“Kazakhstan proved that it is willing to further develop chess,” President of the World Chess Federation (FIDE) Kirsan Ilyumzhinov told the media, as he explained why Astana was chosen over other city candidates. “Everybody shows their interest including the highest state officials.”
According to Ilyumzhinov, Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev mentioned during their last meeting two years ago that he had encouraged the development of chess among Kazakh youth.
“The results are apparent even today. The Kazakhstan Chess Federation is among the fastest developing federations with 1,500 players in FIDE ratings, among them 20 are international grand masters,” Ilyumzhinov said. “It is a pleasure to see that chess among youth is growing and your female players are becoming champions on the continent and are challenging positions on the world stage. I hope they will fight to become world champions.”
“As for the tournament in October, it will be good for the country to gain hosting experience and submit a big list of participants,” he explained.
Ilyumzhinov also commented on the Chess Palace that is to be constructed in Astana.
“A piece of land is allocated for the construction of the International Chess Centre. This Chess Palace is to become a landmark not only in Kazakhstan but in the world. It would receive a status of a subsidiary of the International Chess Academy and will be the centre of symposiums and seminars, in order to prepare specialists in different areas including coaches. There will also be a specialised museum and a library and Internet rooms that would give a chance to participate in large tournaments,” Ilyumzhinov said.
“Most likely, the Palace will be located opposite Nazarbayev University, where EXPO 2017 would be located, and we are also interested in that vicinity,” Ilyumzhanov said.
The exact dates for the commencement of the construction will be worked out with President Nazarbayev and Astana Akim (Mayor) Imangali Tasmagambetov, according to the FIDE president.
Among the most successful Kazakh chess players in 2013 were world champions Dinara Saduakasova and Zhansaya Abdumalik. And in January 2014, Abdumalik played four matches in an impromptu friendly tournament against Anatoliy Karpov, the former world champion, losing two matches, drawing another and winning one match.