Person of day   -  17 NOVEMBER 2023



In the last few years, grandmaster Murtas Kazhgaleyev’s novellas about chess have gained great popularity on the Internet and elsewhere. A blitz battle between a celebrated chess player from Kazakhstan and a visiting Kyrgyz, a journey across with “Old Man Drey” across scenic nocturnal France, an evening in the company of an Australian couple with extremely liberal morals- the heroes of Murtas’ works quickly captured his readers.

Murtas Murtasovich Kazhgaleyev was born on 17th November 1973 in Kazakhstan’s Uralsk. In 1994, the young chess player came to Russia for a tournament and, having performed successfully in an additional tournament of the Central Chess Club and a series of large draws, he became an international master with a rating of 2500.

In 1996 he made his debut for the Kazakhstani Olympic Team in the Tournament of Nations in Erevan, and in 1997 along with his peers he won the silver medal in the student’s team world championship in Argentina, downgrading Russians to third place. The Kazakhs- the champions of Asia in 1993- were invited to the team world championship in 1997 among adults, where Murtas showed himself from the best possible angle, defeating Vladimir Malaniuk, Yannick Pelletier and Zdenko Kozul, while drawing with Smbat Lputian, Alexey Dreev and Gregory Kaidanov!

He is a six-time participant of Chess Olympiads on behalf of his national team. In 1005, he qualified from the Asian championship to the World Cup, where he defeated Evgeny Alekseev but lost to Teimour Radjabov. In 2006, he won the Asian Games for rapid chess as part of a star-studded team. The prize-winner of the French national tournament of 2007 played for team “Cannes” in the European Cup.

He participated in the final of the blitz world championship of 2008, where he outplayed Alexander Morozevich, Gata Kamsky, Judit Polgar and many other strong chess players and split 7-8 places with Boris Gelfand. He was a participant of the additional tournament of Wijk aan Zee in 2011 and the Champion of Kazakhstan in 2015.

Murtas Kazhgaleyev is known as a notable chess player of sharp combination style. At the peak of his career, his rating reached 2653 on the Elo system. He trains one of the strongest female chees players of Kazakhstan, Dinara Saduakassova.

 “I remember how once, two years ago, one grandmaster and I were preparing a small girl for her match with the help of computer programs, analysing up to +3+4, which in the “old” chess language means this: the situation of the blacks is hopeless. Her preparation paid off and she won the match…but there is something somewhat incorrect over here. All the new subtleties in chess are purely tactical. No one has been considering new strategy for the last 50 years minimum - in reality, for almost 100 years, since the time of hyper-modernists. All the new ideas have a concrete substance and a new style of play like Magnus Carlsen’s is purely a technical achievement of the highest order, but no one is concerned with innovations. The reason is simple: it’s impossible.

Why is Fisher’s chess unpopular and there are practically no tournaments? There are several reasons. First and foremost, elite players are not interested in their advancement, since a huge volume of the knowledge- gathered over many years from the modern starting positions- will be consigned to the scrap-heap.

They would need to throw it out as garbage. And who would cut down the branch on which he sits? In reality, ALL the elite players would retain their places in Fisher’s chess, but competition will increase. In the famous Mainz tournaments, all the winners were strong, elite grandmasters. Class, understanding of positions and tactical insight- all remain in their places!

But at the moment those at the top are more or less content. Relying on the sentiment of the elite, FIDE, national federations and sponsors do not participate in agitation and propaganda. The second reason is that strong amateurs are also against it. Chess players of a moderate level who enjoy chess who are passionate about learning and seek to achieve results also work diligently with the starting position. It would be difficult for them to find order in a chaos of the new and unknown. Therefore, the only chess players who support Fisher’s chess are ones who have gotten tired of learning endless theoretical variants, but must- no, they are obliged to- continue to do so. This is the class of non-elite grands and strong masters. Their authority is not great, oh alas.” (M. Kazhgaleyev)