Alexander Khozov: “Chess will become one of the main sports in our region”
Thursday, 13 May 2010
Alexander Khozov, the minister of sports and tourism of the Astrakhan Region, answered the questions of the journalists at the press-conference.
Question: Who suggested the idea to organize a Grand Prix event in Astrakhan?
A.K.: It happened rather spontaneously. Our Governor received an offer from FIDE, and decided that we must organize this event in Astrakhan. The reason is obvious – this tournament will give a boost to chess development in the region.
Q: Why chess?
A.K.: One has to understand that this Grand Prix is a world class event, similar to tennis Grand Slam. The best chess players in the world are fighting for the ticket to the candidates matches, where they can challenge the chess crown. Having such a competition is interesting for us in any case. First of all, it promotes our region, and, second, chess development is one of the priorities in the Astrakhan Region.
Q: How difficult was
organizing such a serious event?
A.K.: Obviously it was quite
challenging. However, we received a lot of help from FIDE
representatives, who have vast experience in arranging chess events. As
far as I know, the players were saying that they have no complaints
about the level of organization, and this makes us happy. I have to
admit that organizing such competition is a very serious and scrupulous
work that demands a lot of money, too.
Q: The players seem to
really like the playing venue, the Youth Theatre. Who selected this
A.K.: This competition is organized as one of the events
dedicated to the 450th anniversary of our city. We renewed or
reconstructed almost all theatres and historical buildings in the city,
and decided to use the Youth Theatre for this event, because it meets
all the demands. Also, it was chosen by a FIDE inspector, who visited
other buildings we offered – the Drama Theatre, the Conservatory, and
Q: What do you think about future of chess in
A.K.: I am sure that this Grand Prix will promote
chess to one of the main sports in our region. Do you like the current
state of chess in Astrakhan? I am not happy about it at all. Chess
players don’t even have a place to meet, and there is no real chess
school in the city.
The Governor has already taken all the
appropriate decisions. Construction of a new Musical Theatre will be
finished in the autumn. We already examined this building with FIDE
representatives, and it seems to be an excellent place for a chess
development center. The FIDE President will help us to equip the hall
that is reserved for chess needs.
Q: Are you satisfied with
the course of the tournament?
A.K.: Yes, of course. It is still
underway, but the players and FIDE officials were very complementary
about our work.
Q: Do you play chess yourself?
Yes, I played chess actively when I was a kid – made a second category
and won the regional “Belaya Ladya” championship. Now I follow all the
major chess events with great interest, not only as chess enthusiast,
but also as sports minister.