International Chess Day was marked at the Artek camp with a chess tournament and a game of multiboard chess with Sergey Karjakin. The camp’s 18 best chess players competed against the chess grandmaster in a blitz tournament, which lasted an hour. Karjakin beat 17 competitors and tied with Ilya Abramov from Artek’s Lesnoi Camp. Karjakin said it was a difficult game and that the Artek chess players mounted serious resistance.
Artek has a rich chess history. The famous Artek children include the legendary chess player Anatoly Karpov and President of the World Chess Federation (FIDE) Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. Artek hosted the 7th and 8th Children’s Chess Olympiads in 1999 and 2000, and the camp’s authorities do their best to promote this intellectual game among the children.
“Chess is part of life of a normal human being,” Artek Director Alexei Kasprzhak said. “Looking at the figures, trying to grasp the arrangement and to think at least one step ahead of your opponent... This is life: those who think ahead and act on their perception of the future are more successful than others. This is why we want to turn Artek’s chess tradition into a new trend. There is a famous chess player who was born in Crimea and studied at the local chess school. He is Sergey Karjakin. We want our children to become inspired by the story of this successful young person. We would be happy if they had a chessboard next to the books they bring from Artek.”
As per the rules of multiboard chess, Karjakin played White. Combinations differed from one chessboard to another and included King’s Indian Defense and the Four Knights Game. Everyone’s attention was gradually drawn to the board on which Ilya Abramov from the Lesnoi Camp was playing against the grandmaster. Ultimately, Ilya gained a positional advantage over Karjakin, who agreed to a tie.
“I am impressed! The Artek children played very well,” Sergey Karjakin said. “Everyone had their own style, some playing a defensive and others an offensive game. I believe that such tournaments as this one are very important for those who are taking their first steps in chess. I was happy with our communication, drawing on the children’s energy and vivaciousness. I love Artek. I was at the camp when I was just 10 and now I am 28. This is a long interval, yet I remember how different it was back then. The center has been revamped, and there are new programs. I will oversee a chess school that will open at Artek soon. I am ready to consult the school’s staff on the training methods and the best textbooks and make myself generally useful.”
In conclusion, Sergey thanked the young chess players for the game and presented awards to the winners of the traditional children’s chess tournament held at Artek. The team from the Lesnoi Camp won the tournament, children from the Rechnoi Camp came second and the Morskoi Camp took the third place.
“It was fun playing with Sergey. I badly wanted to win, but I lacked the time and experience,” Ilya Abramov said. He has come to Artek from the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Area in western Siberia. “Anyway, this game was very important to me. I have gained experience, which will help me in my chess career and also in my life.”
“Sergey Karjakin is a chess genius and one of the best grandmasters in the world. I have been playing chess for seven years, and I couldn’t even dream about playing with him,” said Maria Polomoshnova from Barnaul, Altai Territory in southern Siberia. “It was a very interesting and difficult game, as well as invaluable for gaining more experience. I know now that I should play a more aggressive game rather than lose time in defense. It is great that such people as Sergey come to Artek to communicate with us and hold workshops.”
During his visit, Sergey Karjakin also planted a laurel tree on the Alley of Athletes and attended a news conference within the framework of the 10 Questions for Adults project. The children greeted Karjakin on International Chess Day and presented him with a cake made by an international team of children from all of the Artek camps.