Baku Grand Prix begins on Thursday

by Alejandro Ramirez
10/2/2014 – The race for the 2016 Candidate's Tournament starts now. The first Grand Prix stage in the 2014-2015 FIDE GP series is in Baku, Azerbaijan. The matches start tomorrow but today the opening ceremony and drawing of lots took place. The locals cheered when out of coincidence the very first round includes a duel between the locals Radjabov and Mamedyarov!

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The first stage of the 2014-2015 FIDE Grand Prix is taking place in Baku, Azerbaijan. The tournament will run from October 1st to October 15, 2014. Some of the strongest players in the world will compete in a Round Robin event. The winner and runner-up of the Grand Prix series will earn their spot at the 2016 Candidate's Tournament.

The average rating (October 1st list) of the Baku Grand Prix is a strong 2752. The players are:

Name Rtg Fed
Fabiano Caruana 2844 ITA
Alexander Grischuk 2797 RUS
Sergey Karjakin 2767 RUS
Hikaru Nakamura 2764 USA
Shakhriyar Mamedyarov 2764 AZE
Leinier Dominguez Perez 2751 CUB
Boris Gelfand 2748 ISR
Peter Svidler 2732 RUS
Teimur Radjabov 2726 AZE
Dmitry Andreikin 2722 RUS
Rustam Kasdimzhanov 2706 UZB
Evgeny Tomashevsky 2701 RUS

Opening Ceremony

By Maria Emelianova

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 Gashimov. 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.

The FIDE President giving his opening remarks

The 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. 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.”

Nakamura listening to Sutovsky while Karjakin tries to focus on the ceremony

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.

Models of the future trophies

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.

Boris Gelfand drew the four

The pairings of the first round, which takes place on Thursday, October 2nd, are:

1. Dominguez - Kasimdzhanov
2. Tomashevsky - Grischuk
3. Karjakin - Caruana
4. Gelfand - Andreikin
5. Nakamura - Svidler
6. Mamedyarov - Radjabov
(Full pairings to follow)

The games start at 3 p.m. local time, which is 12:00 noon Central European time, 6 a.m. New York, 3 a.m. San Francisco, and 6 p.m. Hong Kong. You can find your regional time here.

GM Emil Sutovsky (above right, with Sergey Karjakin) and GM Evgeny Miroshnichenko
will be official commentators during the whole event

Local hero Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (behind him his sister, WGM Turkan Mamedjarova)

So who's looking after the kids? Rustam Kasimdzhanov and wife Firuza in Baku

The name is Caruana – Fabiano Caruana

Group photo on the stage: Rustam Kasdimzhanov, Teimur Radjabov, Hikaru Nakamura, Sergey Karjakin, Alexander Grischuk, Fabiano Caruana, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Leinier Dominguez, Arbiter Faik Gasanov, Boris Gelfand, Peter Svidler, Dmitry Andreikin, Evgeny Tomashevsky.

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.

Photos by Maria Emelianova and Anastasiya Karlovich


The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

Grandmaster Alejandro Ramirez has been playing tournament chess since 1998. His accomplishments include qualifying for the 2004 and 2013 World Cups as well as playing for Costa Rica in the 2002, 2004 and 2008 Olympiads. He currently has a rating of 2583 and is author of a number of popular and critically acclaimed ChessBase-DVDs.


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