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HomeBalkansEuropean Champion Alexey Sarana Transfers to Serbia

European Champion Alexey Sarana Transfers to Serbia


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Grandmaster Alexey Sarana has become one of the most prolific Russian grandmasters to switch federations as FIDE on Friday confirmed that he can play under the Serbian flag.

The 23-year-old who became the European champion in March is ranked world number-50. Sarana is joined in Serbia by GM Alexandr Predke, who had his transfer confirmed in March. The former Russian duo are Serbia’s highest-ranked players, both at 2685.

The five highest-rated players in Serbia are now:

  1. GM Alexey Sarana, 2685
  2. GM Alexandr Predke, 2685
  3. GM Aleksandar Indjic, 2618
  4. GM Robert Markus, 2598
  5. GM Velimir Ivic, 2595

Since the invasion of Ukraine, Russian players such as GMs Dmitry AndreikinVladimir FedoseevKirill AlekseenkoNikita Vitiugov, and Evgeny Romanov have all left their home country. However, Predke and Sarana are the two highest-rated Russians to officially represent a new federation after playing under the neutral FIDE flag since the invasion.

Chess.com spoke with Sarana, along with several other Russian grandmasters, shortly after the invasion of Ukraine. While living with his mother in Moscow, Sarnaa left Russia in order to play in a tournament in Belgrade. Instead of returning home, he decided to stay and rent an apartment in the Serbian capital along with his brother.

He openly criticized the regime for its actions.

“I love Russia a lot, but I hate all the political stuff,” said Sarana. “What our government is doing now is absolutely disgusting. I cannot accept it, but I cannot do anything about it. But I have no sympathy for this war; all the reasons are absolutely terrible.”

The transfer comes two months after FIDE waived transfer fees for Russian players wanting to switch to Europe. For players rated between 2600 and 2699, the transfer fee had been 30,000 euros, but due to the new rules, Sarana can play under the Serbian flag without any charges.

Another recent transfer is GM Alexandra Kosteniuk who completed her transfer to Switzerland in March, after having lived in France for several years.

Source: Chess.com


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