World Chess Hall of Fame

The Hall of Fame has moved to Saint Louis, from its former home in Miami

The World Chess Hall of Fame began in 1986 and is a nonprofit organization committed to building awareness for the cultural and artistic significance of chess.

The arts-based institution will present exhibitions of artistic and historical significance from collectors and nationally and internationally recognized artists. It will also offer interpretive programs, such as dance, music and art performances, that lend context and meaning to chess.

In addition, the Hall of Fame will commemorate the careers of its members. By enhancing public understanding and appreciation for chess, the Hall of Fame will serve as a catalyst for the advancement, development and understanding of the game.

The Hall of Fame is a separate entity from the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis. The organizations differ in that the Club focuses on encouraging the play of the game, while the Hall of Fame will focus on the historical and socio-cultural significance of the game, as well as how that significance has been interpreted by cultures worldwide.

WHOF Exterior Facade

Exterior Facade

WHOF German Castle

Neresheimer French vs. Germans Set and Castle Board. 1905 – 10. Hanau, Germany. Silver and gilded silver, ivory, diamonds, sapphires, pearls, amethysts, rubies and marble.

WHOF Chess Piano

Chess Piano

The Hall of Fame has moved to Saint Louis, from its former home in Miami. Situated in the heart of Saint Louis’ Central West End, the Hall of Fame is located at 4652 Maryland Avenue.

The Hall of Fame is directly across the street from the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis. It opens to the public on September 9, 2011.

The first and second floor galleries will feature temporary exhibitions, which will change twice a year. The third floor gallery will display rotating objects from the permanent collection and feature the hall of fame.

WHOF Small Room

Small Room

WHOF Gallery 2


The Hall of Fame’s permanent collection includes:

- A 5,000-year-old piece from an Egyptian game called senet, the earliest known board game

- A custom-made set of chess furniture that belonged to American Grandmaster and World Champion Bobby Fischer

- The first commercial chess computer

- A silver service awarded to Paul Morphy, American chess player and World Champion

For more information visit, Facebook or Twitter (@WorldChessHOF). Thanks to Laura High and Joseph Boyd.

WHOF 1915 Fabergé

1915 Fabergé Egyptians vs. Assyrians Set with Presentation Case. 1915. Russia. Faberge. Cast silver and gilt. Faberge Karl Gustav Hjalmar Armfeldt.

WHOF Danko Propaganda

Soviet Propaganda Set. 1923. Russia. Polychrome Porcelain. Natalia and Yelena Danko.

WHOF chesspiano

Piano: 31.5 x 27.2 x 27.2 inches, The chess piano: walnut, ebony, fihte, maple wood, piano mechanism, chess pieces, two wooden stools. Courtesy of the Artist, Galerie Juliette Jongma, Amsterdam and Marc Foxx, Los Angeles.

Chess on snowy peaks and sand-dunes of Morocco

Report by Stanislav Vlček

Is it possible within one week to play chess game at the highest snowy peaks of the High Atlas Jebel Toubkal (4167 m) and on the sand-dune of the Sahara desert? You do not believe?

Evidence may be photos and record of games played by two young international masters from Slovakia, Peter Vavrák (2474) and Štefan Mačák (2400), who accompanied by the author of this article and photographs, Stanislav Vlček and Pete’s girlfriend Evka took a round trip in a country of great contrasts and unusual natural beauty – Morocco.

Inspiration we could take from the greatest chess celebrities, namely Magnus Carlsen and Garry Kasparov, who held training camp in Marrakesh before Magnus’ winning streak on the super GM tournament in Wijk aan Zee 2010.

Morocco 1

Morocco 2

The swift game from the Jebel Toubkal summit, in honor of the grandmaster Eduard Gufeld who liked to give his hilarious games poetic names, I named it “The High Atlas Snowflake”. Game is likely the chess altitude Slovak national record and would not lose even in global rankings. The only known attempt to me is the act of members of the Brunei Chess Federation, who played a blitz tournament in the base camp below Mount Everest of 5300 m. (See

Game from sand-dune Erg Chebbi in comparison to the mountain one is a little “dry” and therefore deserves name “The Desert Rose from Merzouga”. Nuances of the positional maneuvering were relentlessly interrupted by our eager camel guide, who felt great need to sell us some minerals and fossils, among them the mentioned desert rose… Leaving them no choice but to agree with the draw …

Morocco 3

Before entry to town of Gibraltar you need to cross airport runway. To go on the red light is not recommended.

Morocco 4

Gibraltar official guardian

Morocco 6

Tangier, our first Moroccan city will held Expo 2012

No wonder that between chess players and tourists there is a strong bond. Chess and hiking have a lot in common and complement each other. To maintain concentration during a long game of chess is required sufficient physical condition which to be gained and kept it by an additional sport.

Alternation of physical and mental burden has a positive impact on performance in both areas. Hiking, like chess, naturally will support growth of the will, stamina and the patience. In both cases, we approach by the slow steps gradually to the ultimate goal.

Morocco 16

In the 3200m above the sea you can refresh yourself and spend night in the chalets Neltner or Mouflon

Morocco 17

Jebel Toubkal summit (4167 m), IM Peter Vavrák, FM Stanislav Vlček, IM Štefan Mačák, 20.5.2011

Whether it’s a wonderful view from the summit or the taste of victory in a chess game or a quality tournament, there is a fundamental difference. Pleasure in both cases is not alone achievement of the objective but also the path to reach him. But as you are closer to your goal, the more effort on every other step are demanded to be made. To stand and admire our successes, or go to downhill whistling is much easier than to climb-up hills. For chess this is doubly true, although the course of action is slower. Similarly, preparing for a difficult hike or game must be very careful, every slightness can play a decisive role.

But there are also “minor” differences. Hiker’s successful descent and expectation of warm supper in the base camp joys him, while chess player’s bad performance and following fall down on the rating ladder depresses him. One bad move in a chess game can affect the health and life of wooden chess king, while after the evil step on a difficult hike consequences can be a real disaster.

Fortunately, tourists, unlike chess players, generally “play” together, not against each other.

Photo gallery by Stanislav Vlček

Morocco 10

Koutoubia minaret in Marrakesh is the oldest and most famous mosque in Morocco

Morocco 11

Young artisan is creating new chessman (Fondouq Marrakesh), Štefan acknowledged his mastery and bought a chessboard here.

Morocco 18

Glorious 110m high Cascades d’Ouzoud waterfalls – curiously a local swimming course was held during our visit

Morocco 19

Ait Benhadou Kasbah, the place where some famous Hollywood movies were recorded. Among them is The Gladiator with Russel Crowe (2000).

Morocco 21

IM Peter Vavrák (on the left side in blue Tuareg scarf :-) ), member of the Slovak Olympic team for the Chess Olympiad in Dresden 2008

Morocco 22

The caravan is returning from nearby oasis

Morocco 24

Bab-e Jeloud or Blue Gate is the main entrance to the medina in Fes

Morocco 26

Author of this article, FM Stanislav Vlček

Photos from Yangon, Myanmar

Report by Peter Long

Campomanes Memorial Yangon International Open was played on 5-12 July 2011 in Yangon, Myanmar. Philippine’s IM Oliver Barbosa emerged winner with 7.5 points. FM Peter Long enjoyed a tour around Yangon and here are his impressions.

One of the most important Buddhist shrines in the world but by itself one of the wonders of the ancient world, the Shwedagon Pagoda dominates the Yangon skyline, part of the life of ever city dweller, and is literally the centre of the Myanmar universe.

Shwedagon Pagoda is 2,500 years old, materialising in brilliant epoch in Buddhist history. Two Myanmar brothers visited the Buddha in India with a gift of honey cakes and were rewarded with 8 hairs personally removed from his head for enshrinement in their native town which is Yangon today.

On their return the hairs were presented to their King who erected the Pagoda which originally just 66 feet high has grown from the 14th century onwards to its present 326 feet height!

Yangon Entrance

Yangon Centre

Yangon Courtyard

Shwedagon is not the only thing that Yangon has to offer!

Another major attraction is Karaweik Palace in the Royal Gardens (yes, Yangon is a city of parks) which for many years was something only ordinary people could gape at! With the end of the royalty, this golden barge was where only the richest and most noble of society would assemble for whatever such people did for leisure and so became of symbol of aspiration.

Today it has become a restaurant for grand events and functions, with cultural shows daily together with Myanmar traditional food served most evening as a buffet (not the food pictured which is a typical meal!).

For more, I strongly recommend you visit Myanmar! It is inexpensive and a truly wonderful experience.

Yangon Walkway

Yangon Steps

Yangon Shrines Everywhere

Yangon Public

Yangon Main

Yangon Night

Yangon Details

Yangon Ceremony

Yangon Barge

AAI Grandmaster Chess Tournament

Round six photos, courtesy of Delhi Chess Association

New Delhi, June 28: Fabiano Caruana of Italy living up to his top billing stretched his lead to a full point as he beat Parimarjan Negi after a marathon 98 moves in the sixth round of the inaugural AAI Grandmasters Chess Championships on Tuesday. Meanwhile the other two games in the round ended in draws.

Caruana with his fourth win in six games now has five points and is a full point clear of Viktor Laznicka, who was disappointed with his draw against Women’s World Champion, Hou Yifan. In the other game, Krishnan Sasikiran’s winning streak was halted as he was held to a draw by Wesley So of the Philippines. Full round six report.

Replay the games with computer analysis

AAI r6 Caruana and Negi

Fabiano Caruana and Parimarjan Negi

AAI r6 Mr. VK Mahendru

Chief Guest for the day Mr. VK Mahendru, Sports Head ONGC making the inaugural move

AAI r6 Sasi and So

Krishnan Sasikiran and Wesley So

AAI r6 Sasi

Krishnan Sasikiran

AAI r6 Hou after match press meet

Hou Yifan after match press meeting

AAI r6 Hou Yifan - Laznicka

Hou Yifan making the move against Viktor Laznicka

AAI r6 FA Sandeep Singh and IA Vijayaraghavan

FA Sandeep Singh and IA Vijayaraghavan, men behind live transmission

AAI Grandmaster Chess Tournament

Round five photos, courtesy of Delhi Chess Association

Krishnan Sasikiran scored a third successive win and in the process avenged his recent loss at the hands of Parimarjan Negi in the inaugural AAI Grandmasters Chess Championships that is now halfway through.

In another game, Women’s World champion Hou Yifan got her first points through a draw against Filipino Wesley So in 52 moves. A little later the third game between Fabiano Caruana and Viktor Laznicka, which began in the Caro-Kann Advanced Variation, also ended in a draw in 59 moves. It was the first time a round had produced two draws. Full round five report.

Replay the games with computer analysis

AAI r5 Caruana and Laznicka

Caruana and Laznicka waiting to start the match

AAI r5 Mrs. Archna Agrawal

Mrs. Archna Agrawal inaugurating the fifth round proceedings

AAI r5 So & Hou

Hou Yifan and Wesley So

AAI r5 Laznicka

Viktor Laznicka

AAI r5 Sasikiran

Krishnan Sasikiran

AAI r5 Mr. Bharat Singh

Tournament Director & President Commonwealth Chess Association Mr. Bharat Singh celebrating his 51st Birthday by cutting the cake with players, officials and spectators

AAI r5 Tournament Hall

Tournament Hall

AAI Grandmaster Chess Tournament

Round four photos, courtesy of Delhi Chess Association

After four rounds, Caruana remained as the only unbeaten player. He leads the six-player field with 3.5 points, while Laznicka, who bounced back from his third round loss to Sasi on Friday, has three points. Sasikiran and Wesley So have two each, Negi 1.5 and Hou Yifan is yet to open her account as the tournament continued to be a miserable one for women’s world champion lost her fourth game in a row.

Replay the games with computer analysis

AAI r4 Chief Arbiter MS Gopakumar

Chief Arbiter MS Gopakumar, IA welcoming Caruana for the fourth round

AAI r4 Laznicka and Negi

Laznicka and Negi

AAI r4 Sasi and Hou shaking hands

Sasikiran and Hou Yifan shaking hands before the match

AAI r4 Shri. D V Sundar

Shri. D V Sundar, FIDE Vice President & Secretary AICF interacting with World Women Champion Hou Yifan

AAI r4 So and Caruana

So and Caruana

AAI r4 Caruana press conference

Caruana speaking at the press conference

AAI r4 Mr. D V Sundar

Mr. D V Sundar, FIDE Vice President keenly watching the live transmission

AAI r4 Delighted Laznicka

Delighted Laznicka after his victory over Negi

AAI r4 Sasi

Krishnan Sasikiran

AAI r4 Sports Reporters

Sports Reporters listening carefully to Negi and Laznicka

AAI Grandmaster Chess Tournament

Round three photos, courtesy of Delhi Chess Association

New Delhi, June 24: India’s Krishnan Sasikiran grinded it out for 72 moves before registering his first win over Viktor Laznicka of the Czech Republic in the third round of the inaugural AAI Grandmasters Chess Championships at the AAI Officer’s Institute on Friday. It also opened the scoring for Sasi.

Photos from the third round are bellow, read also the full report and replay the games with computer analysis.

Mrs. Rashmi Singh

Chief Guest for third round Mrs. Rashmi Singh, Director Delhi Govt making the inaugural move

AAI r3 Hou and Caruna

Hou Yifan and Caruna

AAI r3 Sasikiran

Krishnan Sasikiran

AAI r3 Sasi and Laznicka

Sasikiran and Laznicka

AAI r3 Sasikiran after game press conference

Sasikiran after game press conference

AAI Grandmaster Chess Tournament

Round two photos, courtesy of Delhi Chess Association

New Delhi, June 22: Indian National champion Parimarjan Negi got himself on the scoreboard with a convincing win over women’s world champion Hou Yifan of China in the second round of the inaugural AAI Grandmasters at the AAI Officer’s Institute on Thursday.

Photos from the second round are bellow, read also the full report and replay the games with computer analysis.

AAI Chief Guest for 2nd Round

Chief Guest for 2nd Round Shri. Ajay Choudhari, Secretary External Affairs Govt of India interacting with the players

AAI Visit of Mr. Faisal Beg

Visit of Mr. Faisal Beg, Trade Commissioner, High Commission of Canada’s visit to the tournament hall

AAI r2 Caruana

Fabiano Caruana

AAI r2 Wesley So

Wesley So

AAI r2 Hou Yifan

Hou Yifan

AAI r2 Laznicka

Viktor Laznicka

AAI r2 Caruana v Sasi

Fabiano Caruana and Krishnan Sasikiran

AAI Viktor Laznicka and Wesley So

Viktor Laznicka and Wesley So

AAI Hou and Negi

Hou Yifan and Parimarjan Negi

AAI r2 Negi and Hou after the match

Negi and Hou Yifan after the match

AAI r2 Shri. Ajai Choudhary

Shri. Ajai Choudhary following the live games

AAI r2 Negi

Parimarjan Negi

AAI r2 Negi in deep thought

Negi in deep thought

AAI Grandmaster Chess Tournament

Round one photos, courtesy of Delhi Chess Association

New Delhi, June 22: The inaugural Airports Authority of India Grandmaster chess tournament got off to a rousing start, as all three games ended in a decisive manner at the AAI Officer’s Institute on Wednesday.

Photos from the first round are bellow, read also the full report and replay the games with computer analysis.

AAI r1 Draw of lot

Drawing of lots

AAI r1 first move

Customary first move by Union Minister Vayalar Ravi

AAI r1 Fabiano Caruana

Fabiano Caruana

AAI r1 Yifan vs Laznicka

Hou Yifan vs Viktor Laznicka

AAI r1 Krishnan Sasikiran

Krishnan Sasikiran

AAI r1 Hou Yifan

Hou Yifan

AAI r1 Viktor Laznicka

Viktor Laznicka

AAI r1 Negi vs Caruana

Negi vs Caruana

Kazan Candidates Matches 2011

Logo of the Candidate matches, preparations for the event, and presentation of Kazan

Candidates matches Kazan

The Candidates Matches of the FIDE World Championship cycle 2011-2012 will be played 3-27 May, 2011, in Kazan, Russia. On the left you can see the logo of the Candidates Matches, which will be official for the championship.

Preparations for the event have been going on in the past days. FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and the President of the Republic of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov discussed the process in Kazan, at a meeting that took place last week. The President of the Republic of Tatarstan assured that the Matches will be organized on the highest level. Ildar Khalikov, Prime Minister of Tatarstan, Rafis Burganov, Minister of Youth Affairs, Sports and Tourism of Tatarstan and Ilsur Metshin, Mayor of Kazan also took part in the meeting, detailing everything around the Candidates matches.

It has been confirmed that the there will be a nice opening ceremony and it will contain the drawing of colours for all the rounds of the event. is preparing strong live coverage for the Candidates Matches 2011. The chess fans can expect daily live blog, commentary, videos, and news.

As every major chess event, the Candidates Matches will have live commentary. This time the team will be especially strong – GM Naiditsch, GM Bacrot, and the Chess Evolution team will comment live together with the resident commentators GM Bauer, IM Ipatov, and IM Perunovic.

Make sure to check out the first two video previews by GM Danielsen, the matches Topalov – Kamsky (video) and Kramnik – Radjabov (video).


Symbols of Kazan

The most famous building of Kazan – Soyembike Tower- according to legend, dates back to the fall of the Kazan Khanate. However, judging from all over, it was built no earlier than the last quarter of the seventeenth century, but partly on the foundations of an earlier watchtower of Khanate period. Soyembike Tower is not only the symbol of Kazan. It is also one of the few in the world of falling towers. At two meters above the Leaning Tower of Pisa, it is immediately after construction began to lurch to the east, because the west side of it was built on the foundation of an old watchtower and was more stable. By 1930 the deviation from the axis of its top was already 128 centimeters. Remedial activities conducted in 1990 suspended its roll.

Another feature of the tower is its architectural elegance. Tower produces unusually strong impression of harmony and aspiration to the sky, the proportionality of parts. It consists of seven stages: three rectangular with open galleries and a low parapets and four upper octagonal.

When was the Soyembike Tower built? On this question among historians and architects already many long years there are hot discussions. In brochures and guidebooks the time of creating the tower is shown as 1645-1650-s (in question). The biggest connoisseur of antiquities Professor S.Shpilevsky believed that the tower is of Tatar origin. But the well-known Tatar educator Kayum Nasyri contrary believed that the tower appeared as a patrol-guard after the conquest of Kazan.

Renowned archaeologist Alfred Khalikov in 1976-1977 conducted excavations near the foundation of the tower and came to the conclusion that it was built no earlier than the last quarter of the XVII century. Near the foundation of the Soyembike Tower was found another, earlier foundation of the watchtower of XII – XV century, in the place of which partially was built a new tower. Because of this heterogeneity of the base in the future there was the bias. A.Khalikov also found that standing on this spot Tatar tower also served as a minaret of a nearby Khan Mosque and there was the crescent at its peak. In addition it was the tower of the Khan’s court, fenced with stone walls inside the Kremlin.

It is interesting that the people of Kazan always believed the Soyembike Tower is the national sacred place. Moreover the Russian residents of Kazan also from the very beginning called the tower on behalf of the disgraced Tatar queen Soyembike. In Kazan everybody can tell a legend about the tower.

When Ivan the Terrible conquered Kazan and saw a beautiful khan woman Soyembike, he was so struck by her beauty that he offered her to become his wife. Soyembike Khanum understood: if she refuses the terrible king, he would kill all her people. And she agreed. But with one indispensable condition: to build in seven days seven storied tower to the sky. Ivan the Terrible accepted this condition. He collected all the most famous Russian artists, and the work started. On the first day was built the first tier, on the second – the second tier and so on. A week later the tower was ready – harmonous, seven storied, up to the sky.

Soyembike had no choice but to fulfill her promise. She asked the king’s permission to climb the tower and say goodbye to the city before departure from Kazan. The king allowed. Soyembike climbed the tower, said goodbye to all Kazan citizens, threw herself down and died. Since then, they say, the tower has her name.

In fact everything was different. In 1549 Safa-Giray Khan, Soyembike husband died. By law the throne was to mount their son – two years old Utamesh-Giray. In 1549 he was proclaimed the khan, but remained on the throne quite a bit. In relations between Moscow and Kazan was reached an agreement under which Shah Ali to occupie the throne. Utyamysh and his mother were to extradite to Moscow authorities. August 11, 1551 they were sent to Moscow. There she died.

dragon emblem1

Zilnat the dragon

Zilant is a great flying serpent, depicted on Kazan state emblem. He is the most recognizible symbol of Kazan and its legendary protector.

On the palace of modern Kazan according to the “Chronicle of Kazan” once existed a greatest “serpent habitation”. There, on the hill which in Kazan is still called Zilant Mount lived winged serpent “in the crown of the king of serpents” – owerful and beautiful Zilant. The builders of the city with the help of miracle-men more than once or twice burned straw to exterminate serpents spawn, but the king Zilant long remained unhurt. People still gained their end and founded on Zilant Mount their settlement (one of the legends there was originally founded ancient Kazan). Anyway, at the end of the 1940′s archaeologists have found in the former lair of the snake king pottery fragments and pieces of tile fourteenth century.

Incidentally several years after the capture of Kazan, in 1557 – on the mountain was founded Zilant male monastery. Monastery collected tax from all the merchant ships, especially many of those who brought the salt and fish from the upper Volga and from Astrakhan. Reaching the monastery the large merchant ships loaded goods on the shallow-draft vessels, which by the city channel went to the shorehouses. But no matter how monks resist to the mountain and the monastery forever stuck pagan Zilant name.

About terrible winged serpent Kazan people eventually began to remember with affection. Way of the people’s love are inscrutable. And gradually they convinced that the king of serpents invisibly supports and helps the common people. In the end the image of a mythical dragon protector of the city got to the state emblem of Kazan.

Image of Zilant was very popular in the architecture of Kazan. Rare in its exoticism, it gave great scope for imagination of artists – craftsmen. They depicted it in stone, gypsum, iron, wood, iron.

For the chess dragon, check the video below.

Dragon and chess (video)

Kazan Cat

One of the most popular heroes of the Russian folk popular print lubok of XVII-XIX centuries: “Kazan Cat, Astrakhan mind, Siberian wit”. Kazan Cat was originally linked to the subjects-attributes of his nomination – Kazan, Astrakhan and Siberian Khanate, and implied along with them a generalized image of Tatar.

The Cat had his own folklore and literary ancestors and relatives. The closest relative to a hero of lubok was Cat of King (Khan) from Mari legend “How Maris went over Moscow”, it tells of the siege of Kazan Kremlin in 1552 by the troops of Tsar Ivan the Terrible. The court Cat managed to overhear how besieging Mari kings Yylanda and Akpars were tunneling under the Kremlin wall, and he warned the Khanof the danger. Khan, his wife, daughter and Cat secretly moved out to the river Kazanka, got into a boat and sailed safely from Kazan.


The real prototype of Kazan Cat should be recognized the breed of Kazan cats. At the existence of this breed is already in the XVI century points mentioned Mari legend, and by the middle of the XVIII century breed became so famous that the Kazan cats by the decree of Empress Elizabeth was moved to the capital for service in the Winter Palace. Together with other Kazan cats were the fluffy Life Guard of Empress (cats under Empress was exactly 300, the same as the Life Guard, who raise her to the throne). Cats were put on a special allowance, initially they were given lamb, then – by special order of the Empress – the black grouse and hazel grouse.

The sculpture of the legendary Kazan Cat has appeared in the capital of Tatarstan at the intersection of Bauman and Musa Jalil streets. The author of this metal composition – the famous artist Igor Bashmakov.

Every year in the Kremlin in the center “Hermitage-Kazan” an exhibition of “Walking with Kazan Cat” is spent.

More about Kazan

Kazan is the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan, one of the largest and most beautiful cities of Russia, which is on the list of UNESCO World Heritage cities.

The old Kazan is the center of the city. There are beautiful buildings raised in different architectural styles. Mansions in the style of modernism coexist with the Baroque monuments. You can feel the aura of antiquity spell from ancient white walls of the Kazan Kremlin wherefrom a superb view on the river opens. Imagination is boggled by the red bell tower of Bogoyavlenskaya church at the pedestrian Bauman street beloved by tourists.

Kazan easily combines the culture and traditions of the East and the West: next to the finely cut minaret towers there are old Orthodox churches.

A prevailing feature of life in the city is peaceful, creative coexistence of different religions and nationalities.