I am probably not the only person who prefers the place they were born to any other place in the world. I was lucky enough to have been born in Moscow. This city has a very special atmosphere and vibrancy. Every time I visit the city I feel reborn. I visit friends and relatives, my favourite book and music shops, and I check out the chess scene, which I know so well.
Nowadays the Russian Social University has students studying to become chess trainers and managers. All these students are pretty strong players themselves, and we even find the occasional International Master amongst them. But they don’t want to become professional players themselves, as is the case with the chess students at the Sports Institute.
Future Russian chess trainers and managers
At the Social University the students will later teach children how to play the game, train them to become masters, help them in their careers. The idea to open a faculty for chess trainers was the brainchild of my very first chess trainer Alexander Kostjev, who is currently the dean of the University; and my friend Tamara Minogina is teaching at the faculty. They asked me to give a lecture, as a WIM and a chess journalist, to tell the students what a chess career can hold in store. I mentioned the five lost years I spent studying at the pedagogic academy, even though I soon realised that I could only be a very average teacher of the Russian language and literature. It is futile to try to run away from chess. As a passionate player you will remain a player all life long.
Opening ceremony with balloons in the President Hotel
Naturally I had to visit the blitz tournament in Moscow. Unfortunately due to the weather and the danger of terrorist attacks it had to be held in the President Hotel this year. A great shame, since the charm and atmosphere of the previous years was lost. The spectators consisted of only the organisers, some journalists and the players themselves.
Chess in the park in the previous year
Compare that with previous years where chess enthusiasts crowding around the boards, even offering advice to the players. A big room with posters and balloons cannot compete with the park, with its museums and statues, with the beauty of the natural surroundings.
During the game Alexey Dreev-Andrey Rychagov
The tournament itself was very strong. A few were seeded to the finals, the others had to qualify in three gruelling semifinals. You probably know the final results: Alexander Morozevich won first place, Alexander Grischuk came second. Alexey Dreev, the winner of the traditional samovar in the previous year, did not have a chance this time around.
Players Aleksandrov, Grischuk and Motylev
Grischuk vs Rjasanzev
A very pleasant surprise was the appearance of ex-world champion Boris Spassky at the tournament. Boris stayed for a while in Moscow, to work in his capacity as Editor of the chess magazine “Schachmatnaja Nedelja“.
Surprise visitor Boris Spassky (right)
The winner Alexander Morozevich with chess legend David Bronstein
Ljudmila Belavenez and David Bronstein
14-year-old IM Vera Nebolsina with trainer Badminov
Irina Vasilevich and Irina Zagurdjaeva
The youngest spectator
The world-famous Maria Manakova
The prizes for the Moscow Blitz
Winner Alexander Morozevich (left) with fans
After the tournament I joined the Alexander Morozevich Fan Club and went to the Gorky Park instead of the closing dinner. After that a stroll through Moscow and dinner in a Japanese restaurant.
Moscow's Gorky Park
Alexander Morozevich finding out whether he has other special talents
Our reporter Anna Dergatschova meets a friend in the park
A close-up of the happy young colleagues
Anna with a former friend and leader (not really)
Alexander Morozevich celebrates in the Japanese restaurant
Moscow at night – the Kremlin and the famous St Basil's Cathedral
Moscow is open 24 hours a day – cafés, casinos, movie theatres, shops, even barbers. But I will tell you more about that in November, when I return to my beloved Moscow for the super final of the Russian Championship. All the big K’s will be playing there, including my personal favourite: Garry Kasparov.