President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan, who also serves as President of the Chess Federation of the country, attended the grand opening of the FIDE Candidates Tournament 2018 in Berlin on March 9.
Sargsyan attends FIDE Candidates Tournament grand opening as honorary guest
STEPANAKERT, MARCH 10, ARTSAKHPRESS:The Armenian president was the honorary guest at the event – an acknowledgment for Armenia’s contribution to the development and outreach of chess.
President Sargsyan delivered remarks at the inauguration of the chess tournament, the President’s Office said.
Ullrich Krause, president of Germany’s Chess Federation and FIDE Vice President Georgios Makropoulous also delivered opening remarks.
World Chess President Ilya Merenzon and Vice President of the Russian Chess Federation Andrei Guryev – the organizers of the event – delivered speeches as well.
At the end of the opening ceremony the 8 renowned chess players who will compete at the tournament were introduced.
The full transcript of the president’s remarks runs as follows:
“Dear Mr. Makropoulous,
Dear participants of the tournament,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Today is a major event for global chess – the Candidates Tournament is beginning, which is highly anticipated by millions of fans around the world.
I believe this is a unique destination for the chess giants present here today, who only hours later will kick off this giant tournament for the right to challenge world champion Magnus Carlsen.
I am proud and also grateful to the organizers for having the chance to make the first symbolic move at this tournament, as the best appreciation for the contribution which our country has had for the development and outreach of chess. Although Armenia is not a big country by size and population many believe it to be a chess superpower, because in the past several years the national chess team of Armenia, which also includes the current candidate Levon Aronian, has captured three Olympic titles and one world champion title.
Chess is a unique game which has been tested by time. It is very much similar to life where the final result greatly depends on the moves which you’ve done, while after the game all pieces – be it a King or an ordinary pawn, are stored in the same box. Perhaps this is the reason that for many centuries mankind loves to play chess, is discovering its new and hidden sides, is trying to uncover the endless secrets and depth of this wise game.
Chess is a game, but also an art and science. It teaches the culture of accurate calculation and thinking, creativity and honest competition. It forces to deeply respect your opponent. Realizing the positive impact of chess on children’s reasoning, flexibility and development of creative mind and other features, Armenia became the first country in the world to include chess in its national curriculum.
I can happily state that our society accepted this with great excitement and the positive results can already be felt. Certainly, we are happy that the Chess In Schools program is being spread in other countries too.
The world’s first scientific research institute of chess was opened in Armenia this year. We hope that the studies and activities of the institute will discover the yet unknown sides of chess.
The World Chess Federation, which today unites 189 countries, bears great responsibility in developing and spreading chess, by being a highly important chess body.
I would like to thank FIDE for the continuous and productive cooperation with Armenia’s chess federation and wish new achievements.
I would like to take this opportunity to also thank the Berlin City Hall and the organizers for giving us this chess fest. Holding the tournament at the high level will be a great contribution and stimulus for global development of chess.
Dear chess players,
This tournament is unique by its nature. The best of the best are competing for the title of candidate. Here the difference between the first and second places is huge because the winner will continue his struggle for the chess crown. But the participation in the tournament itself is already a great honor for any chess player which proves great chess mastery. For many it is a dream and life goal to be among these eight chosen ones. Each of you has deserved this place as a result of lengthy and persistent struggle by overcoming difficult selection phases.
I am sure that this tournament will be tense but also interesting, and we will witness numerous beautiful and meaningful games.
Being in the homeland of renowned chess player, 2nd world champion Emanuel Lasker, who held the chess throne for 27 consecutive years, I would like to conclude my speech with his advice: “When you see a good move, look for a better one”.
I wish all of the candidates success, and may the strongest win.