Chess News

Baku preparing for the first Grand Prix (updated)

Sofia rules to apply. Carlsen, Kamsky and Wang Yue confirmed to play

First tournament in the FIDE Grand Prix series is set to take place on 20th April – 6th May in Baku, Azerbaijan. Global Chess CEO Geoffrey Borg and FIDE press secretary Berik Balgabaev have visited Baku over the weekend for inspection on the facilities and overall preparation.

FIDE regards the first Grand Prix event to be “of historic importance” and preparations have began a long time ago. The inspection checklist included the playing hall, press conference room, rooms for analysis, space for spectators, arbiters’ rooms, rest rooms for players and other aspects. Logistic details, such are hotel and players’ accommodation, timely issuance of visas, have also been discussed with the representatives of Azerbaijan Chess Federation.

It has been confirmed that this Grand Prix opening event will be the strongest of all six planned. Average rating, according to April FIDE list, will be 2717 elo. So far we know that Magnus Carlsen, Gata Kamsky, Wang Yue, Teimour Radjabov, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Vugar Gashimov will be playing. Sofia rules will be implemented in Baku, meaning a ban on the draw offers. FIDE VP Zurab Azmaiparashvili, who already performs this duty for the Mtel Masters, will be in charge of assessing the situation on the board should draw eventually be agreed.

Organizers from Baku have created a fine tournament logo and FIDE decided to adopt it for the entire Grand Prix cycle (perhaps with small modification). Borg and Balgabaev pointed that, beside purely chess component, it is important to prepare material about Baku, Azerbaijan, the culture of the country, ethnic music and other information that might be presented to the Internet audience.

We already grabbed our copy of Alihan Samedov’s work :) Wikipedia states that Alihan is also a chess master.

More information on the FIDE Grand Prix


Vassily Ivanchuk won’t be present in Baku because of his dense calender, Sofia Mtel Masters is scheduled to start only few days after this competition. Teimour Radjabov and Ivan Cheparinov are facing similar discomfort, but they will play in the first Grand Prix.

The playing venue will be Renaissance Hall at the “Hyatt Regency”.

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