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Welcome address by Mr. Ivan Savvidi
Ivan SavvidiTo the Chess World Championship Grand Prix participants
by Mr. Ivan Savvidi, the President of the Federal National-Cultural Autonomy of Greeks of Russia

Dear friends!

It is a great pleasure for me to welcome the organizers, players, participants and guests of the "Makedonia Palace Grand Prix".

The Championship is a significant event not only for Greece but globally, as twelve of the world’s top chess players from different countries are gathered here today.  

Chess is a unique, amazing sport that offers the opportunity to realize the player’s potential to its maximum. Contemplating person perceives the surrounding deeper and brighter and this is the main reason that he is always one step ahead of others.   

Today in the century of information with the changes happening every day and even every minute in all fields of social life, chess provides the ability to evaluate a perspective correctly, to fix a goal and logically estimate ways of its achievement that becomes a formula for success. It is chess that teaches all that. It is undisputable that great Capablanca said: "A good player always has luck!"   

Chess is a symbol of the world, because the key to the victory is in the power of mind and not in the physical force.

I would like to thank those who made chess their life companion, who keep on improving and aiming to the heights in this game!   

I wish you success, implementation of your plans and all the best.

Sincerely yours,
Ivan Savvidi

Message by Antonis Samaras, Prime Minister of Greece
Antonis SamarasI would like to thank you for your invitation to attend the opening ceremony of the international chess Grand Prix tournament, to be held in Greece from the 21st of May onwards. Unfortunately, prior commitments do not allow me to attend this important event.

The organization of major chess competitions and the presence of leading chess players in Greece is an honour for our country and the organizers of this event.

I congratulate you for your continued efforts to promote this great intellectual sport, as well as for your initiative to bring this event to Greece. Such activities promote not only this gentle intellectual sport but also the unrivalled beauty of our country.

I wish you every success.

The Prime Minister
Welcome message by Georgios Makropoulos, President of the Greek Chess Federation
MakropoulosThe Greek Chess Federation welcomes 12 of the world's leading Grandmasters who are participating in the Thessaloniki Grand-Prix tournament.

It is a unique honour for Greece and Thessaloniki that this great event takes place in our country and especially in the city which hosted the famous Chess Olympiads of 1984 and 1988.

Those Chess Olympiads were the first steps in turning our country into a major chess destination on the world map: Greece is now an active member of the world chess community with 14 of its own Grandmasters in both men and women categories, a full calendar of international chess tournaments organised every year and many important FIDE events taking place in Greece, from the World School Championships to the most prestigious Grand-Prix event in Thessaloniki.

Our results have, furthermore, been very encouraging at the Youth level with several first places and medals for Greek young players in European and World events.

With this opportunity, I would also like to thank once more Mr Ivan Savvidis, a true supporter of chess in our country. As government grants are now becoming very difficult for sports in Greece, the generous contributions of Mr Ivan Savvidis have helped the Greek Chess Federation to remain active and continue its chess development program despite the strong financial crisis which hit our country.

I wish success and good games to all the participants and I am sure they will leave Thessaloniki with the best memories of Greek hospitality!

Georgios Makropoulos
Deputy President of FIDE
President of the Greek Chess Federation

Welcome address by Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, FIDE President
KirsanDear Chess players,

I would like to thank the entrepreneur Mr Ivan Savvidi who has generously supported this Grand Prix in Thessaloniki, Greece through his hotel, the 5 Star, Makedonia Palace Hotel which is so strategically placed in this extraordinary and historic city.

We have reached the fourth stage of the Grand Prix series and the battle for the overall winner is getting more exciting as each event unfolds. Every participant comes to Greece with an eye on the ultimate goal of becoming one of the Candidate challengers for the World Championship title.

There is no doubt that whilst this city has seen a lot of historical developments in the past, once again it is at the centre of world attention as the strongest ever chess event is played out in Thessaloniki.

I am sure that the participants will have a wonderful time in Thessaloniki and we wish them all a great tournament. History is waiting to be made!

Gens Una Sumus

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov
FIDE President

Welcome address by Yiannis Boutaris, Mayor of Thessaloniki
Yiannis BoutarisIt is with great pleasure that I welcome the Grand Prix Chess Tournament to Thessaloniki. It is an honour for Thessaloniki to host this major chess event organized by FIDE.

"Many stories, one heart" is the message Thessaloniki sends to its visitors. Thessaloniki is itself a mosaic, a lively and colorful city, where many trajectories meet and diverse stories connect, all beating together in one heart, the heart of the city. This is Thessaloniki’s unique charm.

A crossroads of cultures, Thessaloniki has always been the settlement for multiple ethnic and religious communities, a city with an abundance of monuments that reflect the city's historic importance, dating from antiquity to modern times, with a long modern promenade along the waterfront, extensively renovated, with a rich culinary tradition reflected in the numerous restaurants, with a vibrant market located in the historic centre, a lively presence of youth and an active academic research in the universities, the colleges and the technical institutions.

History, arts and festivals, education and scientific research, gastronomy, sea, sports, entertainment: our city has many stories to tell.

I warmly welcome our visitors, wish them a pleasant stay and invite them to explore Thessaloniki's diverse stories.

Yiannis Boutaris
Mayor of Thessaloniki

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