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'Bigfish' Fedoseev To Play For Slovenia: 'I Have No Will To Represent Russia'
Vladimir Fedoseev. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

'Bigfish' Fedoseev To Play For Slovenia: 'I Have No Will To Represent Russia'

AnthonyLevin
| 41 | Chess Players

As of July 27, the 28-year-old Russian-born GM Vladimir Fedoseev's federation transfer is complete and he will represent Slovenia in future chess tournaments. With a 2676 published rating, the "Bigfish" (from his username on Chess.com) is the Slovenian number-one.  

Image: FIDE profile.

Fedoseev stopped representing Russia after the invasion of Ukraine in 2022, and he played under the FIDE flag instead. He first moved to the Valencia region in Spain. He was one of four Russian grandmasters who spoke to Chess.com in 2022 about leaving their native country, and he said last year: "I really do not want to represent them [Russia] anymore, even once in life."

In a brief interview for this article, Fedoseev mentioned that he still has a residence in Spain but also more recently in Slovenia. Although he said he's been in Slovenia for just 10 days this summer, he also stressed that he plans to spend more time there. "It's a life-changing decision... and also a forced decision, as I see in my case because I have no will to represent Russia in any competition anymore."

It's a life-changing decision... and also a forced decision, as I see in my case because I have no will to represent Russia in any competition anymore.

—Vladimir Fedoseev

He added: "I hope that, for now, I will not need to change federation in my life. It's basically a life decision and I am serious about playing for Slovenia for many years, that's for sure."

In the conversation, he referenced the FIDE rule change that was also the catalyst for several other strong Russian grandmasters to change federations recently. Normally, a federation transfer can be expensive (for Fedoseev, upward of €30,000); now the fees to the Russian Chess Federation are waived until August 31, 2023.

Chess.com has covered other top Russian grandmasters who have transferred since the rule change, such as former Candidates participant GM Kirill Alekseenko to Austria, former Russian champion GM Alexander Motylev to Romania, reigning European Champion GM Alexey Sarana, and former women's world champion GM Alexandra Kosteniuk to Switzerland.

Russia retains its absolute elite players, like former world championship challenger Ian Nepomniachtchi, GM Alexander Grischuk, and GM Daniil Dubov. After his six-month ban, GM Sergey Karjakin has been inactive in FIDE-rated tournaments outside of Russia.

There are Russian-born players who are missing from the list who are playing under the FIDE flag and have not transferred federations to another country, the highest-rated one being 2720-rated GM Nikita Vitiugov, who moved to Spain. GM Andrey Esipenko is also currently under a FIDE flag, but last week signed a long-term sponsorship deal with the Russian Chess Federation.

Russia's top 20. Image: FIDE website.

Fedoseev achieved a peak rating of 2733 in the year 2017 when he was the world number-24 at the age of 22. He has remained in the world's top 100 since then. He is a regular participant in Chess.com tournaments such as Titled Tuesday and the Champions Chess Tour, where he recently participated in Division I of the Aimchess Rapid 2023. He qualified for that by winning first place in Division II of the 2023 ChessKid Cup

Fedoseev thanked the chess club in Maribor, which helped him attain his residence in Slovenia. He also thanked Slovenian chess federation members, Ukrainian-born Slovenian GM Adrian Mikhalchishin who helped him in the process, and his coach IM Roman Vidonyak who had the idea of working with Slovenia. 

His first tournament under the Slovenian flag will be the World Cup, starting this Sunday, which he felt was "nice timing."

He also playfully mentioned that his actual first games under the flag will be on Friday, in his Champions Chess Tour Julius Baer Generation Cup 2023 two-game match against GM Oleksandr Bortnyk to place into Division II, although this is a little tongue-in-cheek because it is an online tournament and not FIDE-rated.

Edited on 7/28/2023: The Slovenian Chess Federation provided the following statement, where they added that GM Anton Demchenko will also play for Slovenia (starting on July 29).

We are delighted and proud to announce that GM Vladimir Fedoseev and GM Anton Demchenko have joined the Slovenian Chess Federation. This decision will certainly be beneficial to Slovenian chess as well as both GMs. The Slovenian Chess Federation will do its best to support the newly joined GMs to the greatest possible extent on their chess journey with us. Together, we shall aim to reach new heights and contribute to the progress and excellence of Slovenian chess on the global stage.

AnthonyLevin
NM Anthony Levin

NM Anthony Levin caught the chess bug at the "late" age of 18 and never turned back. He earned his national master title in 2021, actually the night before his first day of work at Chess.com.

Anthony, who also earned his Master's in teaching English in 2018, taught English and chess in New York schools for five years and strives to make chess content accessible and enjoyable for people of all ages. At Chess.com, he writes news articles and manages social media for chess24.

Email:  anthony.levin@chess.com

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