Rosatom, the Russian state nuclear corporation, was a proud partner of the 2019 Helsinki Chess Festival, a two-week chess event with tournaments for boys, girls and seniors, as well as other interesting occasions for chess-lovers in Finland. The festival was organized by the Finnish Chess Historic Association together with the Finnish Chess Federation and in cooperation with the World Chess Federation FIDE.

The legendary grandmaster and ex-World Champion, Anatoly Karpov, was a guest of honor of the event, holding a fascinating lecture and playing with young Finnish players. Mr Karpov gained his world title in 1975 from Bobby Fischer, defended it successfully against Victor Korchnoi in 1978 and 1981, and finally lost it to Garry Kasparov in 1985. In terms of career wins, Mr Karpov is in a league of his own with 185 major tournament wins.

On Saturday, August 24, the Helsinki Chess Festival went out to the Oodi library in Helsinki with grandmaster Karpov playing simultaneous chess against 15 boys and girls, aged 8 to 14 After hours of playing, Mr Karpov had won 14 matches, but one remained undecided. Eventually, Ilkka Koota, born 2008, and Mr Anatoly Karpov ended up in a draw.

Anatoly Karpov contemplating a move against a young opponent in Helsinki, Finland.

Panu Laine, President of the Finnish Chess Historic Association, commented on the event: “Combining tournaments for seniors, juniors and girls from Nordics, Baltics and St Petersburg was an unheard – but very successful combination in Helsinki Chess Festival producing fierce, fighting chess and thrilling moments. The very next weekend the Finnish chess audience was spoilt with GM Anatoly Karpov’s lecture for record audience and a simul against 15 young Finnish chess talents. We caught a record audience – is that really Karpov playing in a public Oodi library! A unique Chess Festival first time in Finland! Thank You Rosatom and FIDE’s initiative to support Nordic chess!”

“Being part of one of the most technology intensive industries, at Rosatom we understand that knowledge is the main power driving technological progress, and we support intellectual activities that help to develop the most important ability – the ability to learn. Together with our Finnish partner Fennovoima we implement the project for Hanhikivi nuclear power plant construction in the Oulu region. The new NPP will cover about 10% of Finland’s electricity consumption with carbon free stable electricity. And we do hope to see talented and well-educated Finnish boys and girls joining the nuclear industry as professionals in the future”, said Rosatom Energy International representative Elena Zakrevskaya ahead of the chess game in Oodi. 

A minute before the action GM Anatoly Karpov, organizer Panu Laine and Rosatom Energy International representative Elena Zakrevskaya setting the scene