FIDE Women’s Candidates Tournament kicks off in Kazan Print
Thursday, 30 May 2019 19:34
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The tournament with the world strongest female players competing for a spot in the World Championship match, was officially opened in the Kazan Palace Hotel on May 30.

The spectacular opening ceremony welcomed all participants, journalists, local chess players, guests and officials to the capital of Tatarstan Republic. Victor Bologan (FIDE Executive Director),  Vasil Shakhraziev (Deputy Prime-Minister of the Republic of Tatarstan), Mark Glukhovsky (Executive Director of Russian Chess Federation) and Khalil Shaikhutdinov (Deputy Minister of Sports of the Republic of Tatarstan) gave speeches during the official part of the ceremony.

The opening ceremony included choreographic and musical performances that attached a very good mood to the participants and guests of the tournament. The vocal-choreographic composition "World Chess" was performed by "Way from the city" and "WOW" bands. There were performances from Cover-orchestra "Just Brass" and the Honored Artist of the Republic of Tatarstan Aidar Suleimanov. Classical ballet performance by ballet «Allegro» meshed with breakdancing by «Action man crew» in a surprising way. The inspirational video "World Crown", prepared specially for the tournament, was also shown during the ceremony.

Chief Arbiter IA Hal Bond informed the public about the format of the FIDE Women's Candidates tournament and invited all players to the stage for a group photo.

The drawing of lots ceremony took place one month before the start of the tournament, on April 30 in Moscow and was attended by Arkady Dvorkovich, President of FIDE, and Judit Polgar, the strongest female player in the history of chess and Honorary FIDE Vice-President.

Thus, the following games will be played in the first round on May 31:

V. Gunina – K. Lagno,
A. Kosteniuk – A. Goryachkina,
N. Dzagnidze – Tan Zhongyi,
M. Muzychuk – A. Muzychuk

The venue is Nogai Hotel (16B, Profsojuznaja St., Kazan).

All rounds begin at 3 pm local time.

The winner of the FIDE Women's Candidates Tournament qualifies for the World Championship Match with Ju Wenjun (China), where both players will compete for a total prize fund of €500,000, which is 150% percent bigger than in the previous championship match.

The organizers are FIDE, Russian Chess Federation, Government of the Republic of Tatarstan, Ministry of Sports of the Republic of Tatarstan, and city administration of Kazan. The tournament is sponsored by PJSC PhosAgro and Russian Railways.

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Pre-competition press conference took place at the FIDE Women's Candidates Tournament in Kazan

A press-conference dedicated to the start of the FIDE Women's Candidates Tournament in Kazan took place at AO Tatmedia on May 30. It was attended by FIDE Executive Director Victor Bologan, RCF Executive Director Mark Glukhovsky, First Deputy Minister of Sport of the Republic of Tatarstan Khalil Shaikhutdinov, and two tournament participants, Kateryna Lagno (Russia) and Nana Dzagnidze (Georgia).

Victor Bologan pointed out the high level of organization of the FIDE Women's Candidates Tournament in Kazan: "There wasn't much time to prepare. FIDE is grateful to Tatarstan and Kazan for taking care of this outstanding tournament. Apart from the Candidates Tournament, many more events will be carried out alongside. And there is no doubt that everything will be held to the highest of standards."

Mark Glukhovsky, in turn, underscored that the tournament is regarded as a major event not only in Russia, but internationally: "Kazan hosted a chess event of a similar caliber in 2011. It was the Candidates Tournament as well, only among men. We are very grateful to the organizers who decided to refresh their past experience and repeat the event, for women this time.

The winner of the tournament will play the Women's World Championship Match against the reigning champion, Ju Wenjun from China.

When we organize a major tournament, we always try to prepare a diverse program for our spectators. This is a long competition with four rest days. People who work at the tournament -I am primarily talking about our commentators-, will host master classes on the rest days.

This will be our first attempt of going outdoors as well. We will place a chess tent on Kazan's main pedestrianized street, Bauman street. On playing days, the onlookers will be able to listen to the live commentary, and on rest days the tent will be hosting open blitz events. Hopefully it will be a positive and exciting experience", concluded Mr. Glukhovsky.

Khalil Shaikhutdinov greeted the audience on behalf of the Ministry of Sports of the Republic of Tatarstan:
"What an exciting occasion – once again Kazan is hosting a major international chess event, the Women's Candidates Tournament! I would like to thank FIDE and Russian Chess Federation for their vote of confidence, the decision to carry out this tournament here, in the capital of Russian sport."

Kateryna Lagno, who has played in Kazan in the past, shared her memories about the city and her expectations from the tournament:

"Of course, I am very excited to return to Kazan. I really liked it the last time. We are staying in downtown Kazan, the weather is wonderful. As for the tournament, I expect it to be very exciting. Even the ratings of the participants are very similar. Trying to predict the results in women's chess is absolutely pointless. Hopefully the spectators will enjoy it, and the battle will go down to the wire", said the Russian player.

Nana Dzagnidze also abstained from making predictions: "I will not speak about chances, as everyone has a chance in this tournament. I am personally happy to be here. I think this is the strongest tournament in the history of women's chess. I will try to play my best", promised the Georgian Grandmaster.

Official website https://fwct2019.com/en/

Photos from the press-conference and the opening ceremony: https://fwct2019.com/en/media/photos
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