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The Republic of Serbia, the City of Belgrade and the Chess Federation of Serbia are hosting the first FIDE Chess Olympiad for people with disabilities, which was officially opened in the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia. The support given to this sports event, which lasts until February 5, was provided by the World Chess Federation (FIDE), while the general sponsor is the NIS company.
Twenty-six teams from 22 countries have participated in this mixed team competition. The teams are composed of four players each, and one team consists of players with impaired hearing, unsighted and partially sighted players, as well as players with physical disabilities. The FIDE Chess Paralympics will be held every two years, in order to give as many disabled players as possible, the opportunity to compete at the international level, representing their country.
„We are greatly honored by the fact that the first FIDE Chess Olympiad for people with disabilities is being held in Serbia. We are very pleased to have hosted competitors from as many as 22 countries,” said Zoran Gajić, Minister of Sports of the Republic of Serbia, at the official opening of the Chess Paralympics.
Arkady Dvorkovich, the chairperson of the World Chess Federation, stated that he was proud of the chess players who came from all continents and who, despite the difficulties, have shown considerable effort and talents. Dvorkovich thanked the Government of Serbia, for the support of this event, to the Ministry of Sports, as well as to the NIS Company.
Dragan Lazić, the chair of the Chess Federation of Serbia, stated that today’s day enters as a part of the rich history of Serbian chess, which is rich not only in the results achieved by Serbian chess players, but also in numerous tournaments that have been successfully organized.
Vadim Smirnov, Deputy CEO, addressed the audience on behalf of the main sponsor of the event – NIS Company.
“NIS is the proud sponsor of the first Chess Paralympics. This means that today we are writing a new page in chess history together, not only Serbian, but also world chess. Chess is a unique sport. It teaches us equality, tolerance and fair play. These are the values that our company also stands for,” Smirnov stated.
FIDE, with its 195 members, is one of the largest sports organizations in the world. It was founded in 1924 in Paris and with almost a hundred years of history, it has been very successful in promoting and improving chess in all areas of society. By the way, chess became the first inclusive sport in 1848 when, for the first time in history, the chess set was adapted for visually impaired players.