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The Opening Ceremony for FIDE Open and Women’s World Team Chess Championships took place in the capital of Ugra. For the first time in the history of chess, both events will be held at the same time and in the same place from June 16 to June 27, 2017.

Grand opening ceremony was staged in the CTC “Ugra-Classic” that is already familiar to many chessplayers.

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The official part of the event was opened by Governor of Ugra Ms. Natalya Komarova. First of all, the Head of the region read out the welcome letter of the President of Russian Federation. Siding with Vladimir Putin, she shared the people of Ugra’s feelings about this event: “We host a chess tournament of this level for the first time. The integration of two championships creates fantastic good vibrations for participants, supporters and organizers. We are grateful to FIDE for this decision. I think that you are going to be surprised with our summer that is much warmer than in many European cities of our country. I hope that you will manage to surprise us, your fans, with new combinations, brilliant moves and fine play. Let the strongest win! Welcome to Ugra!”

FIDE Vice-President Boris Kutin also greeted all the teams and their supporters: “I am simply very pleased to say the words “Welcome to Khanty-Mansiysk” because I have already lost count of my visits here. This is a small city with a great heart! Khanty-Mansiysk is a number one city in the world of chess!”

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President of the Russian Chess Federation, FIDE Vice-President Andrey Filatov expressed his gratitude to FIDE, Ugra and personally to Natalya Komarova: “Thank you ever so much! I agree with my colleague Mr. Kutin, for Khanty-Mansiysk is a great heart indeed. Thank you for your hospitality and all this cordiality we have already felt”! Boris Kutin pronounced main words of the night: “I declare the FIDE World Chess Team Championships open!”

A final and most expected moment of the official part was tournament pairing. Actors dressed as shamans of indigenous northern peoples in the course of their mystical dance have passed their main attributes, 10 shaman drums where the numbers were hidden, to other actors dressed as pawns. Then those souls of chess, as chess theoretician Fran?ois-Andr? Philidor used to call them, stood in line waiting to be chosen by a representative of a participating team. The number on the national musical instrument indicated the team’s position in the tournament table.

Teams were arranged as follows:

Open: 1. China, 2. India, 3. USA, 4. Egypt, 5. Turkey, 6. Ukraine, 7. Russia, 8. Norway, 9. Poland, 10. Belarus.

Round 1 pairs:

China – Belarus, India – Poland, USA – Norway, Egypt – Russia, Turkey – Ukraine.

Women: 1. USA, 2. India, 3. Poland, 4. Egypt, 5. Russia, 6. China, 7. Vietnam, 8. Azerbaijan, 9. Georgia, 10. Ukraine.

Round 1 pairs:

USA – Ukraine, India – Georgia, Poland – Azerbaijan, Egypt – Vietnam, Russia – China.

In the final part of the ceremony, the Okrug’s main theater scene was given to professional musicians and dancing groups that presented their colorful numbers.

Let us remind you that first games of the championships will be played on Saturday, June 17, at 15:00.

Official website: ugra2017.fide.com

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Source: World Chess Federation – FIDE