FIDE Extends Support: Distributes €15,000 Among Six Chess Veterans


    FIDE, the international governing body for chess, recently announced a significant move to support veteran chess players, coaches, promoters, and arbiters. Among the numerous applications received, six distinguished individuals were chosen to receive a total of €15,000 in the first instalment of this support program for 2024.

    Here’s a brief overview of the recipients and their notable contributions to the world of chess:
    Nona Gaprindashvili (GEO):
    The first woman to be awarded the title of International Grandmaster in 1978, Nona Gaprindashvili has had an outstanding career marked by impressive victories and enduring contributions to chess. Despite surrendering the title, Gaprindashvili remained one of the top female players globally for two more decades, boasting an impressive tournament history. She continues to actively participate in veteran tournaments, securing victories in the World Senior Championship and European Senior Championship on multiple occasions.

    Nona Gaprindashvili. Photo:

    Yuri Balashov (RUS):
    Yuri Balashov, a former student of Mikhail Botvinnik‘s chess school which shaped his chess skills significantly. He achieved remarkable success both as a player and a trainer, making significant contributions to the chess community. Yuri Balashov, born in 1949 in Shadrinsk, Russia, learned chess from his older brother and became the country’s youngest master at 15.

    Balashov‘s chess journey saw him win the Moscow championship in 1970 and finish as runner-up to Karpov in the 1976 USSR Championship. He participated in 15 national championships and excelled in international competitions, winning the 1980 Olympiad and various European Championships with the Soviet team.

    As a strong Grandmaster and a skilled trainer, Balashov served as Karpov‘s second in World Championship matches and contributed significantly to Karpov‘s success. He continues to perform well in veteran events, achieving success in the World Team and European Team Championships multiple times and earning accolades in the World Senior Championship.

    Yuri Balashov Photo: Eteri Kublashvili

    Anatoly Vaisser (FRA):
    Anatoly Vaisser, one of the few Grandmasters with a science degree, demonstrated exceptional talent and dedication throughout his career, including victories in strong tournaments and contributions as a coach.

    Anatoly Vaisser, born in 1949 in Almaty, Kazakhstan (then USSR), showed promise in junior chess but didn’t focus on the game until later. He took a break from chess during his Ph.D. studies, making him one of the few GMs with a science background. In the 1980s, Vaisser‘s interest in chess reignited after assisting Lev Psakhis in winning the Soviet Championships. He quickly climbed the ranks, winning championships and earning his GM title in 1985 after a victory in Havana.

    Throughout his career, Vaisser excelled in tournaments, finishing high alongside players like Viswanathan Anand and Vladimir Malaniuk. He also shined in open competitions like the Cappelle-la-Grande Open, sharing top positions multiple times. Moving to France in 1991, Vaisser contributed to the national team’s success as a player-coach. He won the French championship in 1997 and represented France in Chess Olympiads.

    In veteran competitions, Vaisser dominated, winning the World Senior Chess Championship multiple times. He’s also known for his book “Beating the King’s Indian and Benoni,” published in 1997.

    Anatoly Vaisser Photo: David Llada

    Marta Litinskaya (UKR):
    Marta Litinskaya, a skilled player who won the Ukrainian Women’s Championship multiple times and excelled in various international tournaments, is recognized for her significant achievements in chess.

    Marta Litinskaya, born Marta Shul in 1949 in Lviv, Ukraine (then USSR), started playing chess at ten, mentored by Viktor Kart. She won the Ukrainian Women’s Championship multiple times and excelled in the USSR championship, achieving the rank of master and later becoming a Woman Grandmaster. She balanced programming and chess in the early 1970s but eventually focused solely on chess. She participated in Interzonal and Candidates tournaments, narrowly missing the World Championship title.

    Throughout her career, Litinskaya performed well in various tournaments, claiming victories in Budapest, Dechin, Belgrade, and Almaty. She ended her career on a high note by winning the Women’s World Senior Championship in 2002.

    Marta Litinskaya. Photo: FIDE

    Edvins Kengis (LAT):
    Edvins Kengis, a prominent player and coach, represented Latvia in numerous prestigious events and contributed significantly to the development of chess talent, both as a player and a mentor.

    Edvins Kengis, born in 1959 in Cesic, Latvia, had a remarkable career as both a player and a coach. He was part of the USSR national team that won the World Student Championship in 1980. Kengis, an eight-time Latvian champion, represented Latvia in prestigious events like the Chess Olympiads and earned the titles of International Master in 1982 and Grandmaster in 1991.

    As a player, he triumphed in numerous international tournaments across various countries. Additionally, Kengis excelled as a coach, working with legendary players like Mikhail Tal and nurturing future champions from Egypt, including Ahmed Adly and Amin Bassem. His coaching impact extended to national teams, notably with Bangladesh and the UAE, contributing significantly to players’ development and achievements.

    Currently, he continues to share his expertise as a self-employed private coach, showcasing his enduring passion for chess.

    Edvins Kengis. Photo: FIDE

    David Sedgwick (ENG):
    David Sedgwick, with over 35 years of experience as a chess arbiter, has made invaluable contributions to the chess community through his expertise, dedication, and extensive involvement in organizing and officiating chess events. David Sedgwick was born on May 5, 1954, in Pinner, Middlesex, England. He went to Whitgift School in Croydon and Queens’ College, Cambridge. For thirteen years, he worked in investment management.
    Since the late 1970s, Sedgwick has been a member and Chairman of both the Insurance Chess Club and Mushrooms Chess Club. He served as the President of the Southern Counties Chess Union from 1993 to 1995 and as the International Director of the British Chess Federation (now the English Chess Federation) from 1995 to 1999.

    From 2007 to 2013, he represented the ECF on the Sport and Recreation Alliance, helping to include the Chess in Schools and Communities project in the Community Sport and Recreation Awards of 2012 and 2013.
    With over 35 years as a chess arbiter, Sedgwick earned his BCF Arbiter title in 1986, became a FIDE International Arbiter in 1994, and achieved BCF Senior Arbiter status in 1997.

    David Sedgwick. Photo: John Saunders

    These individuals demonstrate excellence and dedication in the chess world, and FIDE’s support reflects their lasting impact on the game and its community.


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