Alexander Ipatov: Here we are at the Chigorin Memorial with one of the organizers WGM Irina Sudakova.Thank you very much for giving the interview for Chessdom. How did you manage to organize such strong tournament as the Chigorin Memorial? It literally collects hundreds of titled players!
Irina Sudakova: Hello,Alexander. It might seem surprising, but there are not so many big international tournaments in Russia. “International” often means that there only are players from former Soviet Union republics – which is not the case for Chigorin Memorial. Of course, we invite the high rated grandmasters, but many people just come to take part in the strong tournament, see the city and enjoy their time here.
Alexander Ipatov : The Director of the Chigorin Memorial is Mr.Vladimir Bykov. Can you tell us more about him?
Irina Sudakova : Vladimir is a lecturer at St.Petersburg University of Economics and Finance. About 10 years ago he started organizing the University team for local events like city universities championship and similar – and at some point it was decided to try with a professional team. In 2002 the Finec team appeared and took part in Russian women’s club cup. Then it went on and on, and now our team is silver medalist of European Clup Cup in Plovdiv, and Vladimir is St.Petersburg chess federation’s vice-president and director of M.Chigorin Memorial.
Alexander Ipatov : As far as I know the last year the tournament took place in another hotel? What is the reason for the change this year?
Irina Sudakova: Yes, last year the tournament was held in Holiday Inn hotel. It opened only few months before the event, and for this reason it was possible to get great discounts. This year their prices went higher (which is normal for a high class hotel) and we had to move as it’s important for us to keep the prices for accommodation at the level acceptable for the Russian chess players.
Alexander Ipatov : Who is the sponsor of the festival?
Irina Sudakova : Two years ago the C.E.O. of Gazpromtransgaz St.Petersburg Mr. Georgy Fokin became the president of our city chess federation and since then Gazprom is our sponsor. The traditional M. Chigorin Memorial was brought up to new standard.
Alexander Ipatov : On which media the Chigorin Memorial is covered?
Irina Sudakova : It’s not easy to get their attention – everybody is too much interested in FC Zenit:) The tournament is covered on NTV, radio Mayak and others, our own website www.totalchess.spb.ru, and the biggest European chess sites, like Chessdom.
Alexander Ipatov : Are you going to organize the Chigorin Memorial the next year?
Irina Sudakova : Yes – if we have money for it, of course!
Alexander Ipatov : Tell us more about yourself. What is chess for you: a profession, a hobby, a passion?
Irina Sudakova : I used to be a chess player for a long time. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to make a living only by playing tournaments being a female grandmaster. So 2 years ago I decided to quit and now I work in St.Petersburg chess federation. Chess is a disease that can’t be completely healed, so I still play once in a while mostly some rapid or blitz, but I don’t depend on my results anymore.