Maribor: European Capital of Culture to host chess events

6/4/2012 – It is the second largest city in Slovenia and jointly with Guimarães in Portugal, the 2012 European Capital of Culture. Recently it staged the meeting of Nobel peace prize laureates, and from May to September it will host chess tournaments, which will include top players, politicians, sportsmen, women to the youngest novices. The slogan is: Maribor will be the capital of chess in 2012!

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European Capital of Culture to host chess events

Report by Miša Hrenič

Maribor and Guimaraes were chosen to be European Capitals of Culture for the year 2012. During this year many cultural events will be held in Maribor.


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One of the most important events was already executed on the 16th of May within the project “Maribor for peace – Nobel peace prize laureates”. The event hosted the 14. Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyats, Muhammad Yunus, Bangladesh-born economist, inventor of microcredits and founder of Grameen Bank; Guatemalan human rights activist Rigoberta Menchu and climatologist Lucka Kajfež Bogataj, Slovene climate change ambassador and 2007 Nobel Peace Prize co-winner.


Prof. Muhammad Yunus together with the FIDE President

Last week, on the 16th of May, the FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov visited Maribor. First he met with the Tibetan spiritual and religious leader, The 14th Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso, who was invited to come to Maribor for the second time in the auspices of the project “Maribor for Peace – Nobel peace prize laureates”.


The mayor of Maribor Franc Kangler, the 14th Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso, and the
President of FIDE Kirsan Ilyumzhinov meet in Maribor

During his stay in Maribor, Ilyumzhinov also met with the organizers of the World Youth Chess Championship 2012, which will take place in Maribor, Slovenia, from November 7th to November 19th 2012. The FIDE president was pleased when the general Coordinator of the championship Georg Mohr, together with the mayor of Maribor Franc Kangler, presented to him the current state of the organisation and Ilyumzhinov expressed his belief in a great realization of the project.

The Mayor of Maribor, who is supporting the development of chess in the town, presented the vision of the project “chess in kindergartens and elementary schools” to Ilyumzhinov. According to this project Maribor is supposed to become a shining example of how chess should be introduced in kindergartens and elementary schools. In the opinion of GM Georg Mohr and mayor Franc Kangler, there are very good potentials for the development of chess hidden in kindergartens and later on in elementary schools. The president Ilyumzhinov promised his support with the realization of the project, which he believes can come to life in the near future. They also discussed the possibility of opening the chess academy in Maribor already next year.


Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and the Mayor of Maribor Franc Kangler

There is also room for chess activities within the projects of European Capital of Culture in Maribor. The project “Black and White World” includes many chess events thorough out the year. There will be 20 chess tournaments organized in the period from May to September, a blindfold simultaneous exhibition in August, Maribor will also host a match on 100 boards between Slovene and Austrian Styria.


An open air chess tournament for children in Maribor

Chess events will include everybody – from top players, politicians, sportsmen, women to the youngest players. Chess events will reach the highest point in November with the World Youth Chess Championship 2012. During the event Maribor will also host Garry Kasparov. Maribor will evidently become also a capital of chess in 2012!

You can find all information about the chess events on the following websites:

Maribor – the city of sport

Maribor is the second largest city in Slovenia and lies near the river Drava and has over 100.000 inhabitants. Maribor is known for organizing big sports events. The most known is probably “Golden Fox”- race for the Ski World Cup. It also has a long chess tradition. The most successful chess club is a multiple state champion ŽŠK Maribor, which was founded in 1927. Another active chess club in this area is ŠK Branik.


Viev of Maribor from the Pohorje mountain range


Hotel Habakuk – the main playing venue


The area around the main playing hall


The Golden Fox skiing competition


Pohorje Adrenaline Park (Adrenalinski park Pohorje) with the high ropes course

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