Mahir Mammedov: “This award is not only mine – it belongs to the whole Operating Committee”

The Director of the Baku Chess Olympiad Operating Committee, Mahir Mammedov, has talked to the media about the outcomes of the 42nd Chess Olympiad. The press service of the Baku Chess Olympiad publishes this interview:

- The Olympiad has been completed. How would you assess the outcomes of this prestigious competition?

- The Baku Chess Olympiad has now been consigned to history. Unfortunately, our teams did not compete for medals in the last round. We are a bit disappointed with such a result. We had created all possible conditions for our chess players. Our teams worked hard to prepare. But this is sport, and it is impossible to achieve the desired result all the time. There may have been a psychological setback in the team. Our players played two or three matches unsuccessfully. Yet, life continues.

From the standpoint of organization of the Olympiad, the results are excellent. The high level of organization is recognized by the world public, participants, captains, coaches, players and FIDE officials. The exhibition area and entertainment activities organized at the Crystal Hall have proved to be of huge interest. Thousands of local residents and foreign visitors have been to the exhibition hall. Unfortunately, the Olympiad is over. Members of the Organizing and Operating Committees are already sorry that the Olympiad has come to an end.

I would like to extend my gratitude to the sponsors of the Olympiad. Their participation is one of the crucial contributions to the good level of organization.

The Organizing Committee established by President Ilham Aliyev and led by First Deputy Prime Minister Yagub Eyyubov has done its job properly.

- Whereas the men’s team did not compete for medals, it is gratifying that a member of the women’s first team Gulnar Mammadova became the best player on the third board.

- Indeed, Gulnar deserves a lot of praise. In general, our girls have delighted us a lot. They had a long unbeaten streak from the start of the competition.

- How will Azerbaijan benefit from hosting the Chess Olympiad?

- Baku has become a large arena of chess. I expect that this competition will give a major impetus to the development of chess in the country. As you all know, chess is already in the spotlight in Azerbaijan. Chess develops very fast in the regions. Students and different categories of our population take a great interest in chess. There is tremendous potential for the development of chess in Azerbaijan. A large army of players and coaches is about to emerge. Parents proudly take their kids to chess clubs.

Our second and third teams did not perform worse than the first team. In fact, in some cases they surprised us even more.

We have witnessed complete execution of the State Program on the Development of Chess covering the 2009-2015 period. Chess will continue to develop in Azerbaijan in the years to come. We will continue to host high-profile chess tournaments. The interest of our media in this sport is also increasing by the day. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the journalists who covered the Olympiad developments.

- You mentioned the implementation of the State Program on the Development of Chess covering the 2009-2015 period. Is the adoption of a new program on the agenda for the near future?

- I can’t say for sure. The previous program bolstered the development of chess in Azerbaijan. Chess has reached unprecedented heights in the country. Chess is taught at schools. We can cite Nakhchivan and other districts as an example.

- FIDE has awarded you for an excellent level of organization of the Chess Olympiad. What do think about that?

- There has been a reception attended by participants in the FIDE Congress, captains and government officials, where I was presented with a small award. But this award is not only mine, it belongs to the entire Operating Committee.