Baku Pledges to Ensure Armenian Chess Players’ Security

Armenian World Chess champions return victoriously from the Istanbul tournament in September

BAKU—Azerbaijan will ensure the security of Armenian participants of the World Chess Cup 2015 and the World Chess Olympiad 2016, Azerbaijani Youth and Sports Minister Azad Rahimov said Wednesday during contract signing ceremony, reported the Trend news agency.

In February, Armenian Grandmaster Levon Aronian, in an open letter warned the World Chess Federation (FIDE) Chairman Kirsan Ilyumzhinov that he would not be able to take part in the federation’s World Championship tournament if it is held in Azerbaijan.

“I’d like to inform you that the general atmosphere in Azerbaijan and the continuous tensions between our countries make my participation in such a high-level tournament in Azerbaijan impossible,” Aronian wrote in his February letter.

Armenia had put in a bid to host the events, but a final decision was made in September at the General Assembly of the World Chess Federation in Istanbul that Baku would host the next round of championships.

Armenia won the World Champion title in September, returning to Yerevan as heroes, amid the controversial extradition by Hungary and pardon by Azerbaijan of convicted axe-murdered Ramil Safarov, who in 2004 killed Armenian soldier Gurgen Markarian at a NATO Partnership for Peace gathering in Budapest.

“An important event, such as the Candidates Tournament, requires peace of mind and special concentration. No circumstances, if they are not chess-related, should prevent the grandmaster from demonstrating all of his skills. Unfortunately, at this moment no Armenian can find favorable or adequate psychological atmosphere in Azerbaijan, whereas that is something absolutely necessary. In my opinion, all the participants should be in equal conditions, which is impossible in the event the tournament is held Azerbaijan. Security guaranties and any kind of additional support cannot be a remedy,” explained Aronian.

“Taking into account the aforementioned considerations, I would like to inform you that I would be delighted to take part in the Candidates Tournament in any other country. However, my participation in the candidates’ tournament in Azerbaijan has to be excluded,” said Aronian.

“We are ready to host chess players from Armenia, with all security issues to be addressed at the appropriate level. This is not the first time Azerbaijan is hosting Armenian players,” Rahimov said.

Ilyumzhinov announced that Yerevan will play host to the FIDE presidential council from January 18 to 20, 2013, which will focus on the safety, accommodation and participation of Armenian players at the events.

Commenting on FIDE proposals on holding a children’s chess tournament with participation of young Azerbaijani and Armenian chess players in Nagorno Karabakh, Rahimov said that Baku could support the initiative if security of all Azerbaijani guests were ensured.

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  1. Ray said:

    I as a Armenian American with a United States Passport wouldn’t fell safe in Baku after the Safarov shame.
    They are probably getting there Axes and Knives sharpened right now!

    • hagop hagopian said:

      What, you mean you actually thought you were safe with your “american” passport before the safarov fiasco!

      The safarov pardon isn’t even the tip of the iceberg. There were countless armenians with “armenian, russian, french, belgian” passports who were ethnically not even 50 percent Armenian and were denied entry into azerbaijan after landing there.
      The only Armenians are ever allowed were Lavrov, and ilham’s boy toy Prince William of england and Raffi Hovhanissian.

  2. MGL said:

    There shouldn’t be any contacts between Armenia and Azerbaijan, except negations. And only after Baku recognizes Karabakh and starts acting like trying to be civilized country, only than all contacts such as sport, cultural and etc., can be established.
    I’m with Aronian and hope the rest of the team with him.

  3. hagop hagopian said:

    Yeah, I’m sure azerbaijan will ensure the security of any Armenian by hacking their heads off, because at that point they can claim what Armenians, there are no Armenians in azerbaijan

  4. Stepan said:

    This is the same neighbor that commits border violations on a sovereign nation in the Tavoush Marz, has shown no,commitment to the peace process in liberated Artsakh, and distributed racist rhetoric as it continues a blockade of Armenia. Armenia should never send its brilliant team to this outpost. Azerbaijan’s intent is clear. Our presence will only give them false credibility.

  5. Heghapokhagan said:

    they will most likely end up dying by an “ACCIDENT” …. It will be foolish to take any % of risk taking… our boy’s lives are more important than chess championship.

  6. Krikor said:

    NO WAY.Aronyan is right. Who would trust Azeris after Safarov case.
    Azerbaijan does not deserve to be part of the civilized world

  7. Satenik said:

    These young chess players are our national treasures. We can not play russian roulette with their safety. Azerbaijan’s human right records are one of the worst in the world. How can a mere “pledge” by such a regime mean anything? Please keep them away from any threat of danger. We are a very small nation and should protect our heroes at all cost!

  8. Ararat said:

    Folks, Axerbaijanis are shell-shocked and suffering from permanent brain damage because they are still unable to stomach the massive defeat and humiliation handed to them by the brave Armenian fighters 20 years ago. They act out of desperation like caged animals do. In reality, they are all a bunch of sheep.

    They don’t dare face their victims so they stab them in their sleep with an ax. Let’s face it, such acts can only be committed by the most coward people in the world. Where do you think this axe murderer Safarov, turned hero, is nowadays? He is in hiding and surrounded with bodyguards. Some hero huh? We have put the fear of God in them. This coward knows he is gona be toast sooner or later and rest-assured we will smoke him out and give him a taste of his own medicine. The best is yet to come. What a coward made-up nation these Axerbaijanis are!

    • Aspet said:

      They really are afraid of Armenians. The handful of Azeris I’ve met have been too scared to admit their ethnicity to me. One of them even told me he was from Russia when I asked him, this after I said I’m Armenian. Only later did I find out that coward was actually Azeri. It’s similar with Turks, they turn silent when I tell them I’m from Armenia. It’s not even that I’m going to hurt them, but usually a stern look is enough for them to tuck their tail. Never be intimidated by these spineless people.