The Hall Which Creates Champions

Время публикации: 02.10.2014 18:12 | Последнее обновление: 07.04.2015 17:50

(Translated from Russian by Andrey Deviatkin)

The Cultural Event Center in Baku. This isn't the full name of this building, but let's wait till the end of the report...

This impressive building is hosting the 1st stage of the FIDE Grand Prix 2014/15. The participants are accommodated in the Hilton hotel which is 3 minites by walk from the venue.

The honorable guests are present so that the opening ceremony can be started.

Sanan Shafizade is in his usual role: he is known as the host of various Azerbaijani TV shows, not only about sports

A short movie was demonstrated to remind the spectators of the very first FIDE Grand Prix tournament back in April 2008... well as of some other remarkable moments. Azerbaijan will never forget this historical handshake.

A moment of silence in memory of Vugar Gashimov

The raise of the curtain has revealed that everything had been prepared not only for the opening ceremony but for the tournament as well. The tables, the light, the beauty of the decorations - everything tells us that it's going to be fine. 

Azad Rahimov, the Minister of Youth and Sports of Azerbaijan

Elman Rustamov
, President of Azerbaijan Chess Federation

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov recalled the start of the Grand Prix 6 years ago at the same place. Apart from it, he revealed some curious facts to the audience:

"The walls of this building are living chess history. In 1961, they celebrated Boris Spassky as the new USSR chess champion. 11 years later, Mikhail Tal also got the same title within these walls. So, it won't be wrong to call this place "the hall of champions". Maybe one of the current participants will become the world champion too - who knows..."

"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 young Garik Weinstein, then there would be no World Champion Garry Kasparov. Azerbaijan is the only country from 181 with the state program for the development of chess. The President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev continues to develop this wise game."

Ilyumzhinov also thanked the oil and gas company SOCAR for their support of chess not only in Azerbaijan but worldwide as well.

This beautiful cup is awaiting the tournament winner.

Who will become the winner, then? We'll see after round 11... but first of all, there must be drawing of lots.

The participants received gorgeous souvenirs from the organizers, like the one below.

The Russian GMs Evgeny Tomashevsky and Dmitry Andreikin aren't among the rating favorites of the event, but we would refrain from any premature conclusions and prognoses. Evgeny and Dmitry aren't looking ready to be the outsiders at this chess holiday.

At the end, there was a banquette with live music and dances.

Meanwhile, the officials were celebrating the start of the Grand Prix somewhere else.

So, what is the full name of the venue? What kind of cultural center has been so hospitable to the best chess players for decades?

It is actually called the Cultural Center of the Ministry of National Security, formerly named the Dzerzhinsky club.


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