The official closing ceremony of the 42nd Chess Olympiad has been held at the National Gymnastic Arena.
The press service of the Baku Chess Olympiad reports that the ceremony was attended by First Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Azerbaijan and Chairman of the Baku Chess Olympiad Organizing Committee Yagub Eyyubov, Minister of Youth and Sport Azad Rahimov, FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, President of the Azerbaijan Chess Federation Elman Rustamov and other representatives of the organization, world chess champions, government officials, etc.
The 42nd Chess Olympiad started in Baku on 2 September and has been the biggest sporting event ever held in Azerbaijan. This competition brought together 181 teams in the open section and 142 teams in the women’s section representing a total of 175 countries. This is a record figure in the history of all Olympiads. Azerbaijan was represented in the Olympiad by three men’s and three women’s teams.
The 11-round tournament was won by team USA, which scored 20 points. Ukraine finished second with the same number of points. Russia finished third with 17 points. The Azerbaijan men’s first team finished in 12th place with 15 points. The second team scored 14 points to finish 26th and the third team finished 49th with 13 points.
The winning team in the women’s section is China, which scored 20 points. Poland finished second with 17 points and Ukraine was third. Azerbaijan’s first team scored 16 points to finish eighth. The second team finished in 30th and third in 32nd places.
The ceremony started with the national anthem of Azerbaijan.
Then winners in Categories E, D, C, B, A were awarded.
The awards were presented by Tournament Director Takis Nikolopulos and Chief Arbiter of the Chess Olympiad Faig Hasanov.
The awards by boards were presented by Director of the Baku Chess Olympiad Operating Committee Mahir Mammedov.
The winners on the first board were awarded by President of the Azerbaijan Chess Federation Elman Rustamov.
The bronze, silver and gold medals in the women’s section of the 42nd Chess Olympiad were presented to the teams of Ukraine, Poland and China respectively were presented by Minister of Youth and Sport of Azerbaijan Azad Rahimov.
The Vera Menchik Cup was presented to China, the winning team in the women’s section.
The medals to the first three teams in the open section of the Baku Chess Olympiad, the USA, Ukraine and Russia, were presented by FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov.
The team USA was presented with the Hamilton Russell Cup.
Then awards were presented to the winners of the Nona Gaprindashvili Cup. Presenting the awards was five-time World Chess Champion Nona Gaprindashvili.
The winners were presented with the Azerbaijan national hat and kerchief, the kalagai.
National anthems of the winning teams were played.
Addressing the ceremony afterwards, FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov thanked the State of Azerbaijan for the high level of organization of the 42nd Chess Olympiad. “The organizers of the Chess Olympiad have set a very high standard of conducting high-profile chess tournaments. Organizers of future Olympiads have a very tall task of emulating this level. Today we are closing this remarkable holiday but are convinced that thousands of boys and girls will come to chess clubs tomorrow to discover the secrets of the most intelligent game of the planet. And we will have the opportunity to return to this hospitable land to witness new battles in other tournaments,” he said.
Expressing his gratitude to President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev for his continued support of chess, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov said Azerbaijan had always hosted prestigious international competitions at a high level. He noted that chess players and other visitors were leaving Azerbaijan with very good impressions.
Then the FIDE flag was brought into the arena and the anthem of this organization was played.
Minister of Youth and Sport of Azerbaijan Azad Rahimov and Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs of Georgia Tariel Khachikashvili were then invited to the stage for the handover of the FIDE flag to the next Olympiad host country.
Minister of Youth and Sport of Azerbaijan Azad Rahimov congratulated everyone on the successful completion of the 42nd Chess Olympiad. “I do hope that you are also pleased with the exciting two weeks of this prestigious competition and are returning to your countries with some good memories. We are proud that the 42nd Chess Olympiad brought together players from 175 countries, which is a new record in the history of all Olympiads,” he said.
The minister noted that Baku has successfully hosted a number of international sporting events, adding that the Fourth Islamic Solidarity Games would be held in Azerbaijan next year.
Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs of Georgia Tariel Khachikashvili said in his remarks that it was important for the Georgian side to benefit from Azerbaijan’s experience when hosting the 43rd Chess Olympiad in Batumi in 2018. He said the two countries had friendly relations in a number of spheres and thanked the Azerbaijani side for the cooperation opportunity.
Pointing to the historic achievements of the Georgian chess school, Tariel Khachikashvili expressed his confidence that the 43rdChess Olympiad would also be a success. He pledged that the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs and the Georgian Chess Federation would do their best for that.
In conclusion of his speech, the Georgian minister thanked the State Oil Company of the Republic of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) for its support of the development of sport in Georgia, including chess.
After the speeches, FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov declared the Olympiad closed.
Then a video was demonstrated about Batumi, the host city of the 43rd Chess Olympiad.
The ceremony continued with a performance of the Georgian music group “Kakhaberi and Khanums”.
In the end, the performance of the folk song “Sari gelin” by merited artist Sevda Alakbarzada was acclaimed by the audience.
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