June 26, 2017

Just few hours are left before the end of the World Team Championships in Khanty-Mansiysk. 8 rounds and hundreds of games, significant victories and embarrassing losses are over. Still, this chess marathon will not be kept in the memories of the guests only by their play but also by the city which is able to make everybody fall in love with it.

The chess history of Khanty-Mansiysk is full of many major tournaments. World Cup, Frand-Prix, FIDE World Championships, Chess Olympiad – hosting such prestigious and notable events a small Siberian city became famous in all parts of the world.

“I have been here once in 2010 on the chess Olympiad. That time we played in another building, lived in another hotel, but the organization was still on the same high level, – says the captain of team Poland Kamil Milton. – Compared to many other chess cities, life here doesn’t go very quick, the air is fresh. For Russian people this city seems small, but for us from Poland it is big. I have seen many trees, some lakes and rivers, that’s nice. I think it’s better to come to a smaller city for tournaments. Here we have the opportunity to concentrate on our job. The only disadvantage is that we have to fly for so many hours to get here. But we are used to travel, so that’s not a big problem”.

In November 2016 the capital of Ugra was hosting Women’s Grand-Prix Final. Now we can see its participants among teams of China, Russia, Georgia and Ukraine. Still some players have come to Khanty-Mansiysk for the first time in their lives. And they were not disappointed.

“On our free day we went sightseeing. We went to this place where we could take photos with giant bronze animals and to a beautiful park. We had lots of fun, – shares her emotions Tasneem Ehab of Egypt. – The most memorable thing about the city is the silence. I love the silence on the streets and fresh air. It is a peaceful place. It’s a good city where we can live in peace and silence. It’s a very good place for chess. Here people are very interested in chess”.

As chess players say, once you visit Khanty-Mansiysk, you want to come back here again and again. Now they are not scared of long flights and minus temperatures.

“Last time I was here in 2006, it was in winter and about -20, so we couldn’t go out a lot. I believe this is the first time I’m actually seeing the city, – says the captain of team India R. B. Ramesh. – The place is very nice, good friendly people and the organizers have taken good care of us. It’s not like a traditional cosmopolitan city. I don’t see too much traffic like in a big city, very peaceful. More compact, ideal for sport like chess. And the people are very friendly. It is smaller, but its more peaceful. We all enjoyed our stay here. It’s a good place to think, easy to concentrate, good to sleep. If I get an opportunity, I would gladly come here again”.

Every guest of the city perceives it in his own personal way. Some are going sightseeing, other prefer long and quite walks in the parks among birch trees. But all of them are sure: Khanty-Mansiysk is a real chess capital.