Children's Day held at Russian Higher League

by Eteri Kublashvili
7/1/2015 – A Children's Day is traditionally held during major chess events under the Chess in Museum program. Thanks to these master classes and simuls, young chess lovers can network with their idols in an informal setting, measure themselves up against renowned grandmasters and perhaps even beat one of them. This year the children were shown great exhibits, tours, and enjoyed lots of goodies.

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The Russian Higher League, the 4th stage of the 68th Russian Men's Chess Championship and the 65th Women's Championship, is being held in Kaliningrad from June 21 till July 2 as part of the Chess in Museums international program implemented by the Russian Chess Federation together with the Elena and Gennady Timchenko Charitable Foundation.

On June 27, the Museum of the World Ocean hosted a simultaneous exhibition for 69 young chess players aged 5 to 16, who crossed swords with Russia's leading grandmasters: Europe's reigning champion Evgeny Najer and the winners of numerous events, Ernesto Inarkiev and Konstantin Landa.

2015 European Champion Evgeny Najer is interviewed during the event

The three grandmasters, Evgeny Najer, Konstantin Landa, and Ernesto Inarkiev shake hands

Konstantin Landa greets one of his young rivals

Ernesto Inarkiev, winner of the Moscow Open earlier this year, takes on his share of the games.
He later said he had been impressed by the standard of his young opponents.

The young players came from Kaliningrad and other parts of the Kaliningrad Region: Zelenogradsk,
Baltiysk, Gvardeisk, Yantarny, Ladushkin, and Svetly

Deputy Executive Director of the Russian Chess Federation Alexander Tkachev, leading expert of the Museum of the World Ocean Marina Egorova, and President of the Timchenko Foundation Lilia Timurova greeted the simul participants at the event's opening and wished them luck.

The museum's lobby also featured the exhibitions Chess in the War Years 1941-1945 from the collection
of the Moscow Museum of Chess and Our Chronicle opened under the auspices of the Timchenko Foundation.

Furthermore, all the simul participants, thanks to the support from the museum's administration, were able
to visit a unique aquarium, the exhibition Petergof ― Emperors' Sea Capital, and board the research ship Vityaz.

Chess is a game for everyone, so on this day members of the Kaliningrad Chamber of Commerce and Trade decided to join the children and played a blitz round-robin tournament of eleven rounds. Alexander Tarenenko was the winner, Vladimir Volkov was second, and Leonid Titov third.

It was all about art and chess, so improvising a blitz tournament was not too big a stretch

Once the impromptu blitz tournament was over, the exhibit was restored

As Alexander Tkachev noted at the closing ceremony, the simultaneous exhibition ended with a score 68.5:0.5 in favor of the exhibitors. Only one participant, Nikita Bedenko, was able to draw with Najer, while all the other games finished with the grandmasters winning.

Each of the exhibitors also spoke to the audience, sharing their impressions from the games and singling out the children who had played particularly well.

Konstantin Landa said that he had started playing chess by participating at simultaneous exhibitions at the age of five and a half. The grandmaster encouraged the young players to work hard on chess and wished them success.

Since the purpose is to combine chess and culture, there were guided tours of the exhibits on display

"I am pleasantly surprised by the level of my opponents," said Ernesto Inarkiev. "Today I had to make hard decisions, play combinations and defend; my endgame technique was also tested. It is so nice to see the attention with which the young children approached a game. My thanks go to all parents and grandparents who encourage the children's endeavors. I am convinced that this is the right thing to do and is good for their development."

After the simul, the children received a diploma and souvenirs

Evgeny Najer called the simul a training session before the Higher League's games. "You gave us a good training indeed, there were many interesting games. I agreed to draw with Nikita Bedenko without thinking twice because the position was such that I would hardly have won the game," the grandmaster pointed out.

All the simul participants received souvenirs from the organizers

The participants of the blitz tournament between members of the Kaliningrad Chamber of Commerce and Industry also received souvenirs from the Russian Chess Federation and Elena and Gennady Timchenko Charitable Foundation. Marina Fitsak, the Chamber's Vice President, thanked the organizers for the successful chess festival.

The Children's Day ended with an autograph session and group photos

What is Chess in Museum?

It is an international program run by the Russian Chess Federation (RCF) jointly with the Elena and Gennady Timchenko Charitable Foundation (the Timchenko Foundation). The idea to hold chess events in major cultural centers was implemented for the first time during a world chess championship match, which was held in 2012 in the Tretyakov Gallery under the initiative of Andrei Filatov and Gennady Timchenko. In spring 2013, the RCF, jointly with the Timchenko Foundation, held the Alekhine Memorial super tournament in the Louvre and the Russian Museum. This was followed by the Russian Chess Championship Superfinal held in Nizhny Novgorod museums in the fall of the same year. The 2014 Superfinal took place in the Kazan Kremlin's Khazine National Art Gallery. Chess is a special game that is closely linked with culture and history, and the Chess in Museums project seeks to make this link obvious for everyone. The organizers found a unique format bringing together sports and culture: holding chess tournaments in the best Russian and world museums.

Photos by Eteri Kublashvili



Eteri Kublashvili is a chessplayer and reports and photographs from all official tournaments for the Russian Chess Federation.
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