February 8, 2017

On February 7 2017 FIDE and Ugra Chess Federation have signed an agreement on organizing and conducting Chess Olympiad 2020 in Khanty-Mansiysk.

In accordance with the agreement signed by the parties the process of getting ready for this major chess event that will be hosted by Khanty-Mansiysk in 2020 will be initiated. The document also authorizes Ugra Chess Federation to act as the executive directorate of the Olympiad 2020. It is to be reminded that this will be the second time this city becomes the host of the Chess Olympiad, as this event was previously held in Khanty-Mansiysk in 2010.

Upon the end of the signing procedure there was a press-conference attended by CEO of FIDE Geoffrey Borg, Director of the FIDE Moscow office Berik Balgabaev, Deputy Governor of Ugra Vsevolod Koltsov and President of Ugra Chess Federation Vasily Filipenko.

Deputy Governor of Ugra Vsevolod Koltsov reminded the audience that the decision to send a bid of Khanty-Mansiysk for hosting Chess Olympiad 2020 was initiated personally by the Governor of the region Natalia Komarova. It was successfully approved during the FIDE General Assembly held in Baku in September 2016.

“We have already organized the Chess Olympiad in Khanty-Mansiysk in 2010. At the moment we’ve had 20 international tournaments and events in Khanty-Mansiysk, – said Geoffrey Borg. — This year we will have Men and Women Team Championships here again. We also have more plans for 2018 and 2019. And, of course, the biggest event will be in 2020”.

Geoffrey Borg has also emphasized that FIDE has very special relationships with Khanty-Mansiysk. “Technically, we could be ready in a very few months, which is not needed, of course, – said he. – We find full cooperation from the Government, Ugra Chess Federation and “UgraMegaSport”. All the people have very big experience with chess. There’s a big team of people supporting chess in Ugra and, of course, in Russia. We also thank the Governor of Ugra Natalia Komarova who supports chess. We will support too to make sure that this will be one of the best events ever in the chess world”.

The journalists wanted to know if the tense situation with Russian sport on the global scale could possibly dismiss Khanty-Mansiysk as a host of the Chess Olympiad 2020. The answer was given by Berik Balgabaev: “As a Director of the FIDE Moscow office I’d like to notice that whereas some international sport federations ban Russia from some events and competitions including World Championships and World Cup legs, we strengthen and develop our cooperation. We have even more plans connected with Russia. This is good news for us, of course. We know that here people love chess; it is getting more and more popular among people. In this respect FIDE separated chess and politics. All disputes and wars shall take place on 64 squares of a chessboard and not by mutual threats”.

Talking about the infrastructure that is needed to be organized for Olympiad 2020, Vsevolod Koltsov has noted that at the moment several variants of the future venue for the event are discussed. “Currently we have several variants, all of them are now being analyzed by the experts. It is important to understand that we are talking not only about the venue for the Olympiad. There are some spheres that need to be developed in the city. We will try to optimize it and make useful for people of Khanty-Mansiysk and Ugra region”, — said he.

Vasily Filipenko has told journalists that the number of participants of Olympiad 2020 will differ much from the experience of 2010. “In 2010 we had participants from 149 countries while in 2020 we expect teams from more than 180 countries. The Ugra Tennis Center is not big enough for all these people. Besides, we have to deal with accommodation for all the players and accompanying persons. At the moment we are thinking about constructing buildings which could be used as residential properties in the future”.

It is to be noted that a number of international tournaments and major chess events took place in Khanty-Mansiysk over the last years. Among them are 39th World Chess Olympiad (2010), World Chess Cup (2011), Women’s FIDE World Chess Championship (2012), FIDE World Rapid and Blitz Championships (2013), World Candidates Tournament, Women’s FIDE Grand Prix final, Women’s FIDE World Rapid and Blitz Championships (2014), FIDE Grand Prix final 2014/15, FIDE World Junior U20 Championships (2015), FIDE Would Youth U14, U16, U18 Championships and Women’s FIDE Grand Prix final (2016).