World Cities Championship history

World CitiesThe concept World Cities Championship was based on success of the Asian Cities Championship, which has been constantly popular for last three decades to boost interest in international chess tournaments on Asian continent. The man behind the idea was Ignatius Leong, FIDE deputy president and one of most prominent figures in Asian Chess. The tournament regulations were approved by FIDE General Assembly in 1998. It was decided that the event would take place every two years and would be ten round Swiss with each team having right to field four players and optionally two substitutes. The winning city would receive the challenge cup (the "Kirsan Ilyumzhinov Cup") in custody until next competition starts.

The premier edition took place in Jakarta, Indonesia in 1997 organized under auspices of Gunadarma university. As much as 30 teams arrived, majority of which stemmed from the Malay Archipelago, but there were also some European teams and many GMs. Strong team of Moscow (Onischuk, Tiviakov) won ahead of Donetsk (Novikov) from Ukraine. In 1999 the number of participating teams was much smaller and Kemerovo (Russia) were expected to fight for a win with capital of Kazakhstan team Almata. As the Russians duly did their job the Kazakhs had to let pass the Chinese city of Handan as well. From then on the competition was ceased. In 2005 it was to be played in Vietnam but apparently the idea fell flat. The World Cities Championship was a very interesting idea but never really went outside Asia. The Asian idea of cities contest did not prove to be fertile on European soil, as Europe was traditionally focused on club rather than cities events.




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