Knights and bishops move towards each other/ Ãëàâíàÿ / Russkiy Mir Foundation / Publications / Knights and bishops move towards each other
Knights and bishops move towards each other
Photo credit: www.city-news.ru
The World Chess Day is celebrated annually on July 20. Today it brings together amateurs and professionals of the ancient game, even if over a virtual board only. This day has been marked by series of international online-tournaments opened in Russia and abroad. Russian compatriots are going to launch the Chess Friendship Cup today. Such a name could not have come at a better time - during the self-isolation, chess turned into a bridge that made distances vanished.
Live excitement online
In June, Jordan became the heart and soul of chess activity among Russian compatriots. 170 participants from 19 countries came together for Gambit, the Challenge Cup, an amateur online tournament held as a part of the Day of Russia celebration by the Russian Center for Science and Culture in Amman, KSORS in Jordan and the RIMA youth organization.
The chess players were divided into two age categories and several groups according to their geographical location to avoid confusion with time zones. Competitions were held in individual and team scorings. The champions and prize-winners included young chess players from Jordan, Ireland, Mexico and other countries.
According to the tournament mentor and head of RIMA Russian-Jordanian youth association Zhanar Kukaeva, the tournament turned out to be an exciting event. It facilitated friendship among dozens of participants (they still communicate and play) and sparked the interest of many people in chess.
– I was invited to join the chess project by the Russian Community Council (KSORS), – Zhanar Kukaeva told the Russkiy Mir. – As to chess, I know only names of pieces, but the project seemed to be interesting for me. In the beginning of the tournament, six players from Jordan played chess with their peers from Lebanon, Palestine and Syria. Everything went very well and I learned a lot. Then the idea came to organize the Challenge Cup for the whole world.
The organizers announced the tournament and were amazed by the number of applicants and variety of their geographical locations.
- We thought that four or five countries would participate, but it turned out in an amazing way, says Zhanar. - According to the rules, registration should have ended two weeks before the tournament start; but we accepted applications until the last day – people registered until the late night. And some missed the chance, because otherwise we would not have been able to adjust the tournament table on time.
It took a lot of efforts to explain the participants how to connect and use the chess platform.
- The most important thing for us was that children started playing and got out of their daily routine, she continues. - They felt the real team excitement of sports competition and realized that it was much more interesting than any computer games.
Zhanar explains the tournament’s popularity with several factors, such as fatigue from self-isolation and staying at home, desire to experience emotions, as well as interesting format of the event.
There is no chess school for Russian-speaking children in Jordan, so all young players are self-learners. It was unexpected, but the children proved to be skillful chess players - they took the third team place and got into the top five in the individual scoring.
– You know, I noticed an interesting feature of modern children - when they are interested in something and feel enthusiastic about it, they are capable to educate themselves quickly, says the Challenge Cup mentor. - They don't wait to be taught and forced - they just searched the whole Internet, and then exchanged best practices in defenñe and attack. The tournament united them big time.
Parents of participants from different countries told the organizers that their children had thrown themselves into chess battles with great relish. They also shared how children had waited for games to start and felt bad about losses. And how the players still discuss the tournament highlights with former opponents.
– The children started communicating via chat. After the tournament, they got in touch through the Internet – now they talk to each other, play chess games. They are all Russian-speaking children with similar mentality, and they enjoy spending time together. I realized that they were not interested in playing online with an impersonal opponent. It is much more fascinating when they are acquainted and know each other’s strengths. That makes the game more exciting, Zhanar believes.
The tournament was capped a month ago, but the impressions are still vivid. For this whole month, Russian-speaking children of Jordan have played with each other and participated in training tournaments conducted by organizations of Russian compatriots from Ireland, Abkhazia, Great Britain, Mexico and other countries during the lockdown. And the World Chess Day will be marked by the Friendship Cup openings.
Siberia and China on a chessboard
In May, the sports media outlets of Krasnoyarsk Krai that had been left without any news published a flash - young Siberian chess players (under 12 years old) beat their peers from the Chinese province of Heilongjiang at an international online tournament commemorating the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War. The Russians scored 57.5 points, leaving only 18.5 for their opponents.
Photo credit: admkrsk.ru
Denis Petrukhin, head of the Chess Federation of Krasnoyarsk Krai, told the Russkiy Mir about the tournament in May and the great duel between Siberia and China in July.
- The first tournament was conducted on 12 boards, and only children played, he says. - Both sides enjoyed the experience, and the second match encounter took place with the expanded field. Currently, there are 75 boards, and players include women, men, youth and children. We play rapid chess and blitz.
Russia was represented in the match by chess players from Krasnoyarsk Krai, as well as from Tuva and Khakassia. The Siberians took a confident lead from the first day and kept their leadership until the end of the match.
Krasnoyarsk Krai and the province of Heilongjiang are connected by many projects, including sports ones. In the midst of the lockdown, there came an idea to make friends through the chessboard. The negotiations did not last long, as both sides showed interest. The chess community of both countries watched the tournament - the matches were broadcast on YouTube, and a grandmaster commented them for the Russians.
The participants were able to play and greet each other; they also managed to choir. As a part the tournament, a joint video was recorded with Russian and Chinese children singing popular children song May There Always Be Sunshine.
– The tournaments were triggered by the coronavirus pandemic, as well as quarantine measures taken, believes the representative of Krasnoyarsk Krai. – There were no offline tournaments, and online chess were on the rise. Even top grandmasters took part in online tournaments. We decided that large-scale international tournaments could be held online since everybody shifted there. It was not a bad idea, kids like it. I think we will keep it up.
According to him, online tournaments provide many chess players with new experience; especially they are useful for children who find it difficult to concentrate properly at home.
- The pandemic has given online chess momentum, and the development will continue in future, but I am convinced that online tournaments cannot replace live ones, Denis Petrukhin believes. - We hope to be able to start holding offline competition in the second half of August.
Let us say a few words about the holiday. The World Chess Day has been celebrated since 1966 by decision of the World Chess Federation (FIDE), which was established on July 20, 1924.
In the midst of the pandemic, the chess overcame gravity and went into space - at the beginning of June the second ever chess encounter between the Earth and space took place. Ivan Vagner and Anatoli Ivanishin, the astronauts, played the game from the orbit; the Earth was represented by Sergei Karjakin, the world rapid chess champion.
The match broadcast was watched all over the world. The game ended in a draw, just as the first one held half a century before. The astronauts played special chess pieces, which are not affected by zero-gravity. As it turned out, neither time, fashion or new technologies may pose any threat to chess.