34 participants from 14 countries. The World Rapid and Blitz Championships started in Khanty-Mansiysk 23.04.2014News, News featurePress Once again Khanty-Mansiysk is at the center of attention for the chess world: following the Candidates tournament and Women’s Grand Prix, this city hosts the 2014 Women’s World Rapid and Blitz Championships. 14 countries sent their representatives – 34 beautiful ladies – to Siberia. The FIDE Vice-President Vanik Zakarian addressed the players and organizers at the opening ceremony. “Having this competition is Khanty-Mansiysk is very important for FIDE. Your city is a true center of the chess world. You host three very important tournaments in a row. The FIDE leadership is grateful to the Okrug leadership for your hospitality”, said Zakarian. The Deputy Governor of Ugra Alexey Putin reminded that Ugra is not only known for its oil and gas. “We are actively developing many sports, but recently chess gained a lot of popularity. We are very thankful to FIDE for helping us promoting chess”, said the Deputy Governor. The Chief Arbiter Andrzej Filipowicz from Poland recalled his two visits to Ugra land: “I always deeply respected the Khanty-Mansiysk organizers for creating very hospitable atmosphere and conducting their events at the highest level”. Then he invited to the stage the highest rated player – Valentina Gunina. Two chess queens approached her. Valentina picked a casket from the girl to her left, and there was a white queen in it. It means that all the participants with odd numbers have White in the first round. The opening ceremony continued with the concert of Khanty-Mansiysk performers. A video installation that accompanied all acts during the show was a true gem of the evening. The Rapid Championship is held on April 23-25, and the Blitz Championship follows it on April 26-28. Both tournaments are Swiss system with 15 rounds, but in blitz each round consists of two games with alternate colors. The winners of each tournament will receive USD 12,000. The total prize fund of each tournament is USD 50,000.