Mikhail Gorbachev closes Women's World Championship

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Mikhail Gorbachev closed the Women's World Championship match between Hou Yifan and Humpy Konery on Wednesday. The closing ceremony was held in the Presidential Palace in the capital of Albania on the evening of the 30th of November.

Report & photos © FIDE by Anna Burtasova & Anastasiya Karlovich

The ceremony was attended by Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev, the last head of state of the USSR and Nobel Peace Prize winner in 1990 for "his leading role in the peace process which today characterizes important parts of the international community". Gorbachev came to Tirana especially for the occasion.

A press conference with Hou Yifan, Rezart Taci, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, Mikhail Gorbachev and Humpy Koneru

The legendary politician was invited by FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, who also held a speech at the closing ceremony of the main women’s chess competition of the year.

Mikhail Gorbachev and Kirsan Ilyumzhinov

Due to the cooperation with Ilyumzhinov and Gorbachev’s devotion to chess in the years of his youth (he learned to play during the Second World War as he said in the speech), the former Head of the USSR agreed to take the honorary position of the patronage of the FIDE’s program “Chess in Schools”.

Gorbachev giving a speech

“The first thing we should always think about is kids, and their education and opportunities”, said Gorbachev at the ceremony.

Toasting on Hou Yifan's World Championship

The distinguished guests, including the President of Albanian Chess Federation and main sponsor of the match Rezart Taci as well as FIDE officials joined Gorbachev and Ilyumzhinov in congratulating the World Champion, 17-year-old Chinese prodigy Hou Yifan, and her challenger Humpy Koneru from India.

Gorbachev giving the prize to challenger Humpy Koneru...

...and of course the most important trophy, to Hou Yifan
 

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