Ceremonies and Chess
by Bill Wall

On October 6, 1857, the opening ceremonies for the First American Chess Congress took place in the Descombes Rooms on Broadway in New York in a hall decorated like a chess shrine. An American flag draped the bust of Benjamin Franklin, the first known chess player and chess writer in America. At the closing ceremony, a table was adorned with chess ornaments, including statues of Benjamin Franklin in ice and a menu that included Pudding a la Franklin. The color for each participant was chosen by lottery. Eight white and eight yellow stubs were numbered 1 through 8 and placed in a box. The white ticket had "Choice ofChessmen and first move" written on it. Whoever chose #1 white would play whoever chose #1 yellow. Whoever picked a white stub had the choice of color and the first move. On November 11, 1857, there was an awards ceremony for the chess congress. Paul Morphy refused the $300 first place money, (over $6,000 in today's currency), although it was announced before the tournament was over that the prizes would not be given in hard dollars. Instead, he accepted a silver pitcher, four goblets, and a silver tray. The tray was manufactured by Ball, Black & Co. of New York. The plate was inscribed, "This service of plate was presented to Paul Morphy as the Victor in the Grand Tournament at the first Congress of the American National Chess association, New York, 1857." It was valued at $300. Paulsen received a gold shield and eagle.

In 1859, a ceremony was held for Paul Morphy on his return to the United States from Europe. A magnificent chess board with gold and silver chessmen, was presented to Morphy through John Van Buren.

In 1859, a presentation ceremony was held at the Manhattan Chess Club in New York. The portrait painter Charles Loning Elliot presented a painting of Paul Morphy. At the ceremony, one administrative chess official noted: "You have him here gentlemen, as portrayed by Elliot. The finest chess player, by the finest American portrait painter. It is a work worthy of your admiration and of your most vigilant preservation." Following Morphy's passing in 1884, the portrait was draped in mourning for a period of three months.

In August 1908, the opening ceremony for the 1908 World Chess Championship between Emanuel Lasker and SeigbertTarrasch was held in Duesseldorf. At the ceremony, Tarrasch refused to talk to Lasker. Tarrasch, on catching sight of Lasker, literally clicked his heelsand said: "Mr. Lasker, I have only three words to you: check and mate!"

In August 1911, the opening ceremony of the Carlsbad 1911 Chess Tournament was held at the Imperial bath hotel Kurhaus (Kaiserbad) in the spa city of Carlsbad (Bohemia, then Austria-Hungary Empire). Present were 26 chess masters. Of the top players in the world, only two were missing from the tournament: Emanuel Lasker and Jose Capablanca. The event was an enormous 26 round-robin tournament (325 games), eventually won by Richard Teichmann.

In July 1924, the closing ceremony of the 1st Team Chess Tournament, the first unofficial Chess Olympiad, was held at the Hotel Majestic. It awarded the Amateur World Champion to HermanisMatisons of Latvia. The top teams were Czechoslovakia (gold), Hungary (silver), and Switzerland (bronze). At the end of the ceremony, 15 delegates signed the proclamation act that created the World Chess Federation called FIDE (Federation Internationale des Echecs).

In December 1927, the closing ceremony of the 1927 World Chess Championship match between Alekhine and Capablanca was held in Buenos Aires. Alekhine showed up at the ceremony to be crowned the new world chess champion and thanked everyone, but Capablanca did not show up and refused to participate in a public closing ceremony.

In 1932, a sound film of the opening ceremony of the 1932 London Chess Congress was made, taken by Gaumont Coy., Ltd. The file was then shown at a large number of London and vicinity movie theatres.

In March 1935, the closing ceremony of the Second Moscow International took place at the National Hotel in Moscow. Botvinnik and Flohr tied for 1st-2nd place. Entertainment was provided by pianist Sergei Prokoviev, who performed a new composition on the piano. Botvinnik was given a new car. It was the first private automobile given anyone on the Soviet Union. In October 1935, the opening ceremony for the 1935 World Chess Championship between Alekhine and Euwe was held at the Carlton Hotel in Amsterdam. Present at the opening ceremony were the Netherland Minister of Education, the mayor of Amsterdam, the president of FIDE (MrRueb), the French Consul at Amsterdam, and officers of the Netherland Chess Association. Also present were Alexander Alekhine, Max Euwe, SaloFlohr and his wife, Hans Kmoch, GezaMaroczy, and Dr, S, Tartakover. (sources: opening reception footage - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_z2gtjlnM60 and "Alekhine-Euwe 1935: powerfule images," ChessBase News, Dec 13, 2013 - https://en.chessbase.com/post/alekhine-euwe-1935-powerful-images)

In September 1939, the closing ceremony for the 1939 Chess Olympiad has held in Buenos Aires Argentina. World War II began on September 1 after Germany invaded Poland. Germany won the team gold medal. At the trophy ceremony, no one applauded their team for winning the event.

In 1945, Humphrey Bogart was selected as Master of Ceremonies at the 1945 Pan-American International Tournament, held in Los Angeles. Singer and actress Carmen Miranda (1909-1955) was there to open the event and draw the players' numbers for the pairings.

In August 1946, at the opening of the 1946 Groningen, Netherlands chess tournament, Max Euwe and his daughter sang a patriotic Russian song. The event was won by Mikhail Botvinnnik.

In April 1948, the opening ceremony of the Moscow leg of the Hague-Moscow 1948 Match/Tournament for the World Chess Championship was held at the Hall of Commons in Moscow. The hall was completely full. On stage were the five participants and their seconds, the tournament arbiter with his assistants, and numerous foreign guests. Chairman Postnikov gave the opening speech, saying that chess was one of the means to forge cultural ties between nations. Dr. Euwe gave his speech in Russian and was greet with thunderous applause.

In May 1960, the closing ceremony of the 1960 World Chess Championship was held at the Pushkin Theatre in Moscow. Tal was congratulated on winning the championship and was presented with a huge flowered wreath that was put around his neck. (source: closing ceremony video - https://www.britishpathe.com/video/mikhail-tal-world-chess-champion/query/chess)

In 1961, actor Jose Ferrer (1912-1992) was the master of ceremonies for the 1961 Fischer-Reshevsky chess match that was held in Los Angeles.

In July 1963, the opening ceremony of the 1963 Piatigorsky Cup was held at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. At the opening ceremony, it was announced that the winner would receive a car (a Rambler) in addition to the prize money. Paul Keres and Tigran Petrosian tied for 1st place, and they both got a car. Keres's Rambler is today preserved in the Halinga Car Museum near Parnu, Estonia.

In 1968, at a chess tournament in Athens, two Greek players were trying to qualify for the International Master (IM) title at the event. During the opening ceremony, invited players to the tournament were asked if they would draw or lose their games to the Greek players. In return, they would be paid a sum of money or points would be thrown in their direction by other accommodating players. Some players cooperated, others refused. The two Greek players did get their International Master title. In September 1970, the opening ceremony of the 19th Chess Olympiad took place at the Buehne in Siegen, West Germany. The anthem of FIDE, a composition by Conte dal Veme, was played under the direction of R. Agop, who had orchestrated this hymn for this occasion. Ludwig Schneider, President of the German Chess Federation welcomed the guests and players. After addresses by Karl Althaus, the Lord Mayor of Siegen and FolkeRogard, President of the FIDE, Hans-Dietrich Genscher, Federal Minister of the Interior, opened the Olympiad. Schneider presented Rogard with a FIDE flag. 60 teams (64 teams were present) and 360 players participated in this event.

On July 1, 1972, Bobby Fischer missed the 8 p.m. opening ceremony of the world chess championship, held in Reykjavik, Iceland. Boris Spassky was in attendance.

In April 1975, a ceremony was held at the House of Trade Unions in Moscow with FIDE president Max Euwe crowning Anatoly Karpov as the new World Chess Champion, which he won by default when Bobby Fischer refused to play. Karpov received a medal, the Chess Oscar trophy, and a large wreath. (source: ceremony video - https://www.britishpathe.com/video/VLVADQ5UDTGJN9GE8GFEU8Q0818Z6-USSR-ANATOLI-KARPOV-CROWNED-WORLD-CHESS-CHAMPION-BY-DEFAULT/query/chess)

In October 1976, the opening ceremony of the 22nd Chess Olympiad was held at the Dan Carmel hotel in Haifa, Israel. All the Communist and East European countries declined to participate. When the Yugoslav flag appeared at the opening ceremony, it was greeted by an outburst of applause. However, it was announced that Yugoslavia would have a delegate at the FIDE congress, but its team would not participate at the Olympiad.

In December 1980, the closing ceremony of the 24th Chess Olympiad was held at the Mediterranean Conference Center in Las Valletta, Malta. The closing ceremony was a splendid finale with folkloristic songs and dances from various nations. The Minister for Sport, the Honorable Lorry Sant, presented the trophies and medals after which the military orchestra played the FIDE Anthem. Garry Kasparov was awarded the silver medal during the closing ceremony, but afterwards, it was discovered that the Malta B sixth board had scored better and there had been a mistake. The silver medal went back to Malta and a presentation was made afterwards by the Minister of Sport on national TV.

In November 1986, the opening ceremony of the 27th Chess Olympiad was held at the Dubai Trade Centre in the UAE. It was one of the most lavish and expensive opening ceremonies in all of the chess Olympiads. A new record of 107 teams participated.

In October 1990, the opening ceremony of the 1990 World Championship match between Kasparov and Karpov took place at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Manhattan, which I attended. Karpov and his wife greeted everyone at the door. It also included a fundraiser for the ‘Chess in Schools' program of the American Chess Foundation. Afterwards, a large charity dinner was held in which sportswriter and broadcaster Dick Schaap was master of ceremonies. The New York event was held at the Macklowe Center.

In June 1992, the opening ceremony of the 30th Chess Olympiad was held at the Philippine International Convention Center in Manila, Philippines. During the opening ceremony, a flag bearer, Francisco Opao, threatened Philippine President Corazon Aquino, and was arrested by the presidential security guards. The flag bearer said he was only joking when he said he wanted to "skewer" Mrs. Aquino with the flagpole he carried. Later, Mrs. Aquino and world chess champion Garry Kasparov made the first symbolic opening moves.

In September 1992, the opening ceremony of the match between Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky was held at Sveti Stefan, and island of the coast of Yugoslavia (now Montenegro). At the opening ceremony, Fischer spat on a U.S. government letter and charged that the world championship matches involving Kasparov and Karpov had been rigged.

In September 1998, the opening ceremony of the 33rd Chess Olympiad was held in Elista, Kalmykia, Russia. The opening ceremony took place as scheduled, but the playing site, the Chess Palace, was not completed and still covered in scaffolding and missing some windows. The first round was delay, a free day was eliminated, and the tournament was shortened to 13 rounds instead of 14 rounds.

In November 2000, a spectacular closing ceremony of the 34th Chess Olympiad was held at the Istanbul Convention & Exhibition Centre in Istanbul, Turkey. After the speeches and prize giving there was about an hour of music, dance and spectacular costumes from Turkey's rich cultural heritage. The favorite piece may have been the swirling dervishes - about a dozen men, some young, some old, who came on stage dressed in lose fitting white robes. When the music started each dancer began rotating on the spot at a fairly fast rate. They extended their arms and tilted their heads to the side, and their robes billowed out. Somehow, they managed to keep their center of gravity stationary and appeared to be in some kind of trance. They kept this up for as much as 5 minutes, and then suddenly the music stopped, they stopped rotating and walked off stage.

In October 2002, the opening ceremony of the 25th Chess Olympiad was held at the FestivalnaDvorana sports hall in Bled, Slovenia. The Olympiad was officially opened by the President of the Republic of Slovenia and was attended by over 3,000 people.

In April 2003, the closing ceremony was held in Linares, Spain in the 20th Linares Super GM Tournament. During the closing ceremony, a prize for the best-played game was given to GM TeimourRadjabov, for his victory over Garry Kasparov. During the prize-giving, Kasparov went to the microphone and angrily said: "I believe that this one is not the best game of the tournament. It has been chosen solely because it was the only game that I lost, and I consider that this is a public insult and a humilitation."

In October 2004, the opening ceremony of the 36th Chess Olympiad was held at the Gran Casicno de Mallorca in Calvia, Spain. The opening ceremony has been regarded by the participants as one of the best in the history of the Olympiads. During the closing ceremony, FIDE vice-president ZurabAzmaiparashvili was roughed up and arrested as he attempted to ascend the stage to give out the Nona Gaprindashvili Trophy.

In May 2005, the inaugural ceremony of Chess Week was held in Frascati, Italy. In attendance was Boris Spassky, who reconstructed a chess game he played against Italian grandmaster Sergio Mariotti in 1976 on a live chess board. (source: "Spassky and living chess in Frascati," ChessBase News, May 21, 2005 - https://en.chessbase.com/post/spaky-and-living-che-in-frascati/11)

In September 2007, the closing ceremony of the 2007 world chess championship took place at the Palacio de Mineria in Mexico City. The ceremony ended with the crowning of Vishy Anand as world chess champion. (source: "World Championship Mexico: the closing ceremony." ChessBase News, Oct 1, 2007 - https://en.chessbase.com/post/world-championship-mexico-the-closing-ceremony )

In December 2008, the opening ceremony of the Pearl Spring Chess Tournament was held in Nanjing, Jiangsu, China. The event featured six super-GM players, subsequently won by VeselinTopalov. Guests invited to the opening ceremony included Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, President of FIDE, Boris Kitin, Presient of the European Chess Union, Sheikh Sultan, President of the Asian Chess Union, Liang Zhirong, Secretary-General of FIDE, Xu Jialu, Vice-chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, and Robert Mundell, 1999 winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics.

In March 2009, the closing ceremony of the 2009 Women's Grand Prix was held on the 41st floor of the Is Bank Towers, the highest spot in Istanbul and Southern Europe. Koneru Humpy, Elina Danielian and 15-year-old Hou Yifan picked up their trophies and checks for 6,500, 4375 and 4375 Euros for the first and joint second places. The Turkish Sports Minister and the bank chiefs were present. (source: "Istanbul Women's Grand Prix – the closing ceremony," ChessBase News, Mar 21, 2009 - https://en.chessbase.com/post/istanbul-women-s-grand-prix-the-closing-ceremony)

In August 2010, a ceremony was held at the World Chess Hall of Fame in St Louis. During that time. Diane Saveride, Herman Steiner, and Jackson Showalter were inducted into the U.S. Hall of Fame. Showalter's great granddaughter, Amy Showalter, attended the ceremony and accepted the plaque on behalf of the Showalter family.

In September 2011, the closing ceremony of the World Chess Cup took place in the Ogran Hall of the Ugra Classic concert and theater center in Ugra, Khanty Mansiysk. The winner of this event was Peter Svidler. The closing ceremony was attended by the Deputy Governor of Ugra Ilya Petrov, the Mayor of Khanty-Mansiysk Vassily Filipenko, and the FIDE Vice-President Ilya Levitov. They congratulated the finalists, awarded them trophies, and wished them success in future competitions. (source: closing ceremony video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wylL699jgvA ) In January 2012, the closing ceremonies of a United Arab Emirates chess festival, held at the Al Ain Chess Club, featured soccer (football) legend Diego Armando Maradon making a move for one of the chess teams in the event.

In June 2012, the closing ceremony of the 2012 World Championship was held in the Tretyakov Gallery's Engineering Building in Moscow. The match between Anand and Gelfand ended with Anand being crowned world chess champion by FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov.

On December 1, 2012, the opening ceremony of the London Chess Classic was held at the Olympia Conference Centre in London, England. The opening ceremony featured a mini-concert of music played by Pianist Jason Kouchak and Alf Wilhelm Lundberg. Jason played compositions by Rachmaninov and Gershwin. (source: London Chess Classic Special Events - https://www.londonchessclassic.com/2012/special_events.htm)

In September 2012, the closing ceremony of the 40th Chess Olympiad, held at the WOW hotel in Istanbul, saw the performance of SertabErener, a Turkish pop music singer and cross-over soprano, He sang his hit song, "Every Way That I Can."

In April 2013, the opening ceremony of the Alekhine Memorial was held at the Louvre Museum in Paris. It featured a concert by Russian pianist Nikolai Lugansky. He select piano works by the Russian composer Sergei Rachmaninoff.

In November 2013, the closing ceremony of the FIDE World Chess Championship 2013 between Viswanathan Anand and Magnus Carlsen, held in Chennai, India, saw the crowning of Magnus Carlsen as the new world champion. The champion's medal, trophy and wreath were presented by FIDE President, Iluzhminov. It was perhaps the only chess ceremony where security personnel packed automatic weapons on stage.

In December 2013, the opening ceremony of the World Chess Team Championship took place in Antalya, Turkey. It featured several dance routines on stage. (source: opening ceremony video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DuyrqY_sGVY)

In April 2014, the opening ceremony of the Shamkir Chess 2014 tournament was held in the Heydar Alyev Center in Shamkir, Azerbaijan. There was a dedication to the memory of GM Vugar Gashimov.

In August 2014, the opening ceremony of the 41st Chess Olympiad, held at the SkarphallenTromso, Norway, was opened by Norway's finance minister, Siv Jensen. It was attended by around 1,500 people. The opening ceremony featured a spectacular visual light show and music from some of Norway's top bands.There was live music from Violet Road, Hekla Stålstrenga, Inger BiretKvernmoGaup and Lisa Stokke, accompanied by a full ensemble of the Arctic Philharmonic Orchestra. During the closing ceremony, there was a moment of silence observed for a player that died during the last round of the tournament. His name was Kurt Meier from the Seychelles, age 67. He suffered from a heart attack while playing against an opponent from Rwanda. His son was playing on the board next to him.

In September 2014, the opening ceremony of the first Russian chess museum was held in Moscow. The ceremony was attended by the President of the World Chess Federation (FIDE) Mr. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, Press-Secretary of the President of the Russian Federation, Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Russian Chess Federation Mr. Dmitry Peskov, First Deputy Speaker of the State Duma of the Russian Federation, President of the Olympic Committee of Russia, Vice-President of the Supervisory Board Mr. Alexandr Zhukov, Deputy Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation, member of the Advisory Board of the Russian chess Federation Mr. Arkady Dvorkovich, Vice-President of FIDE, the President of the Russian Chess Federation Mr. Andrey Filatov.The collection of the new Museum included rare chess sets of different cultures and eras. The collection consisted of personal belongings of the great Grandmasters: Mikhail Chigorin, Alexander Alekhine, Mikhail Botvinnik, Tigran Petrosian: old books, posters, paintings, gifts of chess fans and celebrity guests, trophies of the Soviet and Russian Champions.It also had on display rare chess sets of the 17th-21st centuries, including the artworks of world level, some of them the envy of the big art museums. (source: The First Russian Chess Museum - https://www.fide.com/component/content/article/1-fide-news/8299-the-first-russian-chess-museum.html)

On November 3, 2014, the opening ceremony for the TASHIR International Tigran Petrosian Chess Memorial was held at the Novotel Hotel in Moscow. The ceremony was attended by well-known businessmen, sportsmen, cultural figures,the owner of the Tashir group Samvel Karapetian, member of the RCF supervisory board, businessman Gennady Timchenko, the President of FIDE Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, the President of RCF Andrey Filatov, businessmen Oleg Skvortsov, Director General of CCIRF, RCF Vice-President Pavel Shinsky, famous basketball player Sergey Panov, world champions in modern pentathlon Sergey Karyakin and AlexandrLesun and elite chessplayers of the world: the world's eldest grandmaster Yuri Averbach, RCF President's adviser Alexandr Bach, Merited Coaches of the USSR Anatoly Bykhovsky and Mark Dvoretsky, grandmasters Sergey Karjakin, Ian Nepomniachtchi, Sergey Yanovsky, YuryDokhoian, Evgeniy Najer, Valentina Gunina, Alexandra Kosteniuk, Olga Girya, Svetlana Matveeva and many others. The ceremony was hosted by film director, actor and TV anchor Tigran Keosaian. During the opening ceremony the film "The Iron Tigran" about Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian was demonstrated; then the legend of Armenian chess, grandmaster Rafael Vaganian, informed the audience of the book "T. Petrosian's Chess Lectures" that had been reprinted by the Tashir group of companies in honor of the present tournament. (source: "FIDE President at Petrosian Memorial in Moscow," FIDE News, Nov 4, 2014 - https://www.fide.com/component/content/article/1-fide-news/8390-fide-president-at-petrosian-memorial-in-moscow.html)

In November 2014, the closing ceremony of the 2014 World Chess Championship, held in Sochi, Russia, saw the re-crowning of Magnus Carlsen after he defeated Viswanathan Anand. The closing ceremony brought Carlsen and Anand on the stage to receive commendations. The champion's cup and wreath were presented to Carlsen by FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Putin made congratulatory remarks before the award presentation. It was the first time a Head-of-State had made such remarks to a world chess champion. (source: FIDE World Chess Championship 2014 Closing Ceremony video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XxWZ0MSV_YU)

In January 2015, the closing ceremony of the 77th Tata Steel Chess Masters tournament was held in Wijk aan Zee, the Netherlands. The event was won by Magnus Carlsen who received the winner's trophy. (source: closing ceremony video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dbh5ccsrrq8 )

In September 2016, the opening ceremony of the 42nd Chess Olympiad in Baku, Azerbaijan, was held at the National Gymnastics Arena in Baku. The elaborate opening ceremony lasted around two hours. It featured songs such as Epic-8012 by Jeffrey Paterson, Seven Beauties by Kara Karayev and The Highway by Zachary David. The songs and dancing routines(from classical ballet to street dancing) were performed on a large chess board on the stage. Speeches were made by FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev. (Opening Ceremony video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6oafBSJfFuc)

In October 2016, an event called "The Queen's Journey: An Exploration of Chess, Music and Dance" was organized in White Plains, New York and sponsored by the National Scholastic Chess Federation (NSCF). The ceremony included a ballet called "Reflections," The ballet was a four-minute composition by world-renowned classical pianist Jason Kouchak. Kouchak introduced a new composition called "Journey of Joy," followed by another song composed for the ceremony called "Queen of the Castle," performed by Mr. Kouchak on Piano and Carolyn Weermantry (Gm Hikaru Nakamura's mother) on violin. (source: "Chess educators explore connections between chess and the arts," ChessBase News, Jan 30, 2017 - https://en.chessbase.com/post/chess-educators-explore-connections-between-chess-and-the-arts)

In November 2016, the opening ceremony for the 2016 World Chess Championship between Magnus Carlsen and Sergey Karjakin was held at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. Hosted by actor, director, producer, and chess fan Adrian Grenier, the reception was decked out in a classic black and white theme. The ceremony included musical performances by Russian pianist Nikola Meinikov and Norwegian violinist Isa Caroline Holmestad of the Oslo Strings. A performance was also given by the Harlem Gospel Choir, decked out in black and white robes inspired by chess pieces. (source: Closing Ceremony video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yn5oSclbN-k)

In June 2017, the closing ceremony of the World Team Chess Championship was held in Ugra, Russia. The songs performed included Splendore Di Venezia by Rondo Veneziano, Alla Figaro by Paul Mauriat, Bold Beginnings by SauveurMallia, and Hong Kong, March of the Volunteers. (source: Closing Ceremony video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2H8HEZKL6cQ)

In September 2017, the closing ceremony of the Chess World Cup 2017 was held in Tbilisi, Georgia. It was won by Armenian grandmaster LevonAronian, who was given a nice trophy and a check for $120,000 for his efforts. The songs included White Lines, Blue Planet, and Cosmic Ray, all by Terry Devince-King. (source: FIDE World Cup 2017 Closing Ceremony video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwXhaXU4ceo)

In October 2017, Judit Polgar's Global Chess Festival was held at Graphisoft Park in Budapest, Hungary. World-renowned classical pianist Jason Kouchak performed "Queen's Journey" as part of the ceremonies. (source: "Judit Polgar's Global Chess Festival," ChessBase News, Oct 22, 2017 - https://en.chessbase.com/post/judit-polgar-s-global-chess-festival/)

In March 2018, the opening ceremony of the 2018 Candidates Tournament was held at the Kuehlhaus in Berlin Germany. Armenian President Sarksyan attended the opening ceremony and said that "even though Armenia is a small country, it is a super power in chess." The winner, Fabiano Caruana, earned the right to challenge defending world champion Magnus Carlsen in the World Chess Championship 2018. The ceremony showed Caruana receiving a medal and a check for $117,000. (source: Closing Ceremony of FIDE World Chess Candidates Tournament 2018 video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nxTRb84IYVY)

In September 2018, the opening ceremony of the 43rd Chess Olympiadin Batumi, Georgia, was held in the Black Sea Arena in Shekvetili, 45 kilometers from Batumi. The first act was a play dedicated to the legend of the invention of chess. This was followed by video messages by Goodwill Ambassadors. Speeches were delivered by the Minister of Education and Science of Georgia MikheilBatiashvili, the Chairman of the Government of Adjara, TornikeRizhvadze, FIDE Deputy President Georgios Makropoulos, and the President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili. The ceremony continued with stage performances that united the representatives of classical and modern cultures. Georgian conductor NikolozMemanishvili directed a concert performed by the Evgeni Mikeladze State Symphony Orchestra, ballerina Nina Ananiashvili choreographed a ballet performance, and Sukhieshvili ensemble presented a new dance. Among others who made appearance on the stage were famous Georgian singers Nino Katamadze, Liza Bagrationi and Giorgi Ushikishvili, baritone LadoAtaneli, violist Giorgi Tsagareli, the indie rock band Nika Kocharov& Young Georgian Lolitaz, the folklore ensemble Lashari and the Batumi cappella. The last part of the ceremony was marked with the drawing of colors and was assisted by the Vishwanathan Anand and Georgian chess player Nana Dzagnidze who joined Chief Arbiter Takis Nikolopoulos on the stage. The colors had to be decided by white and black pearls hidden inside two seashells. Anand picked the white pearl that decided that United States as top seeds in the open event would play with the white pieces on the top board of the first round and Dzagnidze picked the black one that determined Russia as top seeds in the women's event to play with black on board one of the same round. The opening ceremony ended with fireworks displayed above the Black Sea ArenaThe closing ceremony was held in the Batumi State Music Centre. (source: "The best ever chess opening ceremony!" ChessBase News, Sep 24, 2018 - https://en.chessbase.com/post/the-best-ever-chess-opening-ceremony and opening ceremony video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1jl8uXZp58Q)

In October 2018, Judit Polgar's Global Chess Festival took place in Budapest. The ceremonies honored Hungarian pianist Gergely Boganyi, French compser Jason Kouchak, and the Chilean singer Juga de Prima. Jason Kouchak played the piano pieces "1000 Faces of Chess" and "Msic and Mosaic" at the opening. Singer/Songwriter Juga performed her song called "Isolated Pawn" with accompanying interpretive dance, and her prior chess hit "Oh Capablanca." (sources: "Judit Polgar's Global Chess Festival," ChessBase News, Oct 15, 2018 - https://en.chessbase.com/post/judit-polgars-global-chess-festival-2/ and "Oh Capablanca," ChessBase News, Sep 25, 2018 - https://en.chessbase.com/post/oh-capablanca-the-song)

In November 2018, the Chilean singer and composer Juga de Prima performed at the 2018 World Chess Championship match in London between Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana. Her song was called "Isolated Pawn." Jason Kouchakcomposed and performed the music to "Victory Moves." In the opening ceremony, actor Woody Harrelson made the first move (1.d4) for Fabiano Caruana, who accidently knocked over the White king. The move was taken back and Caruana played 1.e4. (video sources: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g-DAi6vN3gA and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1lzWRBiAdU)

In May 2019, the opening ceremony of the 2019 Women's Candidates took place in Kazan, Russia. The spectacular opening ceremony welcomed all participants, journalists, local chess players, guests and officials to Kazan. The opening ceremony included choreographic and musical performances. The vocal-choreographic composition "World Chess" was performed by "Way from the City" and the "WOW" bands. There were performances from the orchestra "Just Brass" and the highly acclaimed Tatarstan singer Aidar Suleimanov. Classical ballet performance by ballet "Allegro" meshed with breakdancing by "Action Man Crew." The video "World Crown", prepared specially for the tournament, was also shown during the ceremony. In the closing ceremony, the Brilliancy Prize was given to the Mariya Muzchuk – Aleksandra Goryachkina game. The event was won by Aleksandra Goryachkina. She will become the challenger to the World Women's Champion Ju Wenju of China. (source: closing ceremony video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iXuLvYqEIfw )

In June 2019, the opening ceremony of the 2019 GCT Croatia chess tournament was held at the Mimara Museum in Zagreb, Croatia. The ceremony included the drawing of lots. One of the special guests at the opening ceremony was Garry Kasparov. He has spent many summer holidays at a house he owns in the southern Croatian town of Makarska and he speaks the language. In 2014 Kasparov got Croatian citizenship. ThetTournament's first symbolic move was made by Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic against Magnus Carlsen on a 16th-century Venetian chess set. The tournament games were played at the historical Novinarski Dom (Journalist's home) building, the permanent head office of the Croatian Journalists Association.

In June 2019, the closing ceremony of the 2nd Goa International Grandmaster tournament in Goa, India, featured the music of Jorge Quintero and the 300 Violin Orchestra, and the song Nova by Ahrix.

In June 2019, the closing ceremony of the Altibox Norway Chess tournament in Stavanger, Norway, featured world-renowned classical pianist Jason Kouchak giving a musical performance for the audience, which included world chess champion Magnus Carlsen. He played excerpts from Edvard Grieg's Piano Concerto and Peer Gynt Suite. He also performed his own composition, called "Queen of the Knight." Another musical guest was the Chilean singer Juga de Prima. (source: "Closing out Norway Chess with music," ChessBase News, Jun 26, 2019 - https://en.chessbase.com/post/closing-norway-chess-2019-music )

In July 2019, the opening ceremony of the second leg of the FIDE Grand Prix Series 2019 took place in the House of Blackheads in Riga, Latvia. It was hosted by TV-host, actress and model DagmaraLegante-Celmina and TV-star and model Matins Kapzems. They introduced all 16 participants of the tournament.

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