An opening ceremony was held for Grand Finals of the 72nd and 69th Russian championships for men and women, respectively, in Votkinsk 9 August.
In the official part of the ceremony, the participants and guests were welcomed by Aleksandr Brechalov, head of the Udmurtian Republic, Maria Morozova, CEO of the Charitable Foundation of Elena and Gennady Timchenko, and Mark Glukhovsky, executive director of the Russian Chess Federation.
Aleksandr Brechalov, head of the Udmurtian Republic: “It is a great honour for Udmurtia to host a national chess tournament. As the venues for the matches we have chosen symbolic locations: the tournament will first be hosted by the Tchaikovsky House Museum in Votkinsk, then by the House of Friendship of Peoples in Izhevsk. I hope that chess will become popular with children and young adults because of the high status of the tournament. The drive to win, inexorable logic and intellectual prowess — the qualities needed for success in chess will help achieve self-fulfilment and work well for the good of the Republic.”
Maria Morozova, CEO of the Timchenko Foundation: “Every year the Chess at Museums project becomes a major event on the chess and public scene of the cities hosting Grand Finals. Bringing together sports and arts, the tournament pulls in multitudes of people, become for them interesting place meetings. Provincial museums get a unique opportunity to put themselves on the map, and the locals to become involved in a nationwide event. The project addresses at the same time two goals set for itself by the Timchenko Foundation: promote the game of chess and piques the interest in the cultural heritage of this nation.”
Mark Glukhovsky, executive director of the RCF: “Grand Finals of Russian championships are the most important tournaments on the RCF calendar; their outcomes are eagerly anticipated by chess aficionados in and outside this country. Traditionally, these competitions have pulled in a very strong line-up. May all contestants and supporters have beautiful and strong games, and I would like to thank the Tchaikovsky House Museum in the town of Votkinsk, which agreed to host this competition. We are happy to open up a new venue on the chess map of Russia!”
There was then held a lot drawing, which resulted in the following entry numbers assigned to the contestants:
The first round on 10 August will include the following matches:
Motylyov — Inarkiev, Predke — Artemyev, Yakovenko — Matlakov, Alekseyenko — Fedoseyev, Sarana — Tomashevsky and Dreyev — Vitiugov
Guiraud — Kashlinskaya, Charochkina — Potapova, Shuvalova — Bodnaruk, Kosteniuk — Goryachkina, Pogonina — Tomilova and Gunina – Shafigullina.
The entertainment section featured musical numbers performed by Noviye Imena, sponsored by the Charitable Foundation of Denis Matsuyev, young pianist Andrey Shashkin, awardee of the government of the Udmurtian Republic and the Molodiye Darovaniya [Young Talents] All-Russian Competition, the Saikan (Awakening) band, and well-known pianist Yury Rozum, People’s Artist of Russia and winner of international competitions.
The Grand Finals are organized by the Russian Chess Federation, the Charitable Foundation of Elena and Gennady Timchenko and the government of the Udmurtian Republic. The tournament is sponsored by the companies Renault Russia, PAO FSK YeES and PhosAgro, which has been a permanent sponsor of the RCF since 2010. The Logistics Sponsor of the Russian Chess Federation is the Russian Post Office.
The tournament is a sequel to the Chess at Museums programme, which the Russian Chess Federation has been running jointly with the Charitable Foundation of Elena and Gennady Timchenko since 2012.
The competitions are held on a round-robin basis in 11 rounds.
Between 10 and 12 August the competitions will be hosted by the Tchaikovsky House Museum in the town of Votkinsk (119 Tchaikovsky St.). Between 13 and 23 August, the tournament will relocate to Izhevsk: the chess players will compete at the House of Friendship of Peoples (33a Ordzhonikidze St.).
The matches will start at 15:00 local time. The final round kicks off at 13:00.
In the event of a tie for first place between two or more contestants, a blitz Armageddon game will be held.
The matches will be commented by grandmaster Sergey Shipov in Russian, and by grandmasters Pavel Tregubov and Daniil Yuffa in English.
The prize money totals 10,000,000 roubles. The winners of the men’s and women’s tournaments will be given a brand-new Renault ARKANA coupé SUV, the official car of the RCF since 2019.
Grand Finals of Russian championship traditionally include a social programme day: big-name grandmasters play games of multi-board chess against young chess players and veterans. On 18 August, aficionados will be able to rub shoulders with famous chess players in an informal setting, test themselves at the board and, who knows, win a memorable victory.