Former Ukrainian world chess champion Ruslan Ponomariov recently joined the Agen chess club, a prestigious recruit who may help the team move up to the first division.
When Mathieu Ternault joined the chess club at the age of 10, a man dominated the discipline, the world champion was Ukrainian, his name was Ruslan Ponomariov. 19 years later, the current captain of the Agen chess team discusses game strategy with the grandmaster he followed as a child.
Ruslan Ponomariov now lives in the south-west of France, and after a few phone calls, the Agenais chess board managed to recruit him. A nice move with which the president of the club Christophe Darrort is satisfied.
“We wanted to strengthen our team to try to go up in national 1, we needed someone of this caliber!”, He explains.
Beyond the sporting aspect, the Agen chess board thought that the arrival of this great chess name would be appreciated by the Ukrainian community of Agen, united since the beginning of the fighting in their country. “There he was very publicized, it warms their hearts to know it here and he too, I’m sure it does him good, he finds it difficult to bear what is happening in Ukraine, especially that he is from Donbass, from Donetsk,” says the president.
A role model for young Agen players
Ruslan Ponomariov made his first trip as a member of the Agenais chess board to Nîmes. His arrival had been kept secret, as team captain Mathieu Ternault tells us. “Everyone was surprised, including his opponent Yannick Gozzoli, one of the best French players, who officiates in the Aix-en-Provence club. Ponomariov won very easily”, slips the captain.
But beyond his impressive performances, the former world champion shone with availability and humility with his new team and all the other players in the tournament according to Mathieu Ternault. “Ruslan was very open, very available. He was a bit of a UFO in the middle of the others, due to his incredible track record, but he is very friendly when he was at the highest level in the world!”, comments the latter .
If they shine against his opponents, in the tension of a match, the champion is also an excellent analyst and did not hesitate to put his talent at the service of the Agenaise chess team. With this high-flying recruit, the Agenais club also intends to make young people dream and encourage vocations to confirm its place as a “chess city”, proudly represented by its French youth championships and its ambitious program with schoolchildren.