Best Chess Players Share $90,000 Prize Fund at International Chess Festival

ASTANA – The strongest chess players shared a record prize fund of 40 million tenge ($90,094) at the Astana Zhuldyzdary (Stars of Astana) International Chess Festival, the tournament’s press service reported on July 19.

Closing ceremony of Astana Zhuldyzdary International Chess Festival on July 19. Photo credit: festival’s press service.

Astana Zhuldyzdary, hosted on July 11-19 to mark the capital’s 25th anniversary and headed by well-known Kazakh chess player Dinara Saduakassova, featured incredible chess battles, where many players bestowed new international titles, and some became grandmasters (GMs). It contributed to boosting chess development by involving new players and discovering new talents.

Aditya Mittal of India won a four million tenge ($9,009) cash prize for taking first place at the tournament. Ukrainian GM Alexander Moiseenko took silver and received 3.5 million tenge ($7,883), while Israel’s Evgeny Alexeev got the bronze and three million tenge ($6,757).

The winners were awarded by the Kazakh Minister of Culture and Sports Askhat Oralov, Kazakh Olympic champion Serik Sapiyev, representatives of the Kazakhstan Chess Federation, and other renowned public figures and athletes.

More than 800 chess players from 16 countries, most of whom are children, participated in the festival in Astana and showcased their skills and experience.

Children and adults with special needs, including musculoskeletal, vision, hearing, and other impairments, also competed at the tournament.

“It was a real festival of intelligence, victories, and new achievements. Astana Zhuldyzdary was a vivid example of how chess can unite people of different ages, nationalities, and cultures, creating strong ties and friendly relations,” Saduakassova said at the closing ceremony.

The festival hosted four tournaments, including the Kazakhstan Cup stage among men and women, amateur, junior, and blitz. Some of the games lasted for three to five hours.

Participants included top chess players, including GM Hans Moke Niemann of the United States, Armenian GMs Shant Sargsyan and Manuel Petrosyan, Asian women’s chess champion Divya Deshmukh of India, and other players from Azerbaijan, Israel and Ukraine.

The festival included a first seminar for the title of the International Chess Federation (FIDE) Organizer in Kazakhstan, headed by international arbiter and FIDE lecturer Vadim Tsypin from Canada, aimed at training Kazakh professionals who can conduct world-class chess tournaments according to FIDE standards.

Azamat Zhamanchinov, Child Protection Officer of the United Nations Children’s Fund in Kazakhstan, taught parents about the principles of positive parenthood and trust building in relationships with children.

He emphasized that violence can be both physical and psychological, stressing the dangers of ignoring children’s needs.

The festival organized games between children and high-ranking players, including Saduakassova, Kazakh GM Murtas Kazhgaleyev, Ukrainian GM Vitaliy Bernadskiy and Belarusian GM Vladislav Kovalev.

The festival organizers also offered children tours to the National Museum of Kazakhstan, the Nur-Alem EXPO spherical museum, the oceanarium, and the Atameken Ethno-Memorial Complex.

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