World-renowned Grandmasters to Play in Leo Tolstoy’s Museum-Estate

The first international tournament Tolstoy Cup featuring a stellar line-up will start in the State Leo Tolstoy Museum-Estate “Yasnaya Polyana”, the Tula region, on the great Russian writer’s birthday, the 9th of September. The event will last for four days and will finish on the 12th of September.  

International and Russian chess stars will take part in the round-robin rapid tournament: Anish Giri (Netherlands), Dmitry Andreikin, Nikita Vitiugov, Evgeny Tomashevsky, Kirill Alekseenko, Maxim Matlakov, David Paravyan (all from Russia), Anton Korobov (Ukraine), Boris Gelfand (Israel), and Nodirbek Abdusattorov (Uzbekistan).

The event is organised by the State Leo Tolstoy Museum-Estate “Yasnaya Polyana” and the Chess Federation of Russia and is supported by the Elena and Gennady Timchenko Foundation. 

Andrey Filatov, President of the Chess Federation of Russia:

This tournament is held for the first time, and I hope it will set up a good tradition. Since 2012, the Chess Federation of Russian and the Elena and Gennady Timchenko Foundation have organised the tournaments as part of the Chess in Museums international programme. We are glad to introduce the chess world to Yasnaya Polyana, one of Russia’s most famous and beloved museums

Leo Tolstoy is a brilliant and timeless writer whose books are being read, studied, filmed, and staged. And now the first international event dedicated to him will be held. It is not an accident: Tolstoy loved chess, played a lot, and wrote about it. Obviously, chess was an integral part of his life.

We will be glad to see the guests and journalists at our festival dedicated to Leo Tolstoy’s birthday and the 100th anniversary of the founding of the State Leo Tolstoy Museum-Estate “Yasnaya Polyana”.

Ekaterina Tolstaya, Director of the State Leo Tolstoy Museum-Estate “Yasnaya Polyana”:

We are glad that the International chess tournament will start in Yasnaya Polayan on Leo Tolstoy’s birthday. Chess has always been in Yasnaya Polayna, and Leo Tolstoy’s devotion to the game is well-known: he played chess with his relatives and friend and often offered to play a game to his guests.

One of the most welcomed guests was Prince Sergey Urusov, one of the best chess players of those times. Today, we are proud that the world-class grandmasters will participate in the tournament in Yasnaya Polyana.

It is also very important that children will take part in the festival. Playing chess is very effective for children’s formation: it changes a thinking process, and develops memory and imagination. We are grateful to the Elena and Gennady Timchenko Foundation for their support in holding this tournament and welcoming young talented players.

Maria Morozova, Managing Director of the Elena and Gennady Timchenko Foundation:

The Tula region and the Timchenko Foundation have been united by long-term ties of friendship and cooperation in various sports projects: we are developing sledge hockey together, the local educational institutions are running the Chess in Schools projects, whilst the region is taking part in complex research of a cognitive as well as an emotional and personal spheres of the lives of younger schoolchildren of the city and village schools. That’s why our supporting of a chess tournament held in the Tula region is a logical continuation of our sports cooperation and a tribute to the great Russian writer, for whom both Yasnaya Polyana and chess were very important.

We hope that our young chess players, participants of the Chess in Schools project, will be highly motivated by playing in the same venue with the renowned grandmasters and be inspired to increase their level and develop their chess skills. 

The opening ceremony will take place on the 9th of September. Leo Tolstoy’s descendants, FIDE President Akrady Dvorkovich, and other guests of honour are expected to be present at the event.  

A 100-board simultaneous exhibition will be held on the same day. The best participants will get presents from the organisers. Moreover, the Chess Museum’s curator, Cand. Sc. History Dmitry Oleinikov will give a lecture and a quiz.

The additional programme will continue on the 10th of September with a mass tournament for children. At the same time, the participants of the main event will be offered a tour around the estate museum; after it, the drawing of lots will take place. Children will have a chance to take a photo with renowned grandmasters and ask them for an autograph. 

The international tournament will be held on the 11th and 12th of September. The participants will compete in 9 rapid rounds in an all-play-all event. The closing ceremony is scheduled for the 12th of September at 7 PM Moscow time.

Considering Leo Tolstoy’s devotion to chess, an exhibition featuring various thematic posters will be organised during the event.  

Photos credit: Press service of the State Leo Tolstoy Museum-Estate “Yasnaya Polyana”