Elista celebrates International chess day

20 July is the International Chess Day. On the eve of the International Chess Day, the Republican Chess School held a blitz tournament among schoolchildren In Elista. It is called the chess capital of Russia as suggested by the sixth FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. More than fifty children under the age of 14 became participants in the competition; all of them are students of the steppe capital’s schools.

“My daughter is 8 years old; she is studying at Elista Secondary School No. 18. Not so long ago, she became interested in playing chess that is rightly called an intellectual game,” said Naran Ochirov, a Kalmykia Rosgvardia Departments’ officer, the father of one of the participants. “In our family there are three children and all of them like chess. I brought my daughter to this tournament so that she could see many chess playing kids, feel the spirit of rivalry and try her skills. Tomorrow, our whole family will congratulate her on International Chess Day.”

After Kirsan Ilyumzhinov was elected the first president of Kalmykia in 1993, his very first decree “On state support of chess” introduced chess as a separate subject in the local schools.

This was the starter of chess training throughout the country. Since then, this subject is obligatory in all schools and kindergartens of Kalmykia. Later, this initiative developed into the global programme "Chess in Schools".