The official opening ceremony of the FIDE World Chess Championship Match took place on 10 May in the Mikhail Vrubel Hall of the State Tretyakov Gallery.

The participants and guests were welcomed by Arkady Dvorkovich, Chairman of the Supervisory Council of the Russian Chess Federation, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, President of FIDE, and Irina Lebedeva, General Director of the Tretyakov Gallery. The ceremony was attended by Mikhail Gorbachev, first President of the USSR, Alexander Zhukov, Chairman of the Russian Olympic Committee, and Anatoly Karpov, the 12th world chess champion.

Ashot Vardapetyan, the Chief Arbiter of the competition, held the draw in an original style which emphasised the connection between chess and world culture. “Paintings” were displayed on easels on the stage, depicting diagrams of two games that Anand and Gelfand had played previously (back in the 1990s). One of these contests had been won beautifully by the current world champion, while the other ended in a striking victory for the challenger.

Two small wooden boxes had been prepared for the grandmasters, containing pots of paint and brushes. Anand was given first choice, as world champion. The players approached their “paintings” – each going to the game which he had succeeded in winning – dipped their brushes in the paint and signed the “canvas”. At that moment, the spectators saw that Anand had signed his picture with white paint, and Gelfand had signed his with black. Thus in the first round the world champion will play with White. He will also be given the right to play with White in games 3, 5, 8, 10 and 12 (in accordance with the Regulations for the match, the colours will be reversed at the mid-point, after game 6). Gelfand will play with White in games 2, 4, 6, 7, 9 and 11.

The opening ceremony concluded with a concert by the distinguished pianist Denis Matsuev and some young Russian musicians.

The ceremony was preceded by a press conference featuring Vishy Anand and Boris Gelfand, Arkady Dvorkovich and Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, Irina Lebedeva and the entrepreneur Andrei Filatov, the match sponsor. The grandmasters “revealed” their seconds: the world champion will be assisted by Peter Heine Nielsen, Rustam Kasimdzhanov, Radosław Wojtaszek and Surya Ganguly, and the challenger by Alexander Huzman, Maxim Rodshtein and Pavel Eljanov. Irina Lebedeva and Arkady Dvorkovich spoke about the cultural and chess events that will take place during the match. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov expressed his satisfaction with the fact that the contest for the world chess crown is taking place in such an iconic place. Andrei Filatov presented the Tretyakov Gallery with a handmade chess set and expressed the wish that this set might lay the foundation for a chess collection at the Tretyakov Gallery.

The press conference brought together a record number of journalists for a chess competition. A video recording of the press conference and the opening ceremony is available on the official website for the match –

The FIDE World Chess Championship match between the world champion Viswanathan Anand (India) and the challenger Boris Gelfand (Israel) will take place from 10 to 31 May 2012 in the Engineering Building of the State Tretyakov Gallery. Chess championship match will be taking place in one of the world’s biggest museums for the first time. Organisers of the match are FIDE (the World Chess Federation) and the RCF (the Russian Chess Federation). Initiator of the idea of holding the match in Moscow and its sponsor is the Russian entrepreneur Andrei Filatov (joint owner of the N-Trans Group). Other sponsors of the contest include businessman Gennady Timchenko and the Ladoga charitable foundation, and also the NVisionGroup, Novatek and Almaz-Antei companies.

Contact information for journalists:
Mark Glukhovsky
Press Attaché for the Russian Chess Federation
at the World Championship Match

Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
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