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Welcome address by Levan Kipiani, Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs of Georgia
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Dear Participants,
Honorable guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,

It is my pleasure to welcome you on behalf of the Government of Georgia and the Georgian sports community to our beautiful country.

The Georgian side is very honored and delighted to host the World Grand-Prix! As you may be aware, Georgia is a European country with reach sports history. Our sports traditions go long back to the ancient time. To our pride the Georgian athletes have won a total of 118 medals, among them 37 gold medals), both in Soviet and Independence periods. You might agree that for a small nation with barely 4 million of population this record is indeed outstanding.

Chess holds a distinguished place in our country’s sports history and our society is very proud of it. In 1962, Ms. Nona Gaprindashvili became the World Champion and during the next 16 years she gained the Champion’s title for 5 times. Ms. Maia Chiburdanidze was another Georgian chess master, who won World’s Championship in 1978 and retained the Champion’s title until 1991. In the independent history of Georgia, our female chess masters became the winners of the Olympic Games for 4 times. All these successes create rich chess chronicles in Georgia and on the international level.
For today, the Government of Georgia and the Chess Federation as well as other stakeholders have the strong commitments to promote further development of chess in our country. In the next couple of years, the Georgian side will host important international chess competition; among them is the Chess World Olympiad 2018 to take place in Batumi and I sincerely wish to see you at the Olympiad as well.
I would like to take this opportunity and express my special thanks to Tbilisi City Hall and the City Council, the general sponsor of the Chess Federation - “Socar Energy Georgia” for their support and contribution to chess development.
I hope you enjoy your stay in Tbilisi and wish you good luck and all the successes!
Thank you for your attention!

Levan Kipiani
Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs of Georgia
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