International Chess Federation
Tuesday, 09 Jun 2020 15:02
Anniversary chess match Space - Earth ends in a draw

On June 9, the second chess match between Space and Earth took place in the main hall of the Moscow Museum of Cosmonautics. The event has been co-organized by the Moscow Museum of Cosmonautics, the Roscosmos State Corporation, the Chess Federation of Russia, and the social network VKontakte.

The match featured pilot-cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin, Hero of the Russian Federation, and test-cosmonaut Ivan Vagner, who played from aboard the International Space Station.  Representing team Earth was Sergey Karjakin – a former Rapid and Blitz World Champion, and two-time winner of the world team championships as part of the Russian team. He was making his moves in the Moscow Museum of Cosmonautics.

The match was timed with the half-century anniversary of the first Space – Earth chess game played on June 9, 1970. Just like 50 years ago, the first move advantage belonged to the space crew.

The game ended in a draw after a sharp tactical battle in the Ruy Lopez. The VKontakte platform attracted more than 800,000 people watching the match broadcast.

A cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin noted that it was a great honor for cosmonauts to hold their ground against a grandmaster.

Sergey Karjakin also shared his impressions of the game: “In this game, my emotions ran higher than in any game I played in the world championship match. This is because when you play against team Space, you have no idea what to expect. The game was very interesting and sharp, and, at the same time, quite a correct one in terms of chess content. I do not think the opponents have made any mistakes; therefore, a draw is a natural outcome. A human brain seems to function extremely well in space. Space brings people together, they say. As we have seen today, chess can indeed help people of various professions reach each other even across space. With this in mind, let us organize such matches more frequently than on a once-per-50-year basis.

The anniversary match became the culmination of celebrations dedicated to the legendary chess game.

A well-known TV presenter and sports commentator Dmitry Guberniev and the head of the Museum’s press service Daria Chudnaya hosted the show. The Minister of Sports of the Russian Federation Oleg Matytsin, Director General of the Roscosmos State Corporation Dmitry Rogozin, and the Museum of Cosmonautics Director Natalya Artyukhina sent greetings to the participants of this match. During the stream, the audience had a chance to watch a video telling a story behind the legendary space chess set used in the first Space – Earth match and an interview with the multiple World Champion Anatoly Karpov.

You can watch the match with commentary in English on the YouTube channels of Roscosmos and FIDE.

Photos: Eteri Kublashvili

About the organizers:

The Museum of Cosmonautics is one of the largest scientific and technical museums in Russia. The history of the museum starts in 1964 when the Monument to the Conquerors of Space first appeared on the map of Moscow. 

Today, the Museum of Cosmonautics is one of the top three most visited museums in Moscow’s Department of Culture. The modern museum exposition is composed of eight exhibition halls. The museum’s collection includes more than 99,000 items: samples of rocket and aerospace technology, authentic relics, documents, philately, numismatics, decorative and applied works of art, and collections of paintings and graphics.

The museum tells the stories of the conquerors of space. Among them: the famous Belka and Strelka, authentic descent vehicles from Soyuz spacecraft, a model of the first artificial satellite “Sputnik,” the original Lunokhod control panel, a full-scale model of the base module of the “Mir” space station, and other space artifacts.

Official website of the museum:

ROSCOSMOS is a State Corporation established in August 2015 to oversee and implement a comprehensive reform of the Russian space industry.

State Space Corporation ROSCOSMOS ensures the implementation of the Russian government’s space program and its legal regulation. ROSCOSMOS also places orders for the development, manufacture, and supply of space equipment and space infrastructure objects.

The state corporation is also responsible for international space cooperation and tasked with setting the stage for the future application of space activities findings for Russia's social and economic development.

Official website of SC ROSCOSMOS:

Chess Federation of Russia (CFR) (from 1992 till 2019 known as the Russian Chess Federation) is an All-Russian non-governmental organization uniting regional chess federations as well as being a member of the International Chess Federation (FIDE). The Federation was founded in 1992 as a successor to the USSR Chess Federation.

The CFR charter recognizes the Federation congress as the supreme governing body to be convened at least once every four years. Besides, the collegiate governing body is the Federation’s Supervisory Board, which consists of five vice presidents and 26 representatives of regional federations. Since 2014, the sole executive authority has been vested with President of the Russian Chess Federation (since 2019, the Russian Federation of Chess). Andrey Filatov is the CFR’s current President.

The CFR is a direct organizer of many national and international tournaments, including the Russian Championship Higher League, Russian Team Championship, and the international tournament Belaya Ladya. The CFR also hosts the Russian Rapid and Blitz Championships, the Russian Cup, the Grand Prix Rapid, and the Children's Russian Cup.

Official website of the Russian Chess Federation is: