World Championship Sochi: Closing Ceremony

by Sagar Shah
11/27/2014 – The match between Magnus Carlsen and Viswanathan Anand ended after eleven games, and the closing ceremony had to be rescheduled from the 28th to the 25th of November. It was a lavish prize-giving with a truly VIP guest (guess who!). During his address FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov made a truly electrifying announcement: the 2016 World Championship will be held in the USA!

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FIDE World Chess Championship – Closing ceremony

The World Championship 2014 ended on 23rd November 2014 in Sochi, when Magnus Carlsen won the eleventh game and closed out the match with a score of 6.5-4.5. As per the initial schedule if the match went the distance, (all twelve games played, then rapid and blitz) the closing ceremony would have been held on 28th November. But as the match ended with the eleventh game the closing ceremony took place on the 25th of November 2014 at 18.00 hours.

The man of the moment was, of course, the World Champion Magnus Carlsen,
thronged by kids who wanted his autograph

And, yes, a five time World Champion is also always popular!
Besides the two players there was also an extremely important person at the closing ceremony:

He, too, was seen giving autographs to the kids….

And the media was swarming around him

Of course we are talking about none other than the President of Russia: Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin. It was the first time that the president of any nation hosting the World Championship was present at the closing ceremony.

Russian Chess Federation President Andrey Filatov (second from right) with three
former World Champions: Viswanathan Anand, Anatoly Karpov and Boris Spassky

The hall where the closing ceremony was held

The closing ceremony began with the national anthem of Russia, followed by the FIDE anthem.

The chief arbiter of the event, Andrzej Fillipowicz, thanked
the players for their gentlemen-like behaviour and fair play

Vladimir Putin then addressed the gathering – this is what he said:

“Friends, I would first like to congratulate Magnus Carlsen on his victory. Congratulations! This victory allows you to retain the title of World Chess Champion. I would also like to thank Viswanathan Anand for the wonderful game we will all remember.

This match between the two strongest grandmasters of the planet has truly become the focal point of the entire world chess championship. Millions of chess fans from all over the world followed it. As I have just been told, this was about two million people in over 100 countries every day. I am certain that the honest and fierce struggle of two equal and respectable players has met the expectations of millions of fans across the globe.

Chess is fairly considered an important part of world culture. In Russia it has traditionally enjoyed special respect. We are happy and proud that the Olympic city of Sochi hosted the decisive match for the world chess crown. This city is filled with a festive atmosphere of sports and competition, and the participants in this match have demonstrated the same qualities as the Olympic athletes did during the Winter Olympics.

The match to determine the World Chess Champion will definitely serve to further develop chess in Russia and the world at large. We in Russia have a special love for chess. Let me remind you that this country gave the world ten champions. We have about 540 thousand people doing this sport, while the number of those who like to spend their free time over a game of chess runs into millions.

Once again, my congratulations to Magnus Carlsen on his outstanding victory! I wish you success!"

FIDE President Kirsan Illyumzhinov then proceeded with the prize giving: first, both
the players were given medals – Silver for Vishy and Gold for Magnus

Then Magnus received the traditional laurel wreath

And finally the beautiful, gigantic cup

The 16th undisputed World Chess Champion: Magnus Carlsen

The national anthem of Norway was played, and Magnus stepped up to speak a few words

Carlsen thanked the organizers Agon and the Russian Chess Federation. He praised the organization, saying that his team had been treated in the best possible way. He thanked his team, which included his seconds, father, Espen Adgestein, family, doctor and the cook. Magnus was magnanimous in addressing Anand as his esteemed opponent who gave his all in the match. He said it was a pleasure to do battle with him and wished him the best for future. And lastly Magnus thanked the chess fans all over the world who followed the match and dedicated his victory to all of them. As he spoke it was apparent that his throat was sore and he was not in the best of health.

Kirsan Illyumzhinov gave a note of thanks towards the end and declared the match over

The most important point of his speech was that the next World Championship Match will be held in the United States of America in 2016.

The stage was then taken over by the most talented young musicians of Russia.
This 14-year-old was wonderful on the violin.

And the 13-year-old rock guitarist simply made the entire environment electric.
You can see (hear) for yourself in the video below.

Vishy Anand in his tweet on twitter praised these two little talents:

The Russian President organized a small get together after the closing ceremony...

... and got on very well with the players

The following two tweets by Anand tells us something about what happened at the meeting:

And: "The Russian President will be in India and he was nice enough to say that we hope to meet again in your country."

Photos by Chief Press Officer Anastasia Karlovich (left) and Vladimir Barsky in Sochi

Video stream of the closing ceremony

You can watch the entire closing ceremony in HD streaming video.
Make sure to maximize the replay window to enjoy the full breathtaking broadcast quality.

Final score

Replay all the games of the match

Select from the dropdown menu to replay the games


The games were broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server with full GM commentary. If you are not a member of Playchess get instant access, but you can also use ChessBase 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs to log on.

Sagar is an International Master from India with two GM norms. He is also a chartered accountant. He loves to cover chess tournaments, as that helps him understand and improve at the game he loves so much. He and is the co-founder and CEO of ChessBase India website, the biggest chess news outlet in the country.
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samvils samvils 11/29/2014 03:31
now i love putin coz he is a chess fanatic too...hehe... love from philippines
dysanfel dysanfel 11/28/2014 02:47
Chess will remain "a very special place in the hearts of russia" and be ignored by the rest of the world as long as dictators and terrorists are running the sport.
genem genem 11/27/2014 09:00
@asperov, I'd like to see a *minimum* of 12 match games. After 12th game, player with the most points wins the match unless the other player won the latest game thus far played; in which case the match continues for another game. After 13th game the same assessment is made - player with most points wins unless the other player has won the latest game (here the 13th). And so on.

The benefit of this format is the match is still kept shorter than the arduous expensive 24 game matches of yester-year, yet it always gives the trailing player mathematical hope until the moment the match ends!
Najdork Najdork 11/27/2014 06:32
Yeah Yasser was/is top notch, and most importantly he speaks very slowly and clearly.

The battles between Nepo and Svidler on who talked fastest were terrible. Svidler+Sopiko was better.
tomohawk52 tomohawk52 11/27/2014 05:12
Yasser was in his heyday one of the very best in the world. He still can explain the action in a way that would benefit 99+% of the people watching.
daftarche daftarche 11/27/2014 02:45
we need top class grandmasters to comment games like svidler and nepo not jen and yaser. they were not bad but not as good as top GMs. anyway a carslen-caruana match with 14 or 16 games in usa is awesome.
cptmajormajor cptmajormajor 11/27/2014 12:43
Really enjoyed the Svidler - Nepo commentary of this world championship. Hearing comments from those who are in the same ballpark as the competing players feels relevant. Also love the sinqufield cup format of covering the chess tournaments -with the energy of ashley combined with the contrasting due of yasser and jenifer. Hope they do something similar to both in 2016!
ashperov ashperov 11/27/2014 08:43
Great announcment. Im hoping for 16 games as opposed to the 12. but hey we see
Patman Patman 11/27/2014 06:28
I'm going to take a wild guess here and predict it will be held in Saint Louis in 2016 ! ;-)
capaping capaping 11/27/2014 05:15
Congrats to Carlsen for retaining his title and to Anand for being a worthy challenger. Many thanks to Fide and to Russia for an impeccable organization. I had many hours of pleasure watching the live video stream and look forward to the next WCC match.
EZoto EZoto 11/27/2014 02:26
No country in the world comes close when it comes to chess in Russia. Simply put. They love chess.
ff2017 ff2017 11/27/2014 01:12
Wow, Rex Sinquefield impressively rises to the occasion!
nginX nginX 11/27/2014 12:57
" chess helds a very special place in the hearts of russia " kudo's to both :)
Najdork Najdork 11/27/2014 12:46
Hooray for Putin patron of chess!