Thursday, October 2, 2014

Chess Grand Prix in Baku

Last night I attended the opening ceremony of the FIDE (World Chess Federation) Grand Prix tournament in Baku, Azerbaijan. Twelve of the very best players in the world will be competing in a round robin format, and two of them are Americans. Hikaru Nakamura is the top-ranked American player, and I love his uncompromising style. Fabiano Caruana is actually higher rated than Nakamura (he's number 2 in the world after world champion Carlsen), and he was raised in America, but he currently plays for Italy (he holds dual citizenship).
photo from Chessbase
You can barely see me in the shot above, talking to the guy holding the trophy. He was presenting it as his company designed the trophy for the event. Nakamura is the gentleman front and center looking sort of in the direction of the camera. He has been struggling of late, ever since he blew a game he was winning against Carlsen, and I hope he will get back on track.

Caruana is coming off of the best tournament performance ever seen, when he easily won the highest rated tournament ever in St. Louis. He didn't just win it; he dominated, winning seven games in a row against elite competition, including world champ Carlsen. I hope he continues to show that level of play here.

I'm not sure if I'll bother going to watch any of the matches, as the organizers didn't seem interested in allowing people like me a real opportunity to get good photos. Any shots I might be able to get would be from several meters away and from below, as the players are up on a stage. I would have liked to meet Nakamura and Caruana and shake their hands and let them know how much I am rooting for them.

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