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Shamkir Chess 2015 opens

17 April 2015 11:39 (UTC+04:00)
Shamkir Chess 2015 opens

By Amina Nazarli

A solemn opening of the second Shamkir 2015 International Chess Tournament-- devoted to Azerbaijan's late grandmaster, Vugar Gashimov was held at the Shamkir’s Heydar Aliyev Centre on April 17.

The ceremony started with a moment of silence in memory of great grandmaster, Vugar Gashimov, who succumbed to ill health in early 2014.

Addressing the event, Fakhriyar Jabbarov, the first vice chairman of the Synergy Group’s executive board greeted the audience and declared the tournament open.

Speaking at the ceremony Vugar’s father, Gasim Gashimov emphasized on the talent of the participants. “I want to thank Magnus Carlsen, as after his last victory he announced that he would enjoy a much deserved break until June. However, he made an exception in Vugar's memory," he said.

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, the president of the International Chess Federation (FIDE) attended the grandiose event, organized by the Synergy Group.

He noted that during the 10 days competition, Shamkir will become the world's chess center.

“Shamkir is a very beautiful city and thanks to the Shamkir Chess it has become world-renowned,” he said. “The whole world will watch the strongest players in action. Azerbaijan is a chess country with rich traditions.”

He also added that this year the country will host the World Cup, which will be held in Baku, while next year it will see the World Olympics. He also touched upon the opening of the Chess Palace in Baku, which everyone is waiting with anticipation.

Such chess “giants” as world champion Magnus Carlsen (Norway), the second of FIDE Fabiano Caruana (Italy), former world champion Viswanathan Anand from India and former champion Russian Vladimir Kramnik are among the participants of the tournament.

Grandmasters Anish Giri (Netherlands), Wesley So (USA), Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (France), Azerbaijani Shahriyar Mammadyarov and the last winner of Azerbaijan Championship, Rauf Mammadov will all compete for first place, to the delight of all chess lovers.

This time Azerbaijani Teymur Radjabov will not take part in the competition due to health reasons. Radjabov will be replaced by Michael Adams.

The draw ceremony which determines the first round of the tournament was also held during the ceremony.

It came as follow:

Vladimir Kramnik (Russia) - Michael Adams (UK)

Wesley So (USA) - Anish Giri (Netherlands)

Rauf Mammadov (AZE) - Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (France)

Viswanathan Anand (India) - Magnus Carlsen (Norway)

Shahriyar Mammadyarov (AZE) - Fabiano Caruana (Italy)

In comparison with last year, when the tournament was divided into two parts including A (six participants) and B (10 participants), organizers this year have decided to hold a single tournament with the participation of 10 grandmasters.

Asked about his participation in the tournament, Magnus told journalists, “I am very glad to be here. The first tournament was held very professionally, I'm sure this one will have the same success. I was surprised of people’s attitude towards chess players in Azerbaijan.”

He also added that participation of strong rivals, and his desire to honor Vugar’s memory made him to change his mind about taking a break until June.

Shahriyar Mammadyarov also shared his impressions about the tournament. “Last year I performed badly, but this time I will try to do my best,” he said. “This tournament is also a big chance for Rauf Mammadov. I believe he will perform well.”

The fund price of the 10-day tournament organized to honor the memory of Vugar Hashimov and support the development of chess in Azerbaijan will be €100,000.


Amina Nazarli is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @amina_nazarli

Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz

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