The FIDE Candidates Tournament is open in Khanty-Mansiysk 12.03.2014News, News featurePress The opening ceremony of one of the most important chess tournaments of the year – the candidates tournament – took place on March 12 in Khanty-Mansiysk. Eight top grandmasters of the world are going to compete for three weeks for 600,000 Euro prize fund and the opportunity to challenge the World Champion Magnus Carlsen (Norway), given to the eventual winner. The line-up consists of the former World Champion Vishy Anand (India), who lost his title only a year ago, 2013 World Cup winner Vladimir Kramnik, 2013 World Cup runner-up Dmitry Andreikin (both Russia), 2012-13 FIDE Grand Prix winners Veselin Topalov (Bulgaria) and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan), two players qualified by rating Levon Aronian (Armenia) and Sergey Karjakin (Russia), and the player nominated by the organizers – Peter Svidler (Russia). The opening ceremony took place at the concert hall Ugra-Classic and was attended by Natalia Komarova, Ukra Governor and Vice-President of Russian Chess Federation, and Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, FIDE President. “We are just as nervous as the candidates, – said Natalia Vladimirovna. – A chess board has 64 squares. The candidates tournaments are also played for 64 years. Each square of the board saw thousands of combinations, but we nevertheless expect more brilliance and ingenious games from our players. Chess teaches honesty, fairness and respect to the opponent. I’d very much like to see these rules universally accepted”, – concluded the Governor. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov noted that Khanty-Mansiysk continues to bring pleasant surprises: “This tournament and its opening ceremony is a great gift to the players. Since 2005 Ugra is recognized as Chess Mecca. Three great champions gathered here today, and together with five other outstanding players they will have to determine a new title contender”. He also drew attention to the fact that chess in Ugra is not only a professional sport, but a mass sport, and sport in Ugra is highly developed. Ugra representatives recently won four Olympic medals in Sochi, including two gold medals. The opening ceremony continued with a concert show peformed by Ugra-Classic creative team. The unique 8 ton pipe organ with mammoth bone keys was the center of attention – and chess, of course! “Life is like chess, it’s just a clever arrangement of pieces on the black and white board”. This quote by writer Oleg Roy was a theme of the show. Enchanted by mysterious sound of organ, the spectators watched a historical show with elements of dance and theater, filled with quotes about the most intelligent game in the world. The first round begins at 1 pm March 13 at the Ugra Chess Academy with the following games: Dmitry Andreikin – Vladimir Kramnik, Sergey Krajakin – Peter Svidler, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov – Veselin Topalov, Vishy Anand – Levon Aronian. The live video is provided by ChessTV. More photos.