Month: February 2020

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Aeroflot Open 2020 chess festival to start 18 February in Moscow

Aeroflot Open 2020 chess festival to start 18 February in Moscow

Aeroflot Open 2020, an international chess festival sponsored by Russia’s flagship airline, will take place on 18-28 February at the Cosmos Hotel in Moscow. Now in its 18th year, the competition is one of the longest established and most popular in the world, bringing together every year an impressive line-up of participants. 

The festival is divided into three tournaments (A, B and C), based on how participants score in an initial nine rounds, in accordance with the Swiss system. Players who achieve 2,549 points or higher will qualify for the main tournament (A).

Heading the list for this year’s main tournament is Vladislav Artemiev, current European Champion and a member of Russia’s victorious team at the 2019 World Team Chess Championship. Also on the list are Gabriel Sargissian (three-time winner of the World Chess Olympiad for Armenia), Sanan Sjugirov (current holder of the Russian Cup), Alexey Sarana (2018 winner of the Russian Championship Higher League), Baskaran Adiban (winner and medallist of various international tournaments for India), Vladislav Kovalev (2018 winner of the Aeroflot Open 2018 for Belarus) and many other chess stars.

Alongside the festival's three tournaments (A, B and C), a children's tournament named in honour of Anatoly Karpov will be held.

In total, more than 80 chess players from 21 countries will play in the main tournament, which takes place on 19-27 February.

Special prizes will be awarded to military veterans, women and children who score highest in their category (with prizes totalling EUR 2,500). Each participant can receive only one prize (the highest for which they quality). The festival's total prize pot is EUR 120,000.

"Aeroflot has been committed to cultivating successful sporting events for many years, including promoting chess within Russia and around the world. The Aeroflot Open festival has long been seen as a leading forum where nations can come together in the name of education and cultural exchange. For younger participants, this event is chance to break into the global chess scene, and for us it is a brilliant opportunity support the next generation of chess players," said Aeroflot CEO Vitaly Saveliev.

Aeroflot organises the festival in partnership with the Russian Chess Federation and the Association of Chess Federations. Aeroflot Open is considered the most representative open chess tournament in the world. In 2004, The Guinness Book of World Records logged the competition thanks to the high number of Grand Masters taking part that year.


United is Onboard as the Official Airline of the 92nd Street Y’s Acclaimed Talks Series

United is Onboard as the Official Airline of the 92nd Street Y’s Acclaimed Talks Series

Pop TV's Schitt's Creek: A Screening and Conversation with Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara, Daniel Levy and Annie Murphy, Moderated by Vanity Fair's Richard Lawson at the 92Y.

 Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

United is teaming up with famed New York community and cultural center, the 92nd Street Y (92Y), to serve as the official airline of the nonprofit's renowned Recanati-Kaplan Talks Series for 2020. For decades, 92Y has been home to New York City's largest and most successful talks series, featuring prominent artists, entertainers, musicians, scientists, comedians, political figures, fashion designers, dancers, economists and many others.

"United's shared purpose drives us to unite the world by connecting people to what matters most, which is why we are thrilled to be aligned with an organization such as the 92nd Street Y which embodies our brand's commitment," said Jill Kaplan, President, New York / New Jersey for United Airlines. "We are extremely proud to join this iconic institution in treating New Yorkers to another season of compelling commentary and captivating stories that will lift hearts, illuminate minds and bring our community together."

"We are delighted to collaborate with United Airlines for our 2020 season of Recanati-Kaplan Talks," said Susan Engel, executive director of 92Y Talks. "Their generosity helps us to continue to present unforgettable events with some of the most interesting and culturally significant speakers of our times."

Talks for the 2020 season include Larry David, the cast of Schitt's Creek, John Mulaney, Jeffrey Toobin, Paul Krugman, Samantha Bee, Queer Eye's Antoni Porowski, Diane Keaton, Issa Rae, Edie Falco, Seth Rogen, the cast of Outlander, Kevin Kline, Pod Save America's Dan Pfeiffer, Roy Wood Jr., Ronny Chieng, Noah Centineo, Ezra Klein, Malcolm Gladwell, Fareed Zakaria, Ramit Sethi, Glennon Doyle, Nicholas Kristof, Sheryl WuDunn and many more.

Every customer. Every flight. Every day.

United continues to strengthen its commitment to its customers, looking at every aspect of its business to ensure that the carrier keeps customers' best interests at the heart of its service. In addition to today's announcement, United recently:

  • Announced that MileagePlus award miles will never expire
  • Committed $40 million toward a new investment initiative focused on accelerating the development of sustainable aviation fuels and other decarbonization technologies
  • Established Miles on a Mission, a first-of-its-kind crowdsourcing platform which gives customers a simple way to donate miles to non-profit organizations and charities in need of air travel
  • Launched ConnectionSaver, a digital tool dedicated to improving the experience for customers with connecting flights
  • Instituted PlusPoints, new upgrade benefits for MileagePlus Premier members
  • Gave Economy customers a choice of complimentary snacks on domestic flights
  • Made DIRECTV free for every customer on more than 200 aircraft


Greenland’s Dramatic Landscape Added To Select Holland America Line 2021 Canada & New England Cruises

Greenland’s Dramatic Landscape Added To Select Holland America Line 2021 Canada & New England Cruises

Holland America Line’s Canada & New England season will be even more scenic in 2021 with the addition of three cruises that explore the dramatic landscape of Greenland. From April through October, guests can select from more than 13 unique Canada, New England and Greenland itineraries ranging from seven to 17 days — including a new roundtrip cruise from Boston, Massachusetts, that features Greenland, Newfoundland and New England.

To celebrate the opening of the 2021 Canada, New England & Greenland bookings, Holland America Line is featuring an exclusive suite offer that includes free drinks, a free dining package and free gratuities when reserved by Feb. 28, 2020.

“With spectacular scenery in any season, close-to-home access for many of our guests and a thriving culinary and cultural scene, Canada and New England remains one of our most requested destinations,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. “Adding Greenland to those itineraries makes them even more desirable because it’s so rarely visited on a cruise, and the natural beauty is a perfect complement to Canada and New England.”

Kicking off the season in April, Amsterdam, Zaandam and Rotterdam sail a diverse collection of 50 cruises that call at 23 exceptional ports on itineraries departing from Boston; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; and Montréal, Québec. In addition to Greenland, the cruises call at some of the region’s most iconic destinations, including Charlottetown on Prince Edward Island, Maine’s spectacular Acadia National Park, Cape Breton’s incredible Bird Islands and Red Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador.

New and Notable in 2021:

  • Three new 17-day Greenland, Newfoundland & New England Discovery cruises aboard Rotterdam in July and August sail roundtrip from Boston and explore remote destinations with breathtaking natural beauty. Ports include Paamiut, Qaqortoq and Nanortalik, Greenland; St. John’s, Red Bay, St. Anthony and Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador; Halifax and Sydney, Nova Scotia; Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island; and Bar Harbor, Maine.
  • Amsterdam and Zaandam will continue cruising between Montréal and Boston in both the summer and fall, which will add three additional Canada & New England Discovery cruises and one additional Atlantic Coast sailing.
  • Rotterdam takes over the 10-day Newfoundland & New England Discovery itineraries that now sail all the way to Montréal and include a late-night departure or overnight at Québec City, Québec.
  • All three ships will cruise the region in the fall so more guests can view the impressive display of jewel-toned foliage. Itineraries feature scenic cruising on the St. Lawrence River and Saguenay Fjord.
  • Holland America Line’s perfectly sized ships enable cruising the scenic St. Lawrence River, with calls at Montréal and Québec City on nearly every itinerary.
  • Leisurely journeys along the Atlantic Coast to and from Fort Lauderdale feature port calls at Charleston, South Carolina, and New York City on select itineraries.

Cultural Experiences Come Aboard
On board, Holland America Line’s multimedia EXC Talks bring Canada, New England and Greenland to life with captivating storytelling, expert commentary and stirring audio and video presentations. 

Explore Food, Wine and Culture on Culinary Tours
Exclusive shore excursions in partnership with Food & Wine magazine showcase the tastes of the region. On Canada, New England and Greenland cruises, guests can indulge in authentic poutine and maple syrup-infused treats or farm-to-fork cuisine in Québec City; sail on a classic lobster boat and then dine at a Downeast Maine lobster bake in Bar Harbor; explore Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley and attend a tasting at the Lightfoot & Wolfville Vineyards; or take a walking tour of Portland, Maine, and quaff a small-batch beer at Shipyard Brewing Company.


Aeroflot wins two categories at the GlobalCIO IT Project of the Year awards

Aeroflot wins two categories at the GlobalCIO IT Project of the Year awards

Aeroflot has won two categories at the IT Project of the Year awards organized by GlobalCIO, a professional community of digital transformation leaders.

Aeroflot's project "Optimising the system for creating, conducting and analysing marketing campaigns" was awarded the prize for Best Industry Solution in the transport category. Aeroflot has implemented a system allowing users to optimise automated targeting of marketing campaigns to customers based on a variety of communications, offers or communication channels. The system generates and verifies business hypotheses without involving IT specialists, and then launches campaigns based on available information and machine learning, generating detailed reports with KPI analysis for each campaign.  

In the Analytical Solutions and Big Data – Best Project in Cargo Logistics category, Aeroflot received the award for Cargo Air, and automated system for predicting cargo capacities that predicts available freight quota capacity aboard Aeroflot's passenger flights, over both the long and short terms, as well as increases aircraft load volumes.

The projects were evaluated by IT directors and IT service managers over a two-month period, using a custom-built voting system.

Kirill Bogdanov, Aeroflot's Deputy CEO for IT, said:

"Both projects are run using big data tools and machine learning models. Aeroflot is a global leader in the digitalization of the aviation industry, and developing such technologies is a priority for us. By introducing a marketing communications management system (for both existing and potential customers and across all channels) Aeroflot will be able to significantly optimise its marketing campaign launch process. We expect to see a 25% rise in the response rate to communications, as well as a 15% reduction in people unsubscribing from our marketing campaigns. Thanks to Cargo Air, the operational efficiency of Aeroflot's cargo business has increased – we are able to predict an aircraft's available cargo quota capacity with 90% accuracy, which has led to a genuine optimisation of the commercial load factor of our flights."   

The independent Project of the Year competition has been run by the Global CIO community of IT directors for eight years.

It is the first competition within the Russian IT industry to have IT directors themselves evaluate the efficacy of each company's project.

Winners are those who are found to have contributed most successfully to the support and development of information technologies within Russia. More than 220 projects were submitted for consideration in 2019. Of these, 193 were verified and entered into the competition.