Kazakhstan, geographical pivot of Central Asia
Argentina was the other main contender to host the FIDE World Chess Championship match, while Mexico and China also expressed an interest. However, given the nationality of the contenders, the bid received from Kazakhstan’s capital had obvious advantages due to its geographical situation and its track record of hosting world chess events, and was the option preferred by the FIDE Council.
With just over one million inhabitants, the city has received different names during its history: Akmolinsk, Tselinograd, Akmola, and until recent times, Nur-Sultan. The city became the capital of Kazakhstan in 1997. Since then, it has grown and developed economically, dramatically changing its shape and turning into one of the most modern cities in Central Asia, home to a range of futuristic buildings and skyscrapers. On 16 July 1999, Astana was awarded the medal and title of the City of Peace by UNESCO.
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