Former Russian Champion Alexander Motylev Switches To Romania

Former Russian Champion Alexander Motylev Switches To Romania


Russian chess has suffered another blow as their former national team coach GM Alexander Motylev has switched federations and joined Romania. The former national and European champion joins a growing list of Russian grandmasters who no longer represent their native country.

Motylev’s transfer was made official by the Romanian Chess Federation last week after confirmation on FIDE’s website.

Motylev is the fourth top grandmaster to join Romania in the last year. Ukrainian youngster GM Kirill Shevchenko moved to Bucuresti earlier this year, while Romanian veteran GM Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu confirmed his transfer back from Germany in April. Last year GM Richard Rapport became the new Romania no. 1 as he completed his switch from Hungary. Shortly after, Dutch veteran GM Ivan Sokolov was hired as the main coach for the national team.

For Russian chess, the loss of Motylev is another blow as the grandmaster has been a key figure of the national team for more than two decades. He became the Russian champion in 2001 and was ranked among the world’s top-25 players in 2005 with a peak rating of 2710. In 2014 he scored a major career triumph by winning the European Championship with 9/11.

In recent years the 44-year-old has been more focused on coaching for the Russian national teams. He was also a part of GM Sergey Karjakin‘s team of seconds for his 2016 World Chess Championship match against Magnus Carlsen.

Motylev, among 44 Russian grandmasters who signed the anti-war statement in protest of the invasion of Ukraine, has told that he moved to Serbia along with his family last summer due to the war.

Motylev said: “From one side the decision was not that difficult since all family members had the same opinion about what we should do. Still, deciding to move wasn’t easy because we didn’t have any connections in Serbia. And we were going to start a completely new life, so it was a leap of faith in that way. It is now almost a year since we settled in Novi Sad, so the hardest part of the emigration is already in the past.

“I had a few offers and I chose Romania, mainly because I like the enthusiasm and positive attitude of the people who are working in the Romanian Chess Federation and in the ‘Superbet’ company. Now I’m working in Bucharest and sharing my time between Bucharest and Novi Sad,” he added.

Motylev’s transfer comes just months after GM Alexandra Kosteniuk, one of the strongest woman players in history, switched to Switzerland. Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, grandmasters such as Dmitry Andreikin, Vladimir Fedoseev, Alexander Predke, Kirill AlekseenkoAlexey Sarana, Nikita Vitiugov, and Evgeny Romanov have left their home country. Among them, Predke and Sarana (Serbia) as well as Romanov (Norway) have changed federations, while the others now play under the FIDE flag.

In February FIDE waived transfer fees for Russian players wishing to switch and represent a European chess federation immediately without any restrictions or transfer fees. The decision was made shortly before the Chess Federation of Russia switched to join the Asian Chess Federation.


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