World Title Match To Start Sunday In Tallinn

On Sunday,  May 12 at 11 am the international draughts World Title Match will be festively opened at the Tallinn Nordic Hotel Forum, where grandmasters Alexander Georgiev, four-time and current ruling world champion and three-time world champion Alexander Shwarzman as a challenger will compete for the world championship title. The head referee of the match will be Frank Teer from The Netherlands, Secretary-General of the World Draughts Federation. The match will last until May 18 and games will start every day at 10 am (except for the opening day when the games will start at noon). Anyone interested can watch the games at the venue or online at http://wcmm2013.fmjd.org.


,,In Tallinn, two of the world’s absolute top draughts-players of the last two decades and rivals will compete for the title of world champion," said Harry Otten, President of the World Draughts Federation (FMJD). ,,First of all we expect to see a singularly stimulating match. The winner is impossible to predict because the contestants are very equal. I would like to thank Estonia and Tallinn, who are organizing the match. Tallinn has clearly become Europe’s draughts capital, where the greatest number of European draughts title competitions have recently been held. The ardour of the Estonian Draughts Federation in organizing competitions has set a great example for Europe and the world alike. Another big thanks is due to Maarten van Leenen, an important draughts promotor from The Netherlands who is generously contributing to the organization of this event. It is thanks to promotors such as Maarten van Leenen and Janek Mäggi, president of the Estonian and European Draughts federations, that FMJD is moving into the future at great speed." 


,,It’s a great honour for Tallinn to host a draughts world championship match for the third time – last time it was held in Tallinn in 1993,” said the Mayor of Tallinn, Edgar Savisaar. ,,The headquarters of the European Draughts Confederation have been in Tallinn since 2007 and every year, some European or world draughts title competitions have been held in Tallinn. The WC match in Tallinn is a sign of the recognition Estonia has earned for its many years of good work in organizing title competitions.” 


Although draughts is not an Olympic sport, the Estonian Draughts Federation has managed to make draughts an attractive and interesting mind sport in Estonia and take an important role in the European and international draughts landscape," said Neinar Seli, President of the Estonian Olympic Committee. ,,Draughts is the only sub-federation of the Estonian Olympics Committee with the European headquarters in Tallinn. We have top athletes on the international level in several fields of sports, but world-standard sports managers only in a few fields.”


,,We have tried to organize at least one international title competition every year,” said Janek Mäggi, President of the Estonian Draughts Federation and the European Draughts Confederation. ,,This year, the European Team Championships were held in April and the WC match will begin on Sunday at the Nordic Hotel Forum. The competition can be followed both at the venue and online. There will be plenty of excitement to last for the whole week, as a distinctive feature of the new system prescribes that each match there will be a winner.


Challenger Alexander Shwarzman was the world champion in 1998, 2007, 2009 and Alexander Georgiev, ruling world champion in 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2011. Both of them have played in Tallinn at different title championships several times.


The World Draughts Federation (FMJD, www.fmjd.org ) was founded in 1947 by four federations, France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland. Its main purpose was to regulate the competition of the world championship. Though from 1897 onwards world champions had been proclaimed between France and the Netherlands, the growth of the number of countries and the desire to have a more regular competition gave rise to this international organization. From this early start, the FMJD grew to close to the sixty participating national federations it has at present.


FMJD has become a member of SportAccord, the umbrella organization for all internationally recognized sports, Olympic and – in the case of draughts – non-Olympic. As such, FMJD membership (and that of FIDE (chess), IGF (go)  and WBF (bridge)) is part of a more general movement towards integration of mind sports in the regular sports arenas, a development that in the vision of the FMJD is to be lauded.


The European Draughts Confederation (www.europedraughts.org) was established by 12 European federations in 1998 in Tallinn. To date, 25 countries have joined the confederation. The first president of the European Draughts Confederation was Jacek Pawlicki from Poland and until late 2007, the headquarters of the confederation were situated in Poland. The presiding president is Janek Mäggi, who has also served as President of the Estonian Draughts Federation since 1999. The headquarters of the European Draughts Confederation are located at the Tallinn Chess House at 29 Vene Street. The European Draughts Confederation organizes European title competitions in draughts. The goal of the confederation is to promote draughts as a field of sports in Europe and to engage new member countries.


The Estonian Draughts Federation (www.kabeliit.ee) was established on 22 April 1990. It became a member of the World Draughts Federation (FMJD) on 19 October 1991. The Estonian Draughts Federation is a founding member of the European Draughts Confederation (EDC), which was also established on 13 August 1998 in Tallinn and it also belongs to the Estonian Olympic Committee. The Estonian Draughts Federation has 14 member clubs. Several forms of draughts are played in Estonia, the most popular ones being Russian draughts and international draughts (64 and 100 squares, respectively). There are over 1000 active draughts players in Estonia. Estonia has numerous high level players, including three international grandmasters: Urmo Ilves, Arno Uutma and Kaido Leesmann.