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The Saint Petersburg-based Russian Draughts Foundation for the Advancement of Draughts has launched its own online project, the Lenta.ru online newspaper reports citing a press release.
The organisers hope the website will help to attract the attention of a vast audience from around the world to the most widespread version of draughts on a 64-square board. For this reason, the online project is somewhat atypical compared to its other ‘sports’ counterparts as it features an enhanced media component that is designed ‘to introduce visitors to the world’s leading grandmasters, not only as athletes, but as people’, the press release says.
The creators of this new online resource view their main objective as making draughts more interesting for the media and more appealing for potential sponsors since Draughts-64 is currently one of the lowest paid sports.
‘The problem is that everyone except fans has forgotten about draughts. It is no longer regarded as a sport in the collective conscious – television has supplanted everything with football, boxing, and figure skating’, Russian Draughts Foundation Executive Board Chairman Alexander Gaydukov says. ‘We want to remind everyone who only played draughts at home in their kitchens as kids that it is a sport!’
The organisers believe the biggest key to the project’s success is promoting the ‘face of draughts’. The Russian Draughts website purposely does not plan to publish standings since the Foundation’s employees will be placing an emphasis on promoting the people of draughts in particular.
‘We are keenly aware of football, tennis, and figure skating stars, but know next to nothing about draughts stars. The Foundation intends to change this situation, tell people about distinguished athletes in this sport, and introduce the public to draughts’, Gaydukov noted. ‘In Russia, nobody would even guess that multiple draughts world champion Sergey Belosheyev lives in Yevpatoria – this acquisition by our country following the annexation of Crimea went completely unnoticed. Hardly anyone knows renowned Russian athlete Sofia Morozova – the 2015 world champion in rapid draughts. And these are people of whom our country can rightfully be proud’.
‘Russia’s traditional Draughts-64 must become a more popular sport to be officially recognised by the International Olympic Committee’, according to Vladimir Langin, an international grandmaster, three-time world champion, and president of the International Draughts Federation (IDF).
In addition, the website will devote considerable attention to news related to preparations for and the hosting of tournaments supported by the Russian Draughts Foundation.
The Russian Draughts Foundation for the Advancement of Draughts was founded in May 2013 in Saint Petersburg. Its sole founder is the Saint Petersburg Draughts Federation, which is headed by Vladimir Langin. The latter is a member of the Foundation’s Executive Board, which is chaired by businessman Alexander Gaydukov. Over the last three years, the Foundation has hosted four international tournaments using the funds it has raised: the men’s and women’s world championship in August 2013, the men’s and women’s European championship in October 2014, an international tournament dedicated to the 70th anniversary of victory in World War II in May 2015, and the men’s and women’s world championship in October 2015, which was attended by a record number of athletes from 44 countries.