Vladimir Putin and Vladimir Kramnik


Sochi, 10 May 2016 – A new Chess section has opened today at the Sirius Educational Centre. The launch of the project was announced by Chairman of the Centre’s Board of Trustees, the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, who wished the youngsters and teachers success in mastering the new programme, under which pupils gifted at chess from all around Russia will improve their skills.

The programme’s opening ceremony was attended by Sirius Centre Head Elena Shmeleva, the programme’s author – 14-times Chess World Champion Vladimir Kramnik, President of the Russian Chess Federation Andrey Filatov, pupils and teaching staff of the Centre.

Sirius is a unique educational centre set up by the Talent and Success Educational Fund on the initiative of the Russian President and based at the Sochi Olympic facilities. The main purpose of the project is to identify, develop and provide professional support for children demonstrating gifts in technical creativity, art, the natural sciences and sport. When he opened the Centre in September 2015, Vladimir Putin stated that Sirius must become the key link in our nation-wide system for supporting talented youngsters, serving as a benchmark for all regions; it must set modern standards for schools specialising in specific subjects, for educational institutions under leading higher educational establishments, ballet and art, sports and music colleges and schools.

Speaking at the school opening ceremony, the President of the Russian Federation noted that eminent Russian chess players would help train new grand masters. “I am convinced that, at Sirius, they will definitely reveal their talents,” he said. “I would really like future world champions to come from Sirius.” The head of state went on to say that the Russian chess school was outstanding. “…Chess survived and helped people survive the Great Patriotic War. Yesterday we celebrated the 71st Anniversary of the Victory but, in 1942, when the Battle of Stalingrad had only just begun, a chess tournament was held in Moscow. This is simply amazing, astounding, difficult to imagine”. He added that, even in Leningrad during the blockade, they played chess. “This shows that our country always paid attention to chess and chess always helped the country,” Putin stressed.

Today Sirius runs programmes for young mathematicians, physicists, biologists, chemists, musicians, dancers, artists and sportsmen. The teaching is organised in shifts and includes lessons in the speciality and general education subjects. Chess if the third sports discipline at Sirius, alongside figure skating and ice-hockey. The programme, developed with the active participation of the Russian Chess Federation, is a project in which the advanced Sirius educational practices are combined with the chess school of the ness Russian grand masters.

Pupils throughout the country that have demonstrated outstanding abilities in chess will be trained according to a proprietary methodology developed by 14-times World Chess Champion Vladimir Kramnik under the guidance of Grand Masters Konstantin Sakaev, Vladimir Belikov, Alexander Raetskiy and international Master Mikhail Shereshevskiy. The programme lasts 24 study days. This year, chess shifts at Sirius will be conducted in May, June, August, October and December. Each month, the Centre will take 16 young chess-players. In May, 9 schoolboys and 7 schoolgirls from 14 regions of the country will take part in the programme. Programme participants are selected on the basis of results of the Russian, European and world championships and the FIDE rating. The best of those who complete the Sirius chess sections in 2016 will have a chance to take part in the World Championship among school pupils in Sochi in December.

During the opening ceremony of the new chess section, games of multi-board chess were held by World Champions Vladimir Kramnik and Alexander Kostenyuk and World Champion title contender Sergey Karyakin for the chess course pupils and other Sirius pupils. The participants in the ceremony also visited the exhibitions Chess at War and Chess and Music, organised by the Chess Museum of the Russian Chess Federation.

“The Chess programme at the Sirius Centre is continuing the best traditions of chess training in Russia. Talented young chess players will gather in Sochi from all over the country in order to improve their chess skills and, in the future, worthily represent Russia at international chess championships,” Russian Chess Federation President Andrey Filatov announced. “Today, the RCF is endeavouring to set up grand master schools outside Moscow and St. Petersburg, to make chess training as accessible as possible for youngsters in different parts of the country. This will make it possible not only to have professional young players develop the necessary skills and to train future champions, but also to draw a greater number of school pupils into the ranks of chess fans. Chess is a very beneficial sport, allowing us to bring up a clever, thinking generation. On behalf of all the country’s chess players, I want to express sincere gratitude to the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin for the attention he focuses on our game and for supporting the initiatives to open the chess section at Sirius. I would like to thank everyone who has participated in bringing this idea to life and I hope that, in the future, such projects will be implemented in many other cities of our country.”

“We are very pleased that such a multi-faceted sports discipline as chess has become part of our Centre: in form – competition, in content – art, in complexity – science. The collaboration between Sirius and the Russian Chess Federation is extremely close, the result being an unparalleled training programme. The section pupils will experience a unique educational programme, giving them an opportunity to receive advice from several top world chess players at once,” Sirius Centre Head Elena Shmeleva noted.

The initiators of the new Chess programme at Sirius are convinced that the joint efforts will help popularise children’s chess as a sport, develop the necessary skills in professional young players and draw other pupils of the Centre into the ranks of chess fans.

Vladimir Putin supports Chess

For reference

Talent and Success Educational Fund (the Fund) was established in December 2014 by eminent Russian scientists, sportsmen and members of the arts on the initiative of the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, who headed the Board of Trustees. The aim of the Fund consists in early identification, development and subsequent professional support of gifted children in the spheres of the arts, sport, and the natural sciences, as well as those with achievements in technical creativity. The Fund operates with the support and co-ordination of the Ministries of Education and Science, of Sport and of Culture of the Russian Federation.

For the purpose of achieving the Fund’s goals, in June 2015, the Sirius Educational Centre was opened in Sochi at the Olympic facilities. Each month, up to 600 pupils 10 to 17 year-olds come to the Centre, accompanied by more than 100 teachers and trainers, who undergo further training there.

The educational programme lasts 24 days and includes lessons in the special subject and training sessions (enhanced, specialised training), developmental and health-focused leisure pursuits, master classes and creative meetings, and during the academic year – general subject lessons constituting part of the school programme.

The lessons are given by leading teachers of sports, physics and maths, chemistry and biology schools, members of the Russian arts community in the sphere of academic music, classical ballet and the fine arts. The lectures and master classes at the Centre are given by outstanding sportsmen, members of the arts, scientists and lecturers from leading higher educational institutions.

The Centre’s programmes are free of charge for school children.

There are educational programmes covering three spheres:

  • Science (maths, physics, chemistry and biology);
  • Sport (figure skating, ice-hockey and chess);
  • Art (academic music (piano, strings, wind and percussion instruments), choreography (ballet, classical dance) and painting).

Selection criteria

The participants in the chess classes at the Sirius Educational Centre will be chosen from among 10-17-year-old talented young chess players of the Russian Federation studying in the 5th to 11th classes in Russia’s general educational institutions who have achieved high results in all-Russia and international competitions.

The following results will be taken into consideration in the selection:

  • Results at the latest Russian championship – not below 6th place;
  • Results at the latest World and European championships – not below 10th place;
  • FIDE rating – not below 20th place in the world in their age group;
  • High results at major international and all-Russia competitions;
  • A rise in FIDE rating since the previous year – from 100 points ELO or higher.

A candidate that meets one of the above criteria may be invited to take part in training meets. On the basis of the overall results, a list will be drawn up of sportsmen invited by order of priority.

The list of sportsmen is agreed with the chief trainer of the chess team of the Russian Federation, the RCF trainers’ council and the children’s and young people’s commission of the RCF and is then approved by the members of the Expert Council.

Russian Chess Federation (RCF) is a public non-profit organisation that brings together individuals and chess federation of republics, territories, regions, federal cities, autonomous regions and autonomous areas of the Russian Federation. RCF activities are aimed at the development and popularisation of chess in the Russian Federation. RCF was established on February 15, 1992. The management bodies of the Russian Chess Federation are the Congress and the Supervisory Board of the Russian Chess Federation. The Board of Trustees of the Russian Chess Federation is a collegial advisory and consultative body, acting on a voluntary basis.

RCF organises the annual nationwide White Castle Children’s Chess Tournament for Schools, the Russian Chess Championship and numerous other chess competitions. The Federation’s Chess in Museums initiative has been running successfully in Russia since 2012.

RCF initiates and implements chess development programmes, including those targeting children, and promotes expansion of the network of chess clubs and sections in the regions. RCF manages individual and team competitions in Russia, organises participation of Russian players in international competitions, promotes Russian chess in the international arena, and develops sporting links with national chess federations, national and international organizations, including FIDE.

Cyril Zangalis +7 (968) 732 0080; e-mail: zangalis@mail.ru

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