The FIDE (The International Chess Federation) Grand Prix started the new season 2014-2015 in Baku at the culture center of the Ministry of National Security, SIA reports.
Back in 2008 it was also the capital of Azerbaijan that hosted the first ever Grand Prix event and a great deal has changed since then as FIDE has organized 30 Grand Prix tournaments.
One only needs to remember that the event six years ago was won by future World Champion Magnus Carlsen, Chinese top player Wang Yue and Vugar Gashimov, one of the leading chess players of Azerbaijan, who tragically passed away in January 2014.
A video dedicated to the 1st Baku Grand Prix and the memory of the international grandmaster Vugar Hashimov and Azerbaijan’s achievements in chess was demonstrated at the ceremony. Vugar Hashimov’s memory was commemorated with a minute of silence.
Speaking at the event, Youth and Sport Minister Azad Rahimov talked about Azerbaijani government’s care for sports and achievements of the local sportsmen. He noted national leader Heydar Aliyev’s care in particular to every area including one of the youth’s important tools in mental and physical development sports.
He noted that the first ever state program on chess was signed in Azerbaijan. The state program signed by the President Ilham Aliyev is successfully implemented.
As a result of this, Azerbaijani national team was chosen the strongest team of Europe for two times. “SOCAR – Azerbaijan” won the European cup for two times.
The Minister expressed his confidence that all of the participants will dedicate their victories in memory of Azerbaijani grand master Vugar Hashimov.
President of Azerbaijani Chess Federation Elman Rustamov said it is a nice tradition to hold such tournament in Azerbaijan for the second time, as well as it is very valuable for the sportsmen. He stressed that Azerbaijan’s hosting Baku 2015 - the First European Games is a vivid proof of the international community to the country’s achievements.
The Grand Prix Series will consist of four tournaments 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.
FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov in his speech said the tournament is organized with the highest level. He thanked Azerbaijani government for created opportunities to sportsmen.
The only country that assigned the State Program among FIDE’s 180 member countries is Azerbaijan. Ilyumzhinov stressed that President Ilham Aliyev’s special care for Azerbaijani chess should be a model to other countries.
The opening ceremony was followed with a live concert program.