A press-conference with the Tournament Director of the FIDE World Cup 2015 and Chess Olympiad 2016 Mahir Mamedov was held in the Fairmont Hotel. Speaking to Goran Urosevic, World Cup Press Officer, M. Mamedov shared his impressions about the tournament and provided some insight about the preparation for the event.
“Everything started from the FIDE Congress, which took place during the Chess Olympiad in 2012 in Istanbul. Azerbaijan was awarded the right to hold this prestigious event in 2016 as well as the World Cup 2015. As you know, the country which gets the right to hold the Chess Olympiad also accommodates the World Cup. The President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev signed a document about the creation of the Olympiad and the World Cup Organizing Committee, an organization headed by the first Vice-Prime Minister of Azerbaijan Eyyub Yagubov. The budget has been approved for both events to take place. Overall, it was relatively easy to organize the World Cup as we have plenty of resources and infrastructure in place.”
Mahir Mamedov also underlined that the competition venue was not chosen accidentally: “We initially wanted all global events to take place in the center of the city and the “Flame Towers”, where the Fairmont hotel is located, – is the face of the city. The Chess Olympiad 2016 will be held in the Crystall Hall, a famous venue, where we already had the Eurovision contest and various sport events during the European Games 2015. By the way, there are many professionals in our team who worked and gained experience in the European Games.”
The Director of the World Cup Organizing Committee also talked about the chess development program in Azerbaijan: “This program had a strong impact on the development of this sport in our country. There are around 70 chess schools in our country, with many talented young players training. This helps a lot to our national team which is, as we all know, current European Team Champion”.
Mr. Mamedov provided some insights about the technical part of the World Cup: “As you can see, the internet broadcast is taking place. Though, there was a short delay during the 1/64 tiebreak, it was quickly fixed. We have a very good technical team and high quality equipment”.
Speaking about the Chess Olympiad, M. Mamedov noted: “We expect to have around 3000 guests. When we promoted our application for the Olympiad, we underlined the advantage of the participants living near the central Boulevard area. The are a lot of comfortable hotels there, so there should not be any problem with accommodation”.
Talking about the participation of the Azerbaijani players in the World Cup, the tournament director said the following: “There are six our players taking part in the tournament. This number could be higher, but six is a very good number. Initially, I thought that only four will pass the first round and so it happened. I think that Eltaj Safarli played below his real chess strength with the Hungarian Grandmaster Czaba Balogh. Overall, all the guys are trying hard and play fighting chess.”
Answering the questions regarding the “SOCAR-Azerbaijan” and “Odlar Yurdu” chess clubs performance, Mahir Mamedov noted: “SOCAR-Azerbaijan is the most stable club in Europe and “Odlar Yurdu” was initially planned to be a sort of reserve for the main team, where the other players could gain experience before the Olympiad 2016. Also, “Odlar Yurdu” is a potential feeder to “SOCAR-Azerbaijan” and the idea worked fine.”