The press conference was attended by Anatoly Karpov, 12th World Chess Champion, Deputy of Russian State Duma, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Chess Federation of the Sverdlovsk Region; Leonid Rapoport, Minister of Physical Culture and Sports of the Sverdlovsk Region; Dana Reizniece-Ozola, FIDE Managing Director; Victor Bologan, FIDE Executive Director; Albert Stepanyan, Director of the Candidates Tournament, Executive Director of the Sverdlovsk Region Chess Federation; and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Grandmaster, one of the leaders of the Candidates Tournament in Yekaterinburg.
Leonid Rapoport, Minister of Physical Culture and Sports of the Sverdlovsk Region:
"Generally speaking, today, we are resuming one of the largest post-pandemic international sports tournaments in this country and in the whole world. In the Sverdlovsk region, chess is developing very fast, and many people play chess. One of the positive outcomes of holding the major chess competitions in the region is that over the past year, the number of people involved in chess and participating in chess tournaments has increased by 3 thousand people. I also cannot but say that today our Ural chess king, Naum Nikolaevich Rashkovsky, celebrates his 75th birthday. "
Anatoly Karpov, 12th World Chess Champion, Deputy of Russian State Duma, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Chess Federation of the Sverdlovsk Region:
"I am glad that this wonderful day when the Candidates Tournament can be resumed has finally come. I want to remind you that we were the last to stop the offline competitions, and only the threat of air traffic closure forced us to suspend the tournament. The pause lasted more than a year - this has never happened before in the history of chess or other sports. We were always ready to resume the tournament, but there were difficulties with the arrival of the participants. The situation was not easy, there were attempts to transfer the second part of the event to another location, but thanks to the organisers' determination, we have the opportunity to define the contender of the chess world champion here, in Yekaterinburg."
Dana Reizniece-Ozola, FIDE Managing Director:
"Those who play chess know what an adjourned game is. Last year, an unexpected arbiter appeared at the tournament - the coronavirus, which forced everyone to postpone their games without informing when the games could be finished. In such a situation, the players and organisers needed strength, courage and flexibility to play this so important tournament to the end. I am grateful to them for their determination and the fact that this celebration of chess will take place after all. The FIDE Presidential Board will be held at the same time as the Candidates Tournament in Yekaterinburg. For the first time, we will try to conduct it in a hybrid format. FIDE President Arkady Vladimirovich Dvorkovich will arrive soon, some of our colleagues will be here, and some will be in a remote format ". She also confirmed to the journalists that "all the players are here, not only Maxime, and they are ready to fight for the chess crown."
Victor Bologan, FIDE Executive Director:
"A year has passed, and the tournament is resuming. Oddly enough, this difficult year for the world turned out to be a very successful one for chess and FIDE. We all enjoyed watching the series "The Queen's Gambit", which popularised chess; many children, and especially girls, were drawn to the chess clubs. FIDE took advantage of the fact that chess is the only sport in which official competitions can be held online. We hosted the Chess Olympiad, the World Championship and even the Corporate World Championship. All of them were very successful. Still, playing over the board is always more interesting, so we are happy that Russia and Yekaterinburg provided us with this opportunity - to hold the first official offline tournament. We appreciate the efforts that have been taken by the organisers, FIDE, sponsors and partners to conduct this competition and to make it as safe as possible".
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, one of the leaders of the Candidates Tournament in Yekaterinburg:
"I am very glad to be here again, and I can say on behalf of all the participants of the Candidates Tournament that we were all looking forward to its resumption. We are all ready to play, and we are grateful to the organizers for putting this event together. I am ready to play and win the tournament, like the rest of the participants who are ready to fight with all their strength. We had much time to prepare, so the games promise to be very interesting. A year ago, I was ready for the fact that the tournament would be stopped at any moment since the situation in the world was already tense. Although the break took much longer than expected, I used the forced break to concentrate on my preparation for the tournament."
Albert Stepanyan, Director of the Candidates Tournament, Executive Director of the Sverdlovsk Region Chess Federation welcomed all speakers and also passed good wishes from Andrey Simanovsky, President of Chess Federation of the Sverdlovsk Region, who could not be present at the press conference. "We are happy the tournament is going to start tomorrow and we are absolutely ready to host the event on the highest level. Our technical facilities are of the upper class and for the first time the wireless chess boards will be used during FIDE chess tournament."