Geoffrey Borg: I Wish Good Performance in Khanty-Mansiysk to All the Participants
A press-conference dedicated to the start of Men’s and Women’s FIDE World Team Championships took place today, on June 16, 2017, in the Regional Information Center “RIC Ugra”. Questions from press were answered by FIDE Chief Executive Officer Geoffrey Borg, President of Ugra Chess Federation Vasily Filipenko, Director of the Department of Physical Culture and Sports of Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug – Ugra Igor Gubkin and Tournament’s Executive Director Valery Radchenko.
— Valery Mikhailovich, will you please evaluate Khanty-Mansiysk’s level of preparedness for the Championships and tell a few words about how those preparations have been going on.
— Well, actually, preparations have been going on for a long time already. To prepare for a tournament means much more than simply arranging pieces on the boards. We had to design a traffic chart of arrivals as players have been coming from 13 countries, to create diversified menus taking into account participants’ regions, countries and even religious persuasions, etc. We had to render visa support, to work out questions of illumination and broadcasting, to conduct tendering procedures in accordance with laws of holding such events. The playing hall has been already approved by the FIDE inspectors; there are a few minor comments on the arrangement from the FIDE CEO, but in principle everything is ready. The Chief Arbiter is already here and works in the Chess Academy, so I do not expect any problems in this respect. Today a meeting with arbiters and team captains will be held, and in the evening, at 19 P.M., we invite everyone to the opening ceremony that is going to take place in the CTC “Ugra-Classic”. So we are 200% ready for the Championships.
— Mr. Borg, what kind of help did the organizers need form FIDE? Has FIDE exerted any control during preparation for the tournaments?
— Discussions of organizational issues took place more than once. We have had three meetings with the organizers since last autumn, and I can say that, in general, it was easier to stage this tournament than any other chess competition that had been held in Khanty-Mansiysk before. They have a very experienced team here which is really simple and comfortable to work with. Russia has already staged a FIDE Women’s World Team Championship, but a Men’s Team Championship is going to be held here for the first time, so in this respect Khanty-Mansiysk is a pride of your country. I am sure that many interesting and competitive games will be played here as everyone is primed for victory, so I wish good performance to all the participants. Russian teams are among the strongest, so they are favorites in both tournaments. Russians’ main competitor in the Men’s championship is the team of China; as for women, Russian ladies, besides Chinese, will have to struggle against Georgians. In the Women’s Championship there are also team of Poland, which is quite capable of springing a surprise on everyone, and a strong Ukrainian team. From this point of view, the competition in the women’s tournament is going to be really serious.
— Igor Vasilyevich, what part will those championships play in the promotion of chess in Ugra?
— Everyone knows that chess progress in Ugra is very strong. Within the framework of strategy chosen by the Ugra Chess Federation and the Government of the Okrug, we give every chess fan a chance to learn more of the game, to see its world stars with his or her own eyes. Concurrently, the work on promoting chess among children is going on. Children are our future, and such great events in any kind of sports are certain to increase interest in the location they are held in. In our case, this is Khanty-Mansiysk. It is worth mentioning that, besides serious tournaments, we also hold amateur competitions on the regional level. Both Government of Ugra and the Okrug Governor Ms. Natalya Komarova pay great attention to chess, because they understand that, by staging international events here, we promote chess among population of our region. Statistic data corroborate this statement: for today, chess is one of the most popular kinds of sports in Ugra.
— Vasily Aleksandrovich, we know that tournaments of even higher level are going to be held in our region. Is it possible to regard those competitions as a kind of preparation for the Chess Olympiad that will be held in Khanty-Mansiysk in 2020?
— Indeed, we have already accumulated great experience. World Championships allow us to polish all technical and organizational moments. For the moment, I can say with confidence that we are ready both for the World Women’s Chess Championship and the World Chess Cup and for other events that are going to be staged here in 2018-2019, and so, naturally, we will be ready for the 2020 World Chess Olympiad. Current championships are serious enough. More than one hundred chess players struggled hard to qualify for those tournaments. Among them is Olga Girya, a lady player from Ugra, who has been included into the Russian Women’s Team for the FIDE World Women’s Team Championship by a decision of the Russian Chess Federation.