Georgia’s capital Tbilisi now boasts a brand-new school for aspiring chess players with an unveiling of the Maia Chiburdanidze Chess Academy in the city on Thursday.
Named after a Georgian chess legend and five-time Women’s World Chess Champion, the academy’s opening is aimed to contribute to promote the sport in a country that boasts famed world champions throughout history.
Professional coaches are set to train children and adults alike at the school, which was launched in a formal ceremony in Didi Dighomi district.
Current and veteran players honoured the launch event along with city officials, with Chiburdanidze herself in attendance.
Maia Cup, a competition also named after the famed Soviet-era champion, was coincided to start along with the academy’s unveiling, with players from Armenia, Brazil, Georgia, India and Kazakhstan involved. Competition sections for men, women, children and reporters’ teams are run in the tournament set to conclude on Sunday.
The school will bear the name of Chiburdanidze, who holds International Chess Federation titles of Grandmaster and Woman Grandmaster and swept five Women’s World Chess Championships between 1978–1991.
The Georgian was also the youngest world champion among women from her first title in 1978 until 2010 and Georgia’s second world title-holder after Nona Gaprindashvili.
Chiburdanidze also claimed nine Women’s Chess Olympiad titles and was the second woman after Gaprindashvili to be awarded the title of Grandmaster in 1984.