The Gambit is Back in Fashion

The head of FIDE was delighted by Yugra, where they start to play chess at schools and explained the time when the Russians could expect their World Chess Championship. The finales of the Grand Prix, attended by 12 grandmasters, ended in Khanty-Mansiysk on May 26. For many years Yugra was the scene of the biggest tournaments of the ancient game that caused the delightful reviews of the visitors from all over the world.

However, this region is famous not only for its hospitality but by its attitude to the education of the smart and healthy generation. The initiative of the President of the International Chess Federation Kirsan Ilyumzhinov on the introduction the chess lessons in the curriculum in the region was unanimously approved.

The local schools began to actively develop the programme ‘Chess in Schools’ with the help of the head of Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Region Natalia Komarova in Yugra. About 17,300 children and teenagers play chess in Yugra today. An impressive figure, is it not?
On the eve of the Grand Prix finale the journalists of ‘Rossiyskaya Gazeta’ has talked with the head of FIDE Kirsan Ilyumzhinov about the progress of the championship and other important issues.
"RG." Kirsan Nikolayevich, do you watch the matches in Khanty-Mansiysk?
Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. Of course, I watch and read reviews in the press during the tournament. Pay my deep respect to its organizers: the city has arranged the tournament perfectly well once again. I know the head of the region Natalia Komarova. Her energy and love for the sport is impressive. I would like to thank her on behalf of FIDE for the hospitality and the colossal work that gives the good results.
"RG". We all hope that sooner or later the chess crown would be the Russian again. Does Russia have someone who might compete with the undisputed leader of world chess Magnus Carlsen from Norway?
Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. You're right; Magnus is indeed the leader among the equals today. However, the important changes are taking place in Russia now. With the support of the President Vladimir Putin chess became the priority sport again. The special attention is paid to the programme ‘Chess in Schools’, aimed at the future and the intellectual development of our children.
I want to thank the Chairman and the Board of Trustees of the Russian Chess Federation Dmitry Peskov and the President of the Russian Chess Federation Andrei Filatov who managed to work out the system of the development of chess in the country. In addition, the Chairman of the organizing committee of the recent World Cup, remarkably held in Sochi, was the Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich.
In general, if you have the right approach, then pretty soon Russia would have a whole galaxy of players capable of the great achievements.
"RG".  According to your expression Khanty-Mansiysk is known as the capital of the world of chess...
Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. True! Yugra held the 11 major international tournaments, including the most important for the chess community 39th World Chess Olympiad and the FIDE Congress for the last ten years. The World Cups were held four times in Yugra: in 2005, 2007, 2009, and 2011. It held the Women World Championship In 2012, the World Championship in rapid chess and blitz in 2013. Moreover, Khanty-Mansiysk was the place of four interesting competitions, including contenders’ tournament in 2014.
The most important is that that the programme ‘Chess in Schools’ is developed in Yugra. For example, 80 hours’ training courses are systematically provided for the chess teachers. The region is cultivating the chess education using the new computer technology in the learning process.
I would also like to note an interesting programme ‘To decrease the blind-spots on the chess map of Yugra’. Within its framework, about 15 chess rooms were equipped in the educational, social and health institutions of the region during the last three years. By the way, I will personally take part in the opening of the next chess room on May 26.
"RG." Is ‘Chess in Schools’ the exclusively programme of Yugra?
Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. Many leaders of the regions understood the importance and effectiveness of chess as the part of the school education. Some of them have already adopted chess as an optional or the compulsory subject, some are just considering the possibility.
The interesting things are happening, for example, in Moscow where the Chess Federation is working effectively that, no doubt, will soon bring its results. It is not accidentally that Muscovites won 11 of 15 gold medals at the recent Russian Teams Championship. However, at the moment Yugra is the model leader of the introduction of chess into the school education among the regions.
Today Russia faces the unprecedented challenges. And it is very important that the new generation of Russians would be ready to solve them. The consistency, intelligence, the skill to first think, analyse and then to act; the ability to retain the sport spirit in finding the best solutions in a bad situation and, conversely, to find the most favourable solutions in the good situations - all these skills are developed by chess, and are very useful  in life.

Pavell Zarudny