FIDE World Cup with $1.5 million prize in Khanty-Mansiysk

by ChessBase
9/21/2005 – The world chess federation has found a sponsor for its 128-player knockout World Cup, to be held from Dec. 3rd to 25 this year. Remarkably the prize fund will be US $1.5 million, with FIDE President Ilyumzhinov putting up $300,000 of his own money. The venue is Khanty-Mansiysk in Russia. We can tell you where on earth that is.

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The "World Chess Cup" was until now the official FIDE Knockout World Championship, which was staged in Las Vegas (1999), Delhi/Teheran (2000), Moscow (2002) and Libya (2004), producing the world champions Khalifman, Anand, Ponomariov and Kasimdzhanov. A few months ago FIDE announced a new World Championship cycle, which went back to the classical chess format, which starts with the eight-player double round robin in San Luis at the end of this month.

With that the 128-player knockout event became the "World Chess Cup", and serves as a qualifier for the Candidates stage of the world championship (the first five qualify). Naturally the tournament will also produce a "Knockout" or World Cup Champion, who will be distinct from the FIDE or general world champion.

The next World Cup, as announced in the announcement below, will be staged in the autonomous region of Yugra in the town of Khanty-Mansiysk, from December 3rd to 24, 2005. It is remarkable that the organisation has managed to secure a total prize fund of over US $1.5 million, with President Ilyumzhinov chipping in with $300,000 towards this and organisational costs.

The only question left open is: where on earth (literally in this case) is Yugra and Khanty-Mansiysk. We have done some research and come up with some important information. First of all, in order to remember it and be able to drop the name in casual conversation you should note that it is roughly "kanty-mansisk", with the first part rhyming with "hunty", the second with "fun-sick". If you are up to it, pronounce the initial "k" like the guttural "ch" in the German "Dach" or the Spanish "rojo". The Russian original is Ха́нты-Манси́йск.

The town is located about 1400 miles (2250 km) east of Moscow, just north of Kazakhstan. It is the Khantia-Mansia and is located on the Irtysh River, 15 km from its confluence with the Ob.

Khanty-Mansiysk – map by Google Earth

We learn, from a web site given below, that in 1637 Samarovsky Yam was founded on the right bank of the Irtysh River, at the foot of steep mountains, with the thick cedar forest growing on them. From it the settlement of Samarovo and then the town of Khanty-Mansiysk originated. The first residents of Samarovo were 50 horse-drivers with their families. The population of Samarovo increased rapidly, and by 1748 there were already 487 horse-drivers in the settlement.

Today the town of Khanty-Mansiysk is the center of business life in the region, with all amenities, hotels, sports objects, motorways, a medical center, a center of Arts for gifted children, a skiing center, and many other things. Modern communication facilities are available to connect with foreign and CIS countries. The population is currently 55,700. More information and a lot of pictures are available at this Khanty-Mansiysk web site.

Pictures of Khanty-Mansiysk


The World Chess Federation has reached an agreement with the leadership of the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Region-Yugra in respect of the organisation of the 2005 World Chess Cup. The tournament will be taking place from 3 to 24 December 2005 with the total prize fund of USD 1,572,000.

The respective document was signed today between FIDE and the Executive Direction of "Yugra-Intersport". According to the Agreement, the first tranche of 200, 000 USD has been transferred to FIDE today. The balance of the agreed prize fund should reach the FIDE Bank account by 15 October 2005.

The Organiser covers the organizing costs and USD 1,300,000 of the prize fund. The FIDE President H.E. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov has also contributed with a sponsorship to the tune of USD 300,000.

The World Cup venue shall be the Arts Centre for the Talented Children of the North. The participants, guests and principals shall be accommodated in the hotel "Yugra Valley".

In the World Cup Tournament 128 players shall be participating according to the knockout format: World Champion + four (4) semi-finalists from the Libya World Championship, Women's World Champion, two (2) World Junior U-20 Champions (2004 & 2005), ninety (90) players from Continental Championships, twenty (20) rated players, seven (7) FIDE President nominees, three (3) Organiser nominees.

The names of the Asian qualifiers will be known on 16 October 2005, of the African qualifiers – on 15 November 2005 and the name of the World Junior Champion U-20 will be known on 22 November 2005. The full list with the pairings will be announced on 23 November 2005.

FIDE is pleased to inform the world chess community that since 2004 it has raised over five million USD for the World Chess Championships.

Schedule for the World Cup Tournament:

Opening Ceremony
Players' meeting
Dec. 3
Round 1 Dec. 4-5
Tie breaks Dec. 6
Round 2 Dec. 7-8
Tie breaks Dec. 9
Round 3 Dec. 10-11
Tie breaks Dec. 12
Round 4 Dec. 13-14
Tie breaks Dec. 15
Round 5 Dec. 16-17
Tie breaks Dec. 18
Round 6 Dec. 19-20
Tie breaks Dec. 21
Round 7 Dec. 22-23
Tie breaks/
Closing ceremony    
Dec. 24


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