World Chess Championship begins with opening ceremony in Sochi

Opening ceremony of the World Chess Championship match between Norway's Magnus Carlsen and India's Viswanathan Anand was conducted at the Congress Hall of the Radisson Blu hotel in Sochi on Friday.

By Dattaraj Thaly | Updated: Nov 08, 2014, 15:00 PM IST
World Chess Championship begins with opening ceremony in Sochi

New Delhi: Opening ceremony of the World Chess Championship match between Norway's Magnus Carlsen and India's Viswanathan Anand was conducted at the Congress Hall of the Radisson Blu hotel in Sochi on Friday.

The ceremony was attended by some of the biggest names in the world of politics and chess. The list of VVIP dignitaries included International Chess Federation (FIDE) President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, Russian Chess Federation President Andrey Filatov, advisor to Russian President Igor Levitin, former World Champions Boris Spassky, Nona Gaprindashvili, Anatoly Karpov, Alexander Khalifman, Zhu Chen, Antoaneta Stefanova, Alexandra Kosteniuk and Russian deputy minister of sports Pavel Kolobkov.

The opening ceremony was hosted by Russian People's Artist Sergey Makovetsky and Alexandra Kosteniuk.

Igor Levitin then went on to read out a welcome address Russian President Vladimir Putin. The FIDE website, quoted him saying, “Russia deserves the honour of holding this important and prestigious event. Our country has won wide recognition for its chess school and has extensive experience at holding events of this level, all the more so as this championship match is taking place in Sochi, which hosted the Winter Olympics earlier this year.

I am confident that Sochi’s developed sports, transport and tourism infrastructure and the traditional hospitality of its residents will ensure that this event takes place at the highest standard and will enable the competitors – Magnus Carlsen and Viswanathan Anand – to demonstrate the full measure of their skill and ability to find original solutions to the most complex tasks and show that they are worthy rivals in this battle for the chess world’s crown.”

FIDE Presidential Board revealed announced the agenda of the championship that included the scheduling of events such as Tal Memorial grandmaster blitz tournament, junior Tournament of champions, master-classes and simultaneous displays. He also wished Anand and Carlsen well for their duel and hoped for a memorial championship.

State decorations were awarded by Igor Levitin to Russian players. The order “For Merit to the Fatherland” of the 1st class was given to Alexandra Kosteniuk, while Natalia Pogonina received order of the 2nd class. Olga Girya and Sergey Rublevsky received Honorary Mentions of the Russian President. The Russian women's team coach and players received an award for conquering the 2014 Chess Olympiad.

Once the mime how “Dance of chess queens” was concluded, Andrzej Filipowicz, Chief Arbiter of the match proceeded for the drawing of lots. Viswanathan Anand will start with white pieces game one. The first move of the 2014 World Chess Championship match will be played on Sunday.

The opening ceremony ended with a stunning performance from singer Tina Kuznetsova and the Jazz Quartet of People's Artist of Russia Igor Butman.

Anand and Carlsen are scheduled to play 12 games with classical time control. Every game will be comprised of 120 minutes for the first 40 moves, 60 minutes for the next 20 moves. From then on, there will be an increase of 30 seconds per move. November 27 has been reserved for he tie-break with quick time controls in case the match is tied.