Young chess players follow the Grand Prix games in Khanty-Mansiysk

Young chess players follow the Grand Prix games in Khanty-Mansiysk

More than half the distance of the concluding stage of the FIDE Grand Prix in Khanty-Mansiysk is in the books, and the most thrilling games are still ahead.

Chess fans can follow the encounters of the top players from anywhere in the world, as these games are relayed online with video. The official site of the tournament also covers all the games with expert commentary. Our data shows that the first five rounds gathered about 180,000 viewers online, with English speakers outnumbering Russian speakers by 2 to 1.

However, not everybody makes use of this innovative technology, preferring to see the games with their own eyes. Students of the Ugra Chess Academy can be spotted in the playing hall during each round. They follow the games closely, although they admit that playing chess is even more interesting than watching it.

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Nikita studies chess only for four months. “I like to play chess, especially in such a nice building as our Chess Academy. We can also train against the computer, and sometimes I even manage to beat the machine”, said the young pupil.

According to statistical data, nearly 25,000 children of the Ugra Autonomous Okrug study chess. Ugra is a leading region of Russia when it comes to introducing chess at schools. One out of ten school children studies this mind sport thanks to the “Chess at schools” project.

The English-speaking commentator of the Grand Prix, grandmaster Evgeny Miroshnichenko: “Everyone should know the basic ideas of chess and be familiar with its culture. We should not force children to play, but they should learn to appreciate and enjoy chess. Chess should be taught in such a way that would excite and motivate students. They should understand that those skills they develop during chess classes will help them in life – for instance, the ability to calculate several moves ahead. I am glad that it is well understood in Ugra.”

Ugra is also the leading region of Russia in organizing online chess tournaments. These virtual tournaments welcome everyone no matter how far they live. Young chess players of Ugra often compete with children from other Russian regions and foreign countries. It should also be mentioned that the top Russian chess coaches give online master classes for the young chess enthusiasts of Ugra twice a year.