Chess in Kazakhstan

by ChessBase
12/7/2023 – The Kaissa Foundation was founded by entrepreneurs Rinat and Erlan Naimanov. Recently Rinat and partner Alexander von Gleich met with the founders of ChessBase, Matthias Wüllenweber and Frederick Friedel in Hamburg, to sign of a memorandum of cooperation with our company. KAISSA will begin the process of translating training programs into the Kazakh language with the support of ChessBase and the Chess Federation of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

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Contribution of "KAISSA" to the development of chess

Rinat Naimanov is convinced that Kazakhstan has great potential for chess players who can achieve a lot with the right level of support. That is why he and his partners founded the Kaissa Foundation. He told us about the work they are doing for chess:

  • We run a chess club in Astana with six branches and 20 qualified coaches who conduct daily lessons for children and young people of different levels of play. In total there are already more than 1000 children involved in the chess club.

  • Every Saturday we hold quick tournaments, on Sunday blitz tournaments, and every three months a classical tournament with a respectable prize fund, which usually involves at least 100 players.

  • The great response encourages us to take further action, and so for the first half of 2024 we plan to open another chess club and support an orphanage.

Rinat Naimanov and Matthias Wüllenweber sign the memorandum of cooperation

Interesting facts about Kazakhstan

  • The country is located on the border of Asia and Europe. It is the ninth largest country in the world and the largest landlocked country.

  • The population is 20 million people.

  • How many countries can fit in Kazakhstan? The area of Kazakhstan, 2.7 million km², exceeds the combined territory of eleven Western Europe countries: Germany, France, Great Britain, Austria, Belgium, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Switzerland, Monaco and Liechtenstein (1.5 million km²), with place for the countries of the Scandinavian Peninsula (Norway, Sweden, Finland), plus Denmark and Iceland.

  • Kazakhstan is the birthplace of tulips and apples.

  • Horses were first domesticated on the territory of modern Kazakhstan, which is the northernmost home of pink flamingos.

  • The capital of Kazakhstan - Astana ranks second in the world among the capitals with the coldest climate.

  • The city of Turkestan - the spiritual capital of Kazakhstan, was formed 1500 years ago.

Hominins have inhabited the territory of Kazakhstan since ancient times. Archeological artefacts found in Eastern Kazakhstan, west of Altai, are dated at 1.8 million years (early Palaeolithic). Since ancient times, the territory of Kazakhstan was inhabited mostly by nomadic tribes. The nomadic tribes that inhabited the vast steppe territory from the Mongolian mountains to the Dnieper and Danube were called Scythians by the Greeks and Sakas by the Persians. Written evidence of the tribes inhabiting the present territory of Kazakhstan appeared in the middle of the 1st millennium B.C. 

In 1924-1925, practically all the territories where the Kazakh population prevailed, except for the Tashkent region, were united in a single Kazakh autonomy. The capital city became Kzyl-Orda, in 1929 the capital was moved to Alma-Ata.

Kazakhstan became part of the Soviet Union (USSR).

In 1991, after the collapse of the USSR, the name of the republic "Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic" was changed to "Republic of Kazakhstan" and in 1993 the Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan was adopted. Kazakhstan gained its independence, for which it had fought for several centuries.

Popularity of chess in Kazakhstan

The popularity of chess has grown very rapidly in recent years. Parents gladly enrol their children in chess schools, the number of which has increased significantly. The state and personally the President of the country Kasym-Jomart Kemelovich Tokayev also supports this sport:

This is evidenced by the holding of major international competitions on the territory of the Republic of Kazakhstan in recent times. The largest competition was the World Championship match held in April 2023 in the capital Astana.

Work on the development of chess

Rinat Abayevich Naimanov is the main shareholder of Global Expert Development Group. The group of companies has been in the construction market of Kazakhstan for more than 20 years. It has made a huge contribution to the construction of the young capital Astana.

Rinat has always supported young and talented sportsmen, including chess players. In order to systematize the support of young and promising chess players, in 2021 the Corporate Charitable Foundation "Kaisa" was founded, in which Rinat Abayevich himself headed the Board of Trustees. "Chess is not soccer, which requires millions of dollars of investment," he said. "But young chess players are athletes who also need support. I believe that we have a lot of future champions in our country."

A youth tournament in the Astana chess club

Rinat Naimanov took part in the FIDE World Senior Chess Championship 2023

Kazakh chess has seen a strong upswing in recent years. It was ahead of all the women teams (the youngest by age at the Olympiad) and has been able to impress with strong results, such as the fifth place at the Olympiad in Chennai or reaching the final at the World Team Championship, where they were only beaten by the Georgians in the final. Bibisara Assaubaeyeva and Zhansaya Abdumalik are in the top 20 and therefore in the absolute world elite, and Dinara Saduakassova is also part of the extended world elite, although she hasn't played much recently. But other talents are coming up behind her.

The Kazakhstani women surprised everyone by taking bronze at the Asian Games 2023

The Kazakh men made a name for themselves at the Olympics in Chennai, where they won a number of matches and finished in 17th place overall despite a major rating disadvantage. 
The Kazakh number one is the young grandmaster from Pavlodar Jumbaev, while the game of Alishe Sulemenov, who achieved the feat of dismantling the legendary Magnus Carlsen in 30 moves just two months ago in Qatar Open, was deeply impressive.

In the 1990s, Darmen Sadkassov was one of the world's top players, regularly taking part in the super tournaments and competing against Karpov and Korchnoi. He then retired from chess, studied business at Cambridge and became a successful management consultant. He now serves chess as a sponsor and Secretary General of the Kazakh Chess Federation.

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