The FIDE World Women's Team Championship kicked off on September 5 with the opening ceremony held in Bydgoszcz, Poland, in a very relaxed and cosy atmosphere.
The event was graced with the presence of Grażyna Szabelska, plenipotentiary of the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivode, representing Mateusz Morawiecki, Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland. Also in attendance were Gunnar Bjornsson - FIDE Technical Delegate, Tomasz Delega, Chief Arbiter and former president of the Polish Chess Federation, Anastasia Sorokina, Chairperson of the FIDE Women's Commission, Hesham Elgendy - President of the Egyptian Chess Federation, Jan Kusina, former president of the Polish Chess Federation, and Maciej Cybulski, Tournament Director.
Radosław Jedynak, President of the Polish Chess Federation, made the first speech, in which he welcomed the twelve participant teams and encouraged them not only to give their very best at the chess board but also to find the time to explore the city, its architectural richness and cultural life, and bring back home the best possible memory about their visit to Poland.
The next authority to take the floor was Łukasz Turlej, FIDE Secretary General, who highlighted the involvement of the Prime Minister himself in making this event possible and hinted at the possibility of Poland hosting even more top events in the near future.
Grażyna Szabelska made the last speech, in which she read the letter addressed by the Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki to the participants and attendants:
"Ladies and gentlemen, for the next week, we will have the opportunity to witness exciting battles between twelve outstanding women's chess teams, all competing for the title of the world's best team. This is all thanks to the Women's World Team Chess Championship, which kicks off today and takes place this year on Polish soil, in the welcoming city of Bydgoszcz. I warmly welcome all the teams and extend sincere appreciation to each of the participants in this year's tournament.
Chess is a unique sport often referred to as the "royal game." It teaches us truly regal attributes - strategic thinking and the ability to foresee. It requires concentration, knowledge, constant improvement, and mastery over weaknesses. Chess is widely regarded as a noble game and synonymous with wisdom.
At the same time, chess is a true school of character. It compels us to confront our own weaknesses, establishes the right hierarchy of values, teaches us to exert effort, and strengthens our belief in our abilities. This is perfectly illustrated by the popular maxim among many players: 'If you want to know a person, their character, strengths, and weaknesses, play chess with them.'
Ladies and gentlemen, the Women's World Team Chess Championship that is about to begin is a true celebration for chess enthusiasts. On this occasion, I would like to express my gratitude to the organizers of the tournament and to everyone who supported the efforts involved in its preparation.
To the athletes taking part in this sporting competition, I wish for it to be conducted in the spirit of fair play and bring much satisfaction from the battles you will engage in over the coming days. I already extend my heartfelt congratulations to the tournament champions and all the teams participating in it. May these prestigious competitions be etched in golden letters in your memory and on the path of your sporting achievements.
I warmly greet everyone gathered at the inauguration of the championship."
The drawing of lots for the two pools produced the following pairings for Round 1:
India – France
Kazakhstan – Egypt
Ukraine – Georgia
Bulgaria – FIDE Americas
USA – Germany
China – Poland
The technical meeting with the team captains will take place tomorrow, September 6th, at 10:00. The first round of the Pools stage will kick off at 15:00 CEST. Live coverage, as well as full information about the event, can be found on the official website: worldwomenteams.fide.com.
Written by David Llada
Photos: Michal Walusza
Located in northern Poland, less than 200km from the capital, Warsaw, Bydgoszcz sits at the junction of the rivers Vistula and Brda. With 350,000 inhabitants, it is served by its own domestic airport. An architecturally rich city, Bydgoszcz is home to a number of universities, like the Casimir the Great University, the University of Technology and Life Sciences and a conservatory. With a thriving cultural life, it also hosts the Pomeranian Philharmonic concert hall and the Opera Nova opera house. More information: bydgoszcz.pl