Two Lexington Chess Grandmasters head to 2021 U.S. Senior Championships

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – “It’s solving a problem, it’s also creating a beauty, creating an art in a certain sense” said Grandmaster, Gregory Kaidanov.

For two Lexington men…the game of chess is something they’ve known their whole life.

“I was six years old, my dad’s friends gave me a chess set as a birthday present, so it was love at first sight” said Kaidanov.

“It was very interesting for me to analyze the games, to find the truth of the positions” added Igor Novikov.

Gregory Kaidanov and Igor Novikov are professional chess ‘Grandmasters’…who compete all over the world.

“In 1985 I played in the old championships under 26 for the team of Soviet Union, and then i played for the team of Ukraine and when I moved to the United States I played in chess Olympics for the United States team” said Novikov.

Kaidanov played in 18 U.S. Chess championships since 1992.

And on July 15th, as two of only ten qualifiers, they’ll compete in the 2021 U.S. Senior Championships in Saint Louis, an invitation only tournament of the best players in the U.S.

Kaidonov competed in Las Vegas to prepare, while Novikov tuned into other tournaments to see how to compete against the top players.

Both have competed in it before…including last year’s which was held virtually. Kaidanov says was an experience like no other.

“The fear of being disconnected or having any kind of problems that just adds to it and it becomes incredibly stressful.”

Fortunately this year’s will be in-person.

And though winning is the goal, It’s not just about that for these men, but about finally getting to reconnect with colleagues and play a good game face-to-face.

“We know each other for many, many years and it’s very nice to meet them again” added Novikov.

The Championship will go from the 15th to the 26th, and the winner will take home a $50,000 purse.

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