City Chess, Elista

Landmark · Tourist Spot
Chess City (also referred to as City-Chess; Russian: Сити-Чесс Siti-Chess or Город Шахмат Gorod Shakhmat) is a large complex devoted to chess and chess competitions located east of Elista, Kalmykia, in Russia. The neighborhood-size development consists of a central, four-story domed City Chess Hall surrounded by an Olympic-style village of Californian-Mediterranean Revival Style architecture. The site has a conference center, public swimming pool and a museum of Kalmyk Buddhist art. The complex features sculptures and artwork devoted to chess, including a statue of Ostap Bender, a fictional character of popular books written by Ilya Ilf and Yevgeni Petrov, who proposed a creation of world chess capital. The complex has been used to host visiting dignitaries like the Dalai Lama.

Completed in 1998, the idea and development of Chess City is directly the result of Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, Kalmykia's millionaire President who has ruled the republic since 1993 and been president of FIDE, the international governing body of chess, since 1995. A fanatical chess enthusiast, Ilyumzhinov had the complex built in time for the 33rd Chess Olympiad.

Chess City has hosted three major FIDE tournaments: the XXXIII Chess Olympiad in 1998, the 2004 Women's World Chess Championship, and the 2006 World Chess Championship.

Future plans for Chess City include a water sport complex, skiing center, government buildings, business centers, opera and ballet theaters, museums, a conservatory, an art school, religious academies, a center of traditional medicine, and residences for any ambassadors who may be accredited to Kalmykia.
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TripAdvisor traveler rating 3.5
122 reviews
  • I am not a good chess player but anyway I felt amazing inside the Chess City. This I can recommend for all tourists visiting in Elista. The great idea of Chess City came originally from the classical....  more »
  • This place is a nice district that was build for chess championship. There is a museum of chess and a couple of statues outside/  more »
  • Interesting and sympatic part of Elista
  • Very interesting place with a lot of beautiful historical exhibits

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