The first stage of Grand Prix Series 2014-2015 started in Baku
The long-awaited FIDE Grand Prix in Baku was officially opened on Wednesday evening at the Cultural Event Center. The tournament's opening ceremony was attended by chess officials, sponsors, national and international chess media.
From 2 nd till 14 of October over eleven rounds, the strongest players in the world will compete in the round robin tournament.
The opening ceremony started with a one-minute of silence to honor the memory of one of the leading chess players of Azerbaijan Vugar Hashimov. The ceremony proceeded with a short documentary, showing the development of chess in Azerbaijan.
Speakers at the event included the Minister of Youth and Sports of Azerbaijan Republic Azad Rahimov, President of Azerbaijan Chess Federation Elman Rustamov and FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov.
Kirsan Ilyumzhinov reminded the guests of the long chess tradition in the Cultural Event Center, where the games will take place. “The building has historical importance as two USSR chess championships (1961 and 1972) were organized here. It was World Champion Boris Spassky who won the championship in 1961 and in 1972 Mikhail Tal became the USSR champion. I hope that one of the participants of the Baku Grand Prix will also become a world champion one day.”
FIDE President stressed the important role of the national leader Heydar Aliyev in the development of chess not only in Azerbaijan, but also in the former USSR.
"The national leader Heydar Aliyev made a huge contribution to the development of chess not only in Azerbaijan but also in the USSR. If Heydar Aliyev did not notice and would not have supported small Garik Weinstein, then there would be no World Champion Garry Kasparov. Azerbaijan is the only country from 181, which has the state program for the development of chess. The President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev continues to develop this wise game.”
During the opening ceremony the director of the “Classic Jewelry House Lobortas” Igor Lobortas demonstrated the models of future Big and Small trophies to award the FIDE Grand Prix series 2014-2015 winner.
The trophy consists of precious elements and stones of varying size, including silver, gold and diamonds.
Chief Arbiter Faik Gasanov then proceeded with drawing of lots. He called up the players to come to the table and choose the boxes with souvenirs with numbers inside.
During the drawing of lots the opening ceremony and the pairs of the first round are:
Dominguez - Kasimdzhanov
Tomashevsky - Grischuk
Karjakin - Caruana
Gelfand - Andreikin
Nakamura - Svidler
Mamedyarov - Radjabov
The announcement of the pair between two local heroes Mamedyarov-Radjabov was met with applause by guests of the ceremony.
Over the next two weeks Baku will be the main chess centre in the world, so please follow the games starting from 3 pm local time.
GM Emil Sutovsky and GM Evgeny Miroshnichenko will be official commentators during the whole event.
The third Grand Prix series 2014-2015 starts with the first stage in Baku (Azerbaijan). Back in 2008 it was also the capital of Azerbaijan which hosted the first ever Grand Prix stage and a great deal has changed since then as FIDE has organized 30 Grand Prix tournaments.
In contrast to the two previous Grand Prix cycles the number of tournaments was decreased from six to four to be held over two years (2014-2015). Each of 16 players of Grand Prix series will play in three tournaments out of four and all his results will be taken into account for the overall final standings of the Grand Prix. The winner and second placed player overall of the Grand Prix Series will qualify for the Candidates Tournament to be held in the last quarter of 2015 or the first half of 2016.