The Opening ceremony of the 3rd tournament of the FIDE Grand Prix series 2008-2009 was held on the 13th of December in the National Theatre of Drama in Elista, Kalmykia.
The Head of Kalmykia, FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov congratulated all the participants and guests with the start of the tournament. He underlined that Elista has long ago become the capital of the chess world. He also mentioned that starting from 1994 all formats of chess tournaments were held in Elista – National and World Championships for men and women, the World Chess Championship Unification Match Veselin Topalov vs. Vladimir Kramnik in 2006 and many others. Besides, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov underlined a valuable meaning of chess for the world culture.
The drawing of lots of the first round was held before the concert of the national masters of art that continued the Ceremony. The organizers of the tournament made the drawing of lots in a way of a colourful and special show: each participant had to choose one beautiful lady in the traditional Kalmyk
dress who held a roll in her hands. The number in the roll would become a number in the tournament table of the 1 round. As a result, GM Etienne Bacrot of France
chose the roll number 1.
Many chess fans from Kalmykia were very happy for their compatriot Sanan Syugirov. The FIDE President granted the FIDE Certificate of the International Grandmaster which was awarded recently to the 15-years old Elista fellow, Sanan Syugirov.