A solemn opening ceremony of the 42nd Chess Olympiad has been held at the National Gymnastics Arena in Baku

The President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, his wife Mehriban Aliyeva, and family members, as well as the President of World Chess Federation (FIDE) Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and other delegates of the organization, world chess champions, state and government officials attended the ceremony.

The 42nd Olympiad in Baku will come down in history with a record-breaking participation of teams representing 176 countries – a total of 181 men`s and 142 women’s teams will compete in this sporting event.

The host country Azerbaijan will be represented by three teams in both sections. Azerbaijan 1st men`s team includes Shahriyar Mammadyarov, Teymur Rajabov, Rauf Mammadov, Eltaj Safarli and Arkadij Naiditsch. Azerbaijan 2nd team is comprised of Vasif Durarbayli, Namig Guliyev, Gadir Huseynov, Nijat Abasov and Ulvi Bajarani. Azerbaijan 3rd team consists of Nail Bashirli, Muhammad Muradli, Vugar Asadli, Parviz Gasimov and Abdulla Gadimbayli.

Azerbaijan 1st women`s team includes Zeynab Mammadyarova, Gunay Mammadzade, Aydan Hojjatova, Gulnar Mammadova and Narmin Kazimova. Azerbaijan 2nd team is comprised of Turkan Mammadyarova, Nargiz Umudova, Khayala Abdulla, Ulviyya Fataliyeva and Narmin Khalafova. Azerbaijan 3rd team consists of Narmin Mammadova, Khanım Balajayeva, Govhar Beydullayeva, Ayan Allahverdiyeva and Aynur Katanova.

In the men`s event, Russia is the top seed of the Olympiad with an average score of 2760. The USA (2740) and China (2735) are second and third respectively. Azerbaijan is fourth with an average score of 2705.

China is the top seed in the women`s event with an average score of 2528. Russia (2493) and Ukraine (2485) are second and third seeds respectively. Azerbaijan’s 1st women’s team average score is 2320.

The Organizing Committee was set up by an order of President Ilham Aliyev on February 14, 2013 with the aim of ensuring excellent organization of the Chess Olympiad. The Organizing Committee has done a great job to fulfil this task. Perfect conditions were created at Baku Crystal Hall, where the games of the Olympiad will take place. Visa regulations for athletes and delegates visiting Azerbaijan were simplified under the President`s order. All measures were taken to ensure safety of the athletes. Over 500 volunteers were engaged.

More than 250 local and foreign media representatives will cover the Chess Olympiad.

In parallel with the Olympiad Baku will also host FIDE Congress, which will see participation of delegates from 183 countries.

Thirty Azerbaijani arbiters will officiate at the Olympiad.

The first round will start at 15.00 on September 2. The 11-round Olympiad will wrap up on September 13, 2016

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