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Azerbaijan to negotiate with FIDE about Candidate Matches

Ministry of Youth and Sports and National Chess Federation to initiate thorough discussion with FIDE

12th August 2009, article by Teymur Tushiev

Azerbaijan is seriously interested in placing a bid for the Candidate Matches, which is one of the stages in the World Championship cycle, Vice-President of Azerbaijan Chess Federation Mair Mamedov confirmed for extratime.az.

“Our decision is to invite the leadership of the International Chess Federation to start negotiations regarding the bid for organization of the Candidate Matches” – Mamedov said – “It is difficult to say what will be the outcome, but clearly, such decision has strong backing as it was taken on the level of Minister of Youth and Sports Azad Rahimov and the President of Azerbaijan Chess Federation Elman Rustamov.”

It is expected that FIDE delegation will arrive in late August or in the first half of September. Another option for a meeting with FIDE management is 20th September, when Baku Open with a prize fund 60 thousand USD is starting. In regard to the composition, Deputy FIDE President Georgios Makropoulus and FIDE Vice President Zurab Azmaiparashvili are expected, as well as Berik Balgabaev, assistant to the FIDE President.

The current World Championship cycle concludes around April next year, when the current champion Viswanathan Anand (India) will defend his title in a match against the top rated player Veselin Topalov (Bulgaria). Candidate Matches are scheduled for the second half of 2010. The defeated in the above mentioned match is automatically seeded into final eight.

The remaining seven participants will be determinated by the end of the year. Two top finishers of the FIDE Grand Prix, winner of the World Cup to be held in Khanty-Mansiysk, Gata Kamsky (USA) after the Challenger Match against Topalov, two players with the best average ranking of 1st January and 1st July and finally a player seeded by the organizers.

It should be noted that there is a great probability that Armenian Grandmaster Levon Aronian will qualify from the Grand Prix circuit. If Azerbaijan is granted with the organization of the Candidate Matches, and taking into account “the well-known reasons”, Aronian’s arrival to Baku would not be a particular problem. “This question is not an obstacle for the negotiations” – Mair Mamedov assured us – “Moreover, Azerbaijan has the experience of accepting Armenian athletes, in particular the Armenian fighters in the 2007 World Wrestling Championships. Azerbaijan is a tolerant country, capable of welcoming the neighbors and accepting the guests.”

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