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Saturday, September 29, 2012

More Chess in Moscow, Says City Chess Fed Chief Palikhata

Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2012

Hi everyone,

Muscovites Will Play Chess in Coffee Shops and Parks
MOSCOW, Sept. 28, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Chess, phenomenally popular in the USSR since the 1920s, when the state invested heavily in the game to show the world the prevalence of communism, is back in fashion in Moscow. Soon, young Muscovites will be able to enjoy a game of chess in cafes and parks all over the city.
Moscow Chess Federation President Vladimir Palikhata (left) and Grandmaster Boris Gelfand at the opening ceremony of World Chess Grand Prix in London. (PRNewsFoto/MCF)

Vladimir Palikhata, well-known businessman and philanthropist, became the President of the Moscow Chess Federation in 2012 and was impressed by how popular chess is among young people. “I feared that only people who remember the Fischer-Spassky times play chess and I was thrilled to learn that the game is most popular among 14-35 year-olds. Our next big tournament took place at Strelka Institute, heart of the Moscow hipster culture, and the turnout was phenomenal. Now we are taking chess to cafes,” says Palikhata.

Moscow Chess Federation is also actively involved in promoting chess around the world. Vladimir Palikhata, today called upon London to embrace the sport of chess. In a letter to mayor Boris Johnson, Mr. Palikhata, said that London should build upon the sporting legacy of the Olympics by actively supporting the game in London schools and chess clubs.

He said: “It has been proven that playing chess has a hugely beneficial impact on academic performance in schools and London could play a key role in the revival of the sport in England – a country with a proud history in the sport. And London is nearly as cold and wet as Moscow during the dark winter months. What better sport than chess to occupy our efforts.” Mr Palikhata’s remarks come as London plays host to the first Grand Prix in the new World Chess Championship Cycle.

Mr. Palikhata was present at the opening ceremony for the London Grand Prix, which took place at Somerset House on September 20. The Moscow Chess Federation co-hosted the event, which saw over 300 distinguished guests witness exhibition blitz games between the world’s leading chess players. Guests included FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, and chess enthusiast Lily Cole, the supermodel and actress.

“We are studying other cities’ experience and integrating chess into Moscow’s urban culture. By 2013, chessboards will be in over 500 Moscow cafes,” added Palikhata.

Moscow Chess Federation, established in 1970, aims to develop and popularize chess in the Russian capital.

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