March 6, 2010
Since ancient times, Kyrgyz played a game named “Toguz Korgool” which has a lot of similarities with chess. The existence of this game was confirmed by archaeological excavations and indirectly by the Kyrgyz epos “Manas”, where the chatyrash game is mentioned. Modern chess spread through the Kyrgyz Republic in the middle of the 19th century; the main centre was Pishpek and is now Frunze.
Since 1933, Men’s Championships have been held there. The first Champion was Genia Savilov and then later came Krutikhin, Ustinov, Kudryashov and Zilberman. Since 1938, the Women’s Championships have been organised there and Voskresenskaya has won it ten times.
A number of tournaments were held in Kyrgyztan. They included the 1981 USSR Men’s Championship, won by Lev Psakhis and Garry Kasparov and in the 1980′s the famous tournament of Frunze.
The Kyrgyzstan Chess Federation joined FIDE in 1992. They also appeared that year for the first time at the Olympiad and have participated in all of them since. Their best achievement was coming 38th in 1992. IGM Leonid Yurtaev, who doesn’t play so often now, is still one of the strongest active players and the only Grandmaster.