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Baku President's Cup

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Thought I'd squeak this one in. Hard to believe there's a very strong rapid event going on during the the world championship, but indeed there is. Last year the President's Cup, styled an "Azerbaijan vs the World" was a more typical Scheveningen team format. This time the four locals and the four invitees are tossed in together in a single-lap all-play-all. Anyway, it's a lot more fun than the "Azerbaijan vs Armenia" match that's still in progress. (Speaking of, after Ilyumzhinov said in a recent interview that he hadn't ruled out having Aronian play his candidates match in Baku, the Armenian federation issued a press release with a statement from Aronian saying he would never play there. Not that they would invite him, of course, which is why the Azerbaijanis insisted on splitting the event in the first place.)

The locals are Mamedyarov, Radjabov, Guseinov, and Mamedov. If you're paying attention at home, the missing 2700+ "-ov" is Gashimov. The World is represented by Kramnik, Kamsky, Polgar, and Israel's Emil Sutovsky, who is one of the answers to the trivia question, "name all the Grandmasters born in Baku."

After two rounds on today's first day Mamedyarov is in the lead with wins with white over Polgar and the redoubtable Kramnik. Polgar barely plays these days but is coming off a big rapid match win over Navara. Kamsky has been keeping a low profile on the open circuit for a while now, a step down from his supertournament and candidates run. He just won the Philadelphia Open on tiebreak. The American impressed in the first round with a pummeling of Radjabov in the NKIFY, or "No King's Indian For You" opening, with his trusty Bg5. You look at the position after 12.Qe2 and wonder why everyone doesn't play this "junk." Kamsky finished off with the nice 34.Nc6+! discovery.


and no games after the jump? I'm deeply sadden!

This may be the place to discuss the next (or ongoing) WCh cycle. There is actually an announcement on the FIDE homepage that the final Grand Prix will take place in Astrakhan, Russia from 9-25 May
This has been published on 5 February, and nothing is mentioned on the Grand Prix homepage so there is no guarantee - maybe Mig can ask his ICC friend Peter Svidler who is one of the participants?
But Kramnik said that he's in Baku as a sparring partner for the Azeris to prepare for the GP tournament. Then it's even stranger that Gashimov doesn't play - he will play the GP and has still reasonable chances for the remaining qualifying spot. Gashimov had mentioned that he doesn't get any support from the federation, quod erat demonstrandum ... .

Moving on to the candidates tournament: Aronian's statement is nothing new, Ilyumzhinov's is - and may imply that they have trouble finding a co-organizer for the event.

Go Gata Go!

Kamsky took a draw in the final round and Kramnik and Mamedyarov both won to catch him: http://www.chess.co.uk/twic/chessnews/events/presidents-cup-baku-2010 It seems as though Kramnik won the tournament on the SB tie-break as no. of wins and games with each other were equal: http://extratime.az/article.php?aid=13620

Just for the record, Mig, the Azerbaijanis were more than happy to welcome Aronian to Baku to play in the Grand Prix. It was Aronian who refused to play in Baku due to which FIDE at that time split up the event into 2.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on April 29, 2010 10:55 PM.

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