genuine Mecca for the amateurs of this kind of sport. I would like to thank the Government of the Okrug and its Governor Natalia Komarova for the most beautiful and modern Chess Palace that they have presented to the chess world last year. Today I have watched young chess players of Ugra at the game. As FIDE President I will be happy if in the nearest future one of the Ugorian chess players will become the World Champion».

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and Vassily Filipenko wished the participants outstanding games and successful play. It was followed by the official drawing of colors conducted by the Chief Arbiter Ashot Vardapetian and International Grandmaster rating-favorite of the tournament Sergey Karjakin of Russia. In the first round all odd-numbered players will play Black.

Afterwards the evening was transformed into a virtual voyage to the past where we were taken by the regional Chamber Orchestra headed by Boris Nodelman that presented the pieces of Vivaldi, Bach, Khachaturian, Strauss and Astor Piazolla to the attention of spectators. The vocal ensemble «Quatro» performed such famous Italian songs as «Pan American», «Volare» and «Con te partiro».



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