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Alekhine Memorial in Voronezh, Russia invites you from 10-21st June 2019

by Rupali Mullick - 10/05/2019

The Alekhine Memorial in Voronezh, Russia is being held from the 10th to the 21st of June 2019. It is one of the strongest open events in the world. In 2017 a bunch of talented Indians went to the tournament and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Some of the talents who participated there were Praggnanandhaa, Nihal Sarin, Gukesh, Raunak Sadhwani, Leon Mendonca, Arjun Kalyan, V. Pranav, Vaishali, Rakshitta Ravi and others. In 2017, the number of Indians who took part were 18, but in 2018 it reduced to four. This year the organizers are keen to have more Indians at this tournament. Read on to know if you would like to take part in this year's Alekhine Memorial. 

When you think of a "chess festival" what do you envisage? Well, just like any other festival there should be chess all around! That's exactly what you would get if you travelled to the Voronezh Open from the 10th to the 21st of June 2019. Majorly chess events in Russia have been held in Moscow or St. Petersburg. However, the Alekhine Memorial in Voronezh remains as one of the most important events that take place in Russia in a calendar year. So, who are the top Indian players who have participated at the Voronezh Open in the past? Well, let's have a look at this photo:

Look at the talent in this picture! You have Nihal Sarin, Praggnanandhaa and Gukesh, who are all GMs now. We can also see Raunak Sadhwani and Leon Mendonca who are IMs. There Arjun Kalyan who recently completed his IM title and all three GM norms. We also have talented youngster Pranav. Vaishali and Rakshitta are two of the best Indian talents who can also be seen in the picture!

It is clear from the above picture that some of the best talents of Indian chess have played at the Alekhine Memorial in Voronezh. The first question to ask is - how strong is the tournament? Are there possibilities to make IM and GM norms at the event? Here's the starting list of the year 2018.

Starting list of the 2018 event

1GMMaghsoodloo Parham12539929IRI2638
2GMPonkratov Pavel4157800RUS2622
3GMPopov Ivan4170350RUS2608
4GMKokarev Dmitry4132181RUS2603
5GMKryakvin Dmitry4153278RUS2592
6GMPridorozhni Aleksei4127870RUS2589
7GMStukopin Andrey24107131RUS2589
8GMTimofeev Artyom4140419RUS2583
9GMTiviakov Sergei1008013NED2580
10GMVolkov Sergey4122763RUS2580
11GMChigaev Maksim4108116RUS2577
12GMBocharov Dmitry4138716RUS2576
13GMSavchenko Boris4147332RUS2565
14GMMoskalenko Alexander4155351RUS2558
15GMBelous Vladimir4174003RUS2555
16GMMaiorov Nikita13501720BLR2533
17IMIljiushenok Ilia24105074RUS2530
18IMTsydypov Zhamsaran4108566RUS2522
19GMKorneev Oleg4156803ESP2517
20IMDemidov Mikhail4197143RUS2513

Complete list

The interesting thing to note is that only players above 2200 are allowed to play in the Masters section and you have 49 players above the Elo of 2400. If your rating is below 2200, then you need the special permission from the tournament director in order to apply.


The Alekhine Memorial in Voronezh is a real chess festival. You should arrive a couple of days in advance to the main event, so that you can warm up by first playing the chess960 tournament (10th of June), and then the rapid event (11th of June). The main tournament begins from the 12th of June and you have a single round every day. After first five rounds, you have a break when a blitz tournament is held and this is followed by the last four rounds. At many of the International tournaments, the blitz or supporting events are held on the same day as the classical rounds. This makes it quite difficult for the players to participate in the side events, as their main tournament would suffer due to tiredness. But not at the Alekhine Memorial. Here, three days are specifically allotted for the chess960, rapid and blitz tournaments.


If you play in the Voronezh chess festival you can play in the Chess960, Rapid and blitz event and also in the Master Open. That's four events in 12 days!

The 1st to the 8th round in the Master Open will be held from 15.30 hours onwards. The final round will be at 10 a.m. in the morning. For the FIDE Open the 1st-8th rounds will be at 10.a.m and the final 9th round will be at 9.00. The blitz tournament that will be held on 17th of June will begin at 4 p.m. What about the Chess960 and Rapid event? Check the details below:

The Chess960 event will be held on June 10th and the Rapid chess event on June 11th 

Swapnil Dhopade was the winner of the Chess960 event in 2017
Here's the last round video of 2018 and also the prize ceremony. This video gives you a feel of what you can expect if you participate in the 2019 event 

Prizes in Russian Rubles (1 Russian Ruble = 1.07 INR):

1. Chess 960 (Fischer chess) - 10.06 (Monday). Start at 11:00. 7 rounds swiss, 15 minutes + 3 seconds per move. Entry fee - 700 RR. Prizes (in thousands of RR): 13/10/8/6/5/4/3/2/2/2/1/1/1. Special prizes.


2. Rapid tournament - 11.06 (Tuesday). Start at 10:15. 9 rounds swiss, 15 minutes + 2 seconds per move. Entry fee - 1500 RR. Prizes (in thousands of RR): 30/22/18/14/10/9/8/7/6/5/4/3/2. Special prizes.


3. Blitz tournament - 17.06 (Monday). Start at 16:00. 11 rounds swiss, 3 minutes + 2 seconds per move. Entry fee - 750 RR. Prizes (in thousands of RR) 15/12/10/8/6/5/4/3/3/3/2/2/2. Special prizes.


4. "Master open" (Elo > 2200). Stage of ACP Tour 2019, Russia Cup 2019. 12-21.06. 9 rounds swiss; 90 minutes per 40 moves + 30 minutes to the end + 30 seconds per each move. Entry fee: 4000 RR for Elo 2201-2300; 3000 RR for Elo 2301-2400; 2500 RR for Elo 2401-2450; 2000 RR for Elo 2451+. Free for GM. IM, juniors (2002+), ladies, seniors (1958-), foreign players have to pay 75%. Participation of players having Elo <= 2200 can be confirmed only by Tournament Director with entry fee 10000 RR. Prizes (in thousands of RR): 200/140/100/80/60/50/45/40/35/30/23/23/23. Special prizes for foreigners (30/20/13/7), juniors, ladies, seniors. Opportunity to achieve IM and GM norm.


5. "FIDE open" (Elo <= 2200) 12-20.06 9 rounds swiss; 90 minutes per game + 30 seconds per move. Entry fee: 5000 RR for players w/o Elo; 4000 RR for Elo < 1600; 3500 RR for Elo 1601-1800; 3000 RR for Elo 1801-2000; 2500 RR for Elo 2001-2100; 2000 RR for Elo 2101-2200. Prizes (in thousands of RR): 33/26/20/17/15/12/11/10/9/8/7/7/7. Special prizes.


Please note: Taxes 30% for foreigners.

GM Parham Maghsoodloo was the top seed in 2018....

...But the tournament was won by Dmitry Kokarev

World's third youngest GM after Karjakin and Gukesh - that's Javokhir Sindarov

Indians sweeped the age category prizes - (from left to right): Pranav, Gukesh and Raunak

The tournament also celebrates good chess and hence there is a special prize for the best game of the tournament. In 2018 it was Indian player Akash PC Iyer who won this prize for his win against Boris Savchenko.

Akash Iyer receives the special prize for the best game of the event. It was his win against Boris Savchenko.

Regular visitors to the Voronezh Open - Rajinikanth and Gukesh!

World's youngest GM at this point of time D. Gukesh played at the Voronezh Open in both 2017 and 2018. His father Rajinikanth spoke about his experience of the event to ChessBase India: " Gukesh played in Voronezh event last 2 years. The main organiser of the event GM Raetsky was very friendly and helpful person. He ensured that the tournament is conducted in a smooth and professional manner. The city of Voronezh is a calm town and things are quite reasonably priced. The Classical event was great, but Gukesh enjoyed the blitz and rapid events even more."

In 2017 the organizers took the Indians for a free tour to the aquarium. A very nice gesture indeed!

How to travel to Voronezh

That's where the city of Voronezh is located. The distance between Voronezh and Moscow is 516 kilometres

A flight to Moscow and then there are regular flights from Moscow which can be found from here.

Alexander Raetsky (right) is the man who is the tournament director. Pavel Sirotin is the accommodations manager.


If you would like to participate in the Alekhine Memorial in Voronezh, you can write to organizer Alexander Raetsky on the email given below:

Phone, WhatsApp, Viber, Messenger: +7(952) 954-18-63

Skype: a1h8


Connecting tournament

You can play a connecting tournament along with the Voronezh Open - the Nezhmetdinov Memorial from 31st May to 8th June 2019. You can find the details about it in the ChessBase India Calendar

Important links:

Official website for the Voronezh Open 2018

Report in the FIDE website about Voronezh Open 2018