Today I am living through two events which happen in my life for the first time.
This is my first time in Albania. I am grateful for the invitation to visit this country and for the hospitality from the leadership of Albania.
This is also the first time for me to attend a top chess competition. I should confess that it is long time since I have been at a chess board. When I was young, I used to like this game, but then politics has not left any space for other things, chess included.
I would like to use this opportunity and thank the President of the World Chess Federation Kirsan Ilyumzhinov for his invitation and also, the President of the Albanian Chess Federation Rezart Taçi for his warm reception.
My attendance at this ceremony has provided me with a chance to express my admiration with the outstanding chess players – Hou Yifan and Humpy Koneru – who were fighting for the Women’s World Championship title. Talent, stress, strength, will-power, wish to win – this is what one needs and not only, in order to reach such heights. And you both did reach them!
I would also like to express my respect to all those who continue their efforts in developing chess as art, sport and just a pastime. This wonderful game is a real feast of intellect and great achievement of our mankind.
In today’s global community we all are connected by millions of invisible threads. As never before, we all depend one on another. However, still there are many things which keep countries and nations apart, the conflicts which are left from the past or recent ones. We have not learnt so far the way we should live in this global community.
Therefore it is even more important to cherish the things which unite us and bring us together, the things which cause interest and attention of millions of the people and make them more noble and can be passed as a tradition from one generation to another. During many centuries chess is a part of human heritage and the names of great chess players of various epochs have become part and parcel of the history of this game, and history of great achievements of a human mind.
It is a special pleasure for me that my country, Russia, is one of the leaders of the world chess. The traditions of Alexander Alekhine, Mikhail Botvinnik, Elisaveta Bykova and other champions are continued in the games of younger generation. I am very glad that following the invitation of Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, I could become a patron of the Chess in Schools movement.
Today we are here to congratulate the representatives of China and India – great chess powers and raising giants of the world politics and economics. Their success is another evidence how progress and development in various countries of the world open for a human being new possibilities, and promote personal perfection.
It is my great pleasure to congratulate Women’s World Champion Hou Yifan with a worthy victory! I am also extending my congratulations to her opponent, who has been a tough fighter and showed talented games.
I wish you new success! Your example is definitely, a source of inspiration for those who just start their road in chess, those who will eventually become your opponents, and might win in a fair play. Let the game always be uncompromising, fair and honest!