Int’l chess tournament in NK irritates Baku

March 11 2004


BAKU, MARCH 11, ARMENPRESS: Azerbaijani authorities reacted
strongly to the first-ever international sporting event in Nagorno
Karabagh, a major chess tournament that was opened in Stepanakert
last Tuesday by a former world champion Boris Spassky. A statement by
Azerbaijani foreign ministry claimed that Armenian authorities
ignored FIDE’s calls not to hold the event and its warnings that the
tournament’s results would not be recognized.
However, the ten-day tournament that brought to Nagorno Karabagh
grandmasters from Armenia, Georgia, Switzerland, Poland, Latvia and
Iran was organized by the Karabagh government and is being held under
the auspices of the world chess governing body, FIDE and is dedicated
to the 75th birth anniversary of the late Tigran Petrosian, the
ethnic Armenian former world champion in the 1960s. Before the
official opening of the tournament, a welcoming letter from the FIDE
president, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, was read out in which he said he was
convinced that the holding of the international tournament in
Stepanakert will contribute to the development of the unique Armenian
chess culture.
The statement by Azeri foreign ministers said that “despite FIDE’s
warning Armenian and Karabagh authorities did not lose another chance
to stage a propaganda show.”