What a great honor it was to be the co-host of the first ever European Golden Pawn Awards. I’ve been part of a lot of amazing things in chess, but this was like hosting the chess version of the Academy Awards!
The European Chess Union Board, under the leadership of Georgian GM Zurab Azmaiparashvili, conceived of the idea to create a ceremony honoring the best of the best in European chess. When I was first contacted about co-hosting, I had to contain my excitement. The idea was completely original for chess, but, like all the best ideas, it seemed like it naturally should have taken place long ago. To be a part of the inaugural event honoring the European chess legends as well as their masterpieces and achievements felt like a seminal moment in what has already been pivotal moments in a game I have devoted decades to. Little did I know just how splendidly it would be organized! The pictures, beginning with the stunningly gorgeous Hôtel De Paris, tell the tale of style, class and elegance.
To be in the presence of so many living legends in the same place – Judit Polgar, Nona Gaprindashvili, Maya Chiburdanidze, and of course, Garry Kasparov – was a thrill I will never forget.
The 2019 Golden Pawn Awards Winners are:
Best European Book: “Chess” by Ruben David Gonzalez Gallego
Best European Movie: “The Chess Game” 1994, starring Catherine Deneuve, Denis Lavant, Pierre Richard,
Best European Chess Magazine: “New In Chess”
Best European Chess Journalist: Leontxo García
Best European Chess Organizer: Bessel Kok
Best European Chess Project: Frederic Friedel
Best European Arbiter: Geurt Gijssen
European Pioneer of Chess Development in Schools: Alexander Kostyev
The Youngest European World Chess Champion of all time: Maya Chiburdanidze
Lifetime Achievement: Nona Gaprindashvili
European Chess Legend (female): Judit Polgar
European Chess Legend (male): Garry Kasparov
If you haven’t had the opportunity to watch the whole ceremony transmission, it is available under the following link: Golden Pawn video stream.
The European Chess Union simply put on a show! A special thanks to Tea Kipshidze and her amazing team for producing such a spectacular event. I’m already looking forward to next year!