The leading national museums of France and Russia, the Louvre and the Russian State Museum, have teamed up to host a historic international chess tournament dedicated to the memory of the fourth World Chess Champion, and Russia’s first such champion, Alexander Alexandrovich Alekhine (1892–1946). Some of the world’s leading chess players will take part in the tournament organised by the Russian Chess Federation on the initiative and with the support of businessmen Gennady Timchenko and Andrei Filatov.

This major international sports and cultural event will take place in Paris and St Petersburg – two cities with close ties to the maestro - between 21 April and 1 May 2013. Participants include World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand and other top grandmasters from France, China, Russia the UK and other nations across the world.

The chess tournament will be held in two stages. The first five days of the tournament will take place at the Louvre Museum in Paris, the city where Alekhine lived and worked at the peak of his fame. The second four-day stage of the Memorial will begin on 28 April at the Mikhailovsky Palace of the State Russian Museum in St Petersburg, the city where his brilliant chess career was launched at the famous St Petersburg chess tournament in 1914. The winner will be announced in St Petersburg on 1 May 2013.

The Alekhine Memorial tournament continuesthe successful practice of holding major international chess tournaments in museums, combining two areas of important cultural interest. In May 2012, the State Tretyakov Gallery hosted the FIDE World Chess Championship Match organised by the Russian Chess Federation, again with support from both Timchenko and Filatov. The duel for the world chess crown was not only an important sports event but also an important cultural one. The match drew the attention of millions of live broadcast spectators to the collection of one of Russia’s leading museums and showed that chess could be an effective tool for raising awareness of Russian culture.

Admission to the watch the tournament in Paris and St Petersburg will be free of charge. There will also be a live webcast of the tournament, with commentary in Russian, English, and French.

The leading international grandmasters who have confirmed they will participate in the tournament include the current World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand, world number-two ranking Vladimir Kramnik, world number-three Levon Aronian, winner of the Chess World Cup Peter Svidler, winner of the 2012 Candidates’ Tournament Boris Gelfand, champion of France Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Britain’s strongest chess player Michael Adams, International Grandmaster Laurent Fressinet, member of the gold-medal-winning Russian team at the World Team Chess Championship Nikita Vitiugov, and China’s reigning Chess Champion Ding Liren. Boris Postovsky will be the head arbitrator of the tournament.

Ilya Levitov, Chairman of the Executive Board of the Russian Chess Federation, said:

“Alekhine was one of the brightest personalities in world chess history. It is a wonderful thing that a tournament commemorating Alekhine will be held in the two global cultural capitals that were an integral part of his life. The interesting roster of participants promises an intense competition, while the spectacular museums hosting the tournament will attract the spectators’ interest to the Alekhine Memorial as both a chess and a cultural event.”

Gennady Timchenko, a sponsor of the Alekhine Memorial, added:

“The Alexander Alekhine Memorial continues the successful tradition of holding top-level chess tournaments at famous museums, which was started by the Tretyakov Gallery in May 2012. We are thankful to the Louvre and the Russian Museum for supporting our proposal and believe that the upcoming tournament will serve not only the development of chess but also popularisation of Russian art. Alkehine was the first Russian World Chess Champion and one of the most interesting chess virtuosos of the 20th century. His creative legacy remains of value to new generations of chess players, while the story of his life continues to excite historians and chess enthusiasts alike. The coming tournament is a tribute to the memory of a great chess player and a worthy citizen of the two countries to which his life was closely tied:Russia and France.”

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