Natalia Komarova, the governor of Ugra, answered the Mass Media questions at the press-center of the FIDE World Rapid and Blitz Championships 2013.

- Natalia Vladimirovna, why is that Ugra holds chess tournaments for so many years?

- We are opening the 8th season of the world chess tournaments this year. We value not only the sport part of this game but also the intellectual one. It is the chess that trains thinking. At the same time this sport is one of the most popular ones. This fact was proved when we held the World Cups 2005, 2007, and 2009 here in Ugra. And Ugra finally became the official chess capital after the 39th World Chess Olympiad and 81st FIDE Congress. Now we hold about 30 chess tournaments, including Ugra Governor’s Cup International internet tournament. Every year it unites about 1500 chess players from all over the world. Ugra is a northern region with quite severe climate, so such sports as chess are in high demand here. We are able to hold all possible tournaments on the highest level. We have a Chess Academy, which is the first in the whole country, we have a big hotel, as well as IT technologies and transportation services. We will continue to keep up to this level and remain one of chess capitals of the world.

-What can we expect from the FIDE World Rapid and Blitz Championships this year?

- As always the participants are offered a great cultural program. People all over the world will be able to watch the game on-line. Right after the Championships about 200 people will arrive to Khanty-Mansiysk for a scientific-practical conference “Chess education as an important component of the educational system”. 30 leading specialists in chess training from 8 countries will hold workshops for Ugorian chess trainers. Ugra has become the pioneer and leader of promoting chess at schools long ago. The conference would forward this project even more especially with the youngest.

- We know about the project “Chess in schools” which was launched several years ago in Ugra. Would you dwell on that please?

- Chess has become a part of the educational system in Ugra. At present 9 500 Ugorian school children play chess. Chess is taught as an extra curriculum activity in 120 schools in Ugra. Every other school in the region can boast a chess club.

Children now can learn to play chess and compete, showing their achievements, in the Ugra tournaments called “Hope of Ugra” and “White Rook”. The winners of these tournaments can participate in the all-Russian tournaments with the same names. And actually they are held in Astrakhan right now. Ugorian school children from school №1 in Khanty-Mansiysk are taking part in them. So I would like to wish them good luck.

But chess is spreading quickly. In 2012 we started a new project in Ugra “Fewer white spots on the chess map of Ugra”. It is realized by the Chess Academy, Department of physical education and sport of Ugra, and the regional Chess Federation. We create chess clubs in all social and educational institutions in the region. Thanks to this project patients of the regional clinical hospital of Khanty-Mansiysk, students of the Ugorian State University, and boarders of the social service center “Svetlana” can now play chess.

- Khanty-Mansiysk has witnessed about 10 big world and Russia chess events. Which one do you remember in particular?

By all means it is the 39th World Chess Olympiad. It was the first time when we hosted 150 countries. Each round played here in Ugra did not become unnoticed in the whole world. And as reviews say that Olympiad in Ugra impressed the chess world a lot.

The World Women Chess Championship 2012 was quite big too. Smart and pretty ladies were fighting for the title. Anna Ushenina from Ukraine was the winner then. I hope to see the Ugorian chess players as winners in the future. 7 Ugorian players are taking part in the FIDE World Rapid and Blitz Championships 2013. Personally I will cheer for them.

- What other international chess tournaments are planned to be held in Khanty-Mansiysk in the nearest future?

- The calendar is full of events. There will be Women Grand Prix in 2014 and Women World Rapid and Blitz Championship. Also there will be World Chess Team Championship and a number of tournaments for juniors in Khanty-Mansiysk.