Zhansaya Abdumalik becomes the first Central Asian chess player to receive the title of male Grandmaster


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NUR-SULTAN – Young Kazakh chess prodigy Zhansaya Abdumalik became the first player from Kazakhstan and Central Asia to receive the title of grandmaster on June 1, reports the International Chess Federation (FIDE).

Zhansaya Abdumalik at the FIDE Women’s Grand Prix Gibraltar 2021. Photo credit: FIDE.com.

The 21-year-old met the qualifying criteria for the title during her outstanding performance at the 2021 FIDE Women’s Grand Prix Gibraltar. With only one tour of the tournament to go, Abdumalik has already been declared the winner of the Grand Prix following her victory. on Kateryna Lagno from Russia.

The Man Grandmaster title is awarded by FIDE and, apart from the world champion title, is the highest rank for professional chess players. The last Kazakh chess player to become Grandmaster was Rinat Zhumabayev in 2009.

Abdumalik’s previous highest title is the international master title she obtained in 2017. In 2014, she became a female grandmaster. With her first title won just at the age of six, Abdumalik has many international championships to his name, including the ASEAN + Age Group Championship, Asian Women’s Blitz Championship, Asian Youth Chess Championship, l ‘Brno Open, the Kazakhstan Women’s Championship, the International Women’s Chess Memorial. by Krystyna HoÅ‚uj-Radzikowska, Junior Women’s Chess World Championships and Youth World Championships.

Chess remains one of the most popular sports in Kazakhstan with nearly 200,000 people professionally engaged, according to the executive director of the Kazakh Chess Federation, Irina Grishchenko. The first Kazakh chess club was opened in 1889 in Verny (now Almaty), and the first women’s tournament was held in 1950.

The Kazakh Chess Federation regularly organizes tournaments for chess players of all skill levels and works to make the sport more accessible to remote areas. In addition, chess is also taught in some primary schools in Kazakhstan with textbooks issued by the Ministry of Education and Science.

“Many countries are introducing chess into the school curriculum. It has several advantages such as the development of logic, tactics, motor skills and memory. We are the only country in the world where this project is accompanied by psychologists who observe the courses. In classes where chess is taught, students’ average reading speed tends to increase. There is also a social aspect to it, ”Grishchenko said in an interview with Inbusiness.kz in March 2020.

Today, more than 2,000 children study chess in at least 44 schools in Almaty, Kyzylorda, Pavlodar and Shymkent.

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