World Chess Cup 2015 – opening ceremony and day 1 LIVE! (updated)

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Hello everyone and welcome to the live coverage of the opening ceremony of the 2015 FIDE Chess World Cup in Baku. We will be following for you the latest developments from the World Cup with minute by minute updates, video, photos, interviews and more.

This will be a continuously updated article for the next 24 hours. Updates will be published every 10-15 minutes, bringing you the latest from the playing hall and the venue.

The updates are published in reverse chronological order. Refresh the page for the latest update

23:10 CET

Another large country group comes from Cuba. They are sending no less than five players to the World Cup – GMs Leinier Dominguez, Lazaro Bruzon, Yunieski Quesada, Isan Ortiz and the debutante Ermes Espinosa. Dominguez is the highest rated player with 2732 ELO, but all the others are experienced and will be tough opposition.

22:50 CET

Special attention at the opening ceremony was paid to the Chinese delegation at the World Cup. Not only they are bringing a very strong group of 2700+ Grandmasters, but they also have World Champion Yifan Hou. Much is expected of the top woman in the rating list. She starts in round 1 vs Rafael Leitao from Brazil.

The Chinese delegation at the opening ceremony

The Chinese delegation at the opening ceremony

Yifan Hou attracted the attention of the officials and the journalists

Yifan Hou attracted the attention of the officials and the journalists

22:00 CET

The good news continue tonight, Le Quang Liem (VIE) has also arrived after a long travel. He is now in the hotel.

Le Quang Liem has arrived in Baku after many hours of travel

Le Quang Liem has arrived in Baku after many hours of travel

21:30 CET

One realizes how serious the situation with the delays is when the top player of the World Cup was missing at the opening ceremony. Topalov has just checked in the hotel, past midnight in Baku and much after the opening ceremony end. At the same time the situation of more players remains uncertain.

21:10 CET

Chess legend Nona Gaprindashvili and President of Azerbaijan Chess Federation Dr. Elman Rustamov will make the honorary first move in tomorrow’s round.

21:00 CET

A special attention is given to the two female players – World Champion Mariya Muzychuk and former World Champion Hou Yifan.

Mariya Muzychuk

Mariya Muzychuk talking to famous Russian arbiter A.Bykhovsky

20:40 CET

During the technical meeting Chairman of the Anti-Cheating Committee Israel Gelfer explained the anti-cheating rules, FIDE reports.

Peter Leko asked if draws are allowed, ie if there is a requirement on the number of moves. The Chief Arbiter replied there are no restrictions regarding the draw offers.

18:55 CET

Susan Polgar informed on the arrival of two players, “Ray Robson finally arrived after big delay due to Lufthansa strike. Liem Le is due at around 2 am”

18:30 CET

We are now trying to find out exactly how many players are still missing due to the travel problems cause by the Lufthansa strike (details). Stay tuned for info in the coming updates.

Chinese players

A group of Chinese players

18:00 CET

For those who missed the opening ceremony, here is a short summary of it (photos are coming soon). The opening ceremony followed a rather standard scenario. Besides the speeches of high profile officials, including the Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports Intigam Babayev and the President of the Azerbaijan Chess Federation Dr. Elman Rustamov, a video on the development of chess in Azerbaijan was broadcast.

Despite chess not being present in the European Games in Baku, FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov praised Azerbaijan for the organization and confirmed he was present in Baku for the event. Ilyumzhinov also praised the State program for development of chess and expressed his desire the World Cup to be a step towards well organized Chess Olympiad 2016.

17:30 CET

Board colors drawn at the opening ceremony: players with odd numbers will start their matches with white. This means that Topalov, Wesley So, Aronian, Caruana start with white, while Nakamura, Giri, Kramnik are with black in game 1. For more details see the pairing numbers here

17:25 CET

The big news of the day is the unprecedented arrival of Armenian players in Azerbaijan. They were met with respect and all is going normal. Levon Aronian shared for local media, “I want to perform as well as possible at the World Cup in Baku. We expect a very strong tournament, which brings together the strongest chess players of the planet. Among my main rivals for the World Cup I see also Azerbaijani players as Radjabov and Mamedyarov.”

Armenian players

Armenian players

Aronian also added, “My friends told me many good things about the Azerbaijani capital, if I have time I will visit the city center”

17:15 CET

And this is the official video of the Baku FIDE World Chess Cup that we will be seeing a lot in this month of September.

17:10 CET

Fairmont hotel – another view of the playing venue that the players will enjoy in the next days

16:41 CET

Another look at the playing hall. The chairs provided to the players look very comfortable. Yet, with such a large number of participants, experience shows that there will be some chair changes in the first days.

The playing hall itself is beautiful, with the flags proudly decorating the landscape.

board and chairs

The playing hall with the flags

The playing hall with the flags

Europe vs Asia on many boards in the World Cup

Europe vs Asia on many boards in the World Cup

16:25 CET

The defending champion in this World Cup is Vladimir Kramnik. He won the tournament in an all-Russian final in 2013. He looks cool and ready at this photo with Berik Balgabaev, posted on Mr. Balgabaev’s twitter account

Mr. Balgabaev also informed on something very important, “Armenian chess players Levon Aronian and Gabriel Sargissian have arrived in the hotel. Everyone is happy”

Berik Balgabaev with Vladimir Kramnik

Berik Balgabaev with Vladimir Kramnik

16:15 CET

Players, arbiters, and officials are now moving from the Fairmont Hotel to the opening ceremony venue – the Mugham center. With so many participants in this event, the movement of people is impressive as usual.

Some have the privilege to use the official tournament car (see the photo below)

tournament car 1

16:05 CET

Yesterday we reported on the difficulties players are having to reach Azerbaijan due to the Lufthansa airstrike. About 15 players are yet to appear, five of the problematic participants have managed to arrive. Among them is Nakamura, who commented in his twitter profile, “Finally at the Fairmont Hotel here in Baku after a long journey via Istanbul. Time to watch Stan The Man!”

Radjabov did not have a long travel, but he was very happy at his arrival at the hotel

Teimour Radjabov and Vladimir Chuchelov arriving in the hotel

Teimour Radjabov and Vladimir Chuchelov arriving in the hotel

15:55 CET

This is the playing hall of the World Cup in Baku. The point of view is from the table of the top rated player of the tournament, Veselin Topalov. See full participants list and pairings here.

Specifically, the photo is from the point of view of Topalov’s opponent, Adu from Nigeria, who will probably have the top games of his life in the next days.

Playing hall of the World Cup in Baku

Playing hall of the World Cup in Baku

15:41 CET

Part of those anti-cheating measures is the strict security at the entrances of the playing hall. At the photo below you can see one of the electronic checkpoints, airport style.

electronic check

15:30 CET

Exactly one hour is left to the opening ceremony of the 2015 Chess World Cup in Baku. The technical meeting with the players is in progress. Rules are being explained one more time to avoid confusion. One of the key highlights of the meeting are the new anti-cheating regulations. The measures in Baku will be very strict to ensure the fairplay in the tournament.

As Susan Polgar reported directly from the playing hall, these measures include:

1. Random games will have 15 min delay live broadcast
2. 5 random players will have random check for electronics
3. Players are required to use pens provided by organizers
4. No phones, electronics, or watches
5. Electronic checks at the entrance of the playing hall

Technical meeting in progress with many familiar faces in the audience

Technical meeting in progress with many familiar faces in the audience

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