Chess players in Georgia

by ChessBase
4/11/2014 – After the lavish birthday celebrations for local star Zurab Azmaiparashvili our reporter Maria Emelianova accompanied the guests to Sighnaghi, a 2000-soul town in Georgia's easternmost wine-growing region. There guest of honour Judit Polgar inaugurated a chess school, while the Georgian Chess Federation is investing 14.5 million Euros in two major events. Pictorial report.

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In her previous report Maria Emelianova described her visit to Georgia for the lavish celebrations for local star GM Zurab Azmaiparashivili's 54th birthday. One of the guests was Judit Polgar, who is by far the strongest female chess player in the history of the game. After the festivities in Tblisi the visitors travelled to Sighnaghi (or Signagi), which is several hours ride from the capital, to open a chess academy named after the Polgar and Azmaiparashvili. Maria accompanied them, and in her second pictorial report also tells us more about Georgia, where chess has always flourished.

Tbilisi is located in the South Caucasus in Eastern Georgia on both banks of the Mtkvari River. The elevation of the city ranges from 380–770 meters (1246–1968 ft) above sea level and has the shape of an amphitheatre surrounded by mountains on three sides.

A view of Old Tbilisi

GM Bela Khotenashvili, rated 2513, and IM Lela Javakhishvili, 2475 in the beautiful mountains of Georgia

Zurab Azmaiparashvili with his wife Marina Milorava above the city

The Kakheti region in the eastern part of Georgia

The Kakheti travel page tells us that the easternmost region of Kakheti (wine colored in the above map) is Georgia’s wine country, "a land of hospitable, openhearted and straightforward people who live surrounded by rugged mountains, ancient castles, magnificent churches, and drink wine to praise the almighty for each harvest of their nurtured grape yards. Kakheti is unquestionably a must-see for any visitor to Georgia... and offers an unforgettable experience to its first-time visitors and those who are well acquainted with its heart-warming culture."

A group photo in Sighnaghi, a town in Kakheti, and one of the country's smallest towns, with a population of 2,000. Sighnaghi's economy is dominated by the production of wine, traditional carpets and the Georgian traditional food Mcvadi.

At a festive luncheon. On the left is Judit's husband Gustav, behind him GM Mikhail Gurevich, behind Judit is Zurab Azmaiparashvili, and she is toasting the Presidents of the Kakhetian Chess Federation and Georgian Federation.

Bela Khotenashvili and Lela Javakhishvili with Ketevan (left), a young talented player from Kakheti

Mikhail Gurevich raising a toast with a Georgian horn...

... and displying a very robust sense of humour

Judit Polgar is also, like so many others, involved in a chess for children programme, and was in Sighnaghi to open a chess academy named after her and Zurab Azmaiparashvili.

The brass plaque in front of the school

Cutting the ribbon to inaugurate the school

Playing informal games against young local chess players...

... and showing them her chess teaching system

Back in Tblisi, the monument to King Vakhtang of Georgia, founder of Georgian capital,
with the Metekhi Church behind the mounted statue of the king

A street artist with his paintings, in all colours and sizes

Leaving the city that, as is plausibly says, loves us

Addendum: Letter from the Georgian Chess Federation

Just before going to print – actually uploading this report – we received the following letter from the Georgian Chess Federation:

The text is as follows:

We would like to draw your attention to some important issues:

As each and everyone of you, we also do our best in order to popularize chess throughout the country, to promote its development and make it one of the most prominent sport activities! Therefore, we have done a lot recently, such as:

1. Annual budget of Georgian Chess Federation reached an unprecedented figure of one million Euros;
2. Georgia will host the top class Women's Grand Prix (June) and Youth European Championships (October);

3. Last year, with the governmental support of 250000 Euros Tbilisi International Chess Academy started operations;

4. Created five years state program for the development of Georgian Chess Federation, which is in examination process by Georgian Government;

5. In 2015, Georgia will host World Chess Olympiad under 16;

6. In 2016, Nona Gaprindashvili 75th anniversary will be proceeded by World Championship under 8-10-12;

It goes on to say, on page two:

According to all above mentioned, our federation has an ambition to seek farther opportunities. Therefore, Georgian Chess Federation and Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs of Georgia met with great enthusiasm the idea of holding World Cup 2017 and World Chess Olympiad 2018 in Georgia, proposed by FIDE President Mr. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov during his visit in Tbilisi, Georgia in 2013. Thereafter, the tedious work started in the field of budgeting issues of the chess boards.

As a result of our commitment and energy Georgian Government allocated unprecedented amount of money (14,462,500 Euros) from the state budget for holding both above mentioned cormpetitions.

About the author

WFM Maria Emelianova is 26 years old, born in Ekaterinburg, Russia, Women FIDE Master, with a 2113 Elo rating.

After finishing school Maria moved to Moscow to study at the university, so chess was forgotten for some time. She worked for about a year with Alexander Roshal in the chess magazine "64".

Maria's carrier as a chess photographer started at the Olympiad in Khanty-Mansiysk. "It was just a hobby, but somehow became an interesting job," says Maria, who works with a Canon 1DX.

"Now I am finishing my studies at two universities in Moscow, and am looking forward to a future in the big world of chess."

See also

Festivities in Tbilisi for Zurab's fiftieth
3/27/2010 – Last week GM Zurab Azmaiparashvili, President of the Georgian Chess Federation and Vice President of FIDE, turned fifty. Many dignitaries and old friends turned up for the occasion in the capital Tbilisi – amongst them FIDE President Ilyumzhinov and former World Champion and buddy Garry Kasparov. We bring you a big pictorial report of the birthday celebrations.

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