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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Andrey Filatov: I’m Pleased that Museums Want to Hold Chess Tournaments

Main sponsor Andrey Filatov of the 2012 Anand, Gelfand World Chess Championship has said that he is very pleased about his idea of holding a chess event in a museum has found favor with organisers around the world. Filatov was speaking to Eteri Kublashvili for a special interview ahead of the tiebreaks that would decide the 2012 World Chess Champion in Moscow on Wednesday. Here are excerpts from the interview via the official website.

- Andrey, first of all I’d like to ask you your thoughts on the match. What do you think of the atmosphere and how the match has been organised? Are you satisfied?
I am. And it’s not just me; I think the spectators and special guests have enjoyed it as well. A number of governors and town mayors have already told me that they are planning to hold competitions for youngsters in regional and city museums. It could become a really nice tradition...

- It’s no secret that you’d like to hold a tournament in the Louvre...
- Yes, the Alekhine Memorial. The Franco-Russian Chamber of Commerce officially confirmed that the Louvre has given its consent. Now we’re looking for a Russian museum. We’re going to approach the Russian Chess Federation so that they can work together with the French Chess Federation and the CCIFR to find a Russian museum worthy of co-hosting the Alekhine Memroial with the Louvre.

- What format will the event take?
- We haven’t decided on all the details yet, but it will be tournament of the very highest class. Half the tournament will take place in the Louvre, while the other half will take place in a Kazan museum, for example, or in another Russian museum.

- Where did the idea come from to hold the match in a museum, in the Tretyakov Gallery?
- It’s a good excuse to show Russian art to the world. By the way, the first ever chess match to be held in a museum was the International Tournament in 1935, which took place at the Pushkin Museum. Stalin wanted to popularise Russian culture and demonstrate to foreign journalists that the Soviet Union was not in the habit of selling-out its national values; on the contrary, it keeps them.

- Your plan came together when Boris Gelfand – with whom you are friends – won the Candidates’ Tournament, didn’t it?
- It’s thanks to Boris that the idea to hold the match in Moscow first appeared. But it was only after Moscow had won the right to host the match that we began to think about the Tretyakov.

- And what if someone else had won in Kazan?
- Well, if it had been a Russian player, then I think it would have been a similar story.

- You were born in Ukraine, but went to university in Minsk. What was behind that decision?
- I went to school in Dnepropetrovsk, but there wasn’t a single university in the city that had a chess programme. So I had to choose between Moscow, Minsk and Lviv.

- It’s well known that you went to university in Minsk with Boris Gelfand and Ilya Smirin. What was it that brought you three together?
- Smirin introduced me to Gelfand in 1989 on the Dnipropetrovsk airfield. They were en route to Minsk following some international competition or other. The chess world is very small – everybody knows each other – and we had an interesting journey together. There are a great number of chess players from Minsk here at the match – our teacher Leonid Bondar, Gennady Sagalchik, and the Atlas brothers, for example. Boris has got friends from seven countries who have come to cheer him on. And he’s got them all together here.


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