Speaking to the guests and participants of the championship, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov said:
"On behalf of the International Chess Federation (FIDE), which unites 188 national federations, and on my own behalf I am happy to greet you at the solemn opening ceremony of the international festival Nakhichevan Open 2017 on the hospitable Azerbaijani land!
It is extremely gratifying to me once again to attend the opening of such a significant event on the eve of the birthday of the national leader of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyevich Aliyev exactly in his hometown – the city of Nakhichevan.
This tournament is very representative: more than 50 players from 10 countries and among them 12 grandmasters came here.
At the moment, chess life is really exiting in this country. The 42nd World Chess Olympiad took place last year, which in the opinion of all participants and guests became one of the best in the history of FIDE sports events. Recently, I attended the opening of the Vugar Gashimov Memorial, which also took place at the highest level.
Azerbaijan has the richest chess traditions. This country has already hosted the world-class competitions more than once. I am sure that the ancient game will stay here forever.
For many years the Azerbaijani chess school has been giving us brilliant players. And this is not accidental: chess in Azerbaijan is not just a game, it's a lifestyle. The state programme for the development of chess is being implemented here.
Two weeks ago I met with President Ilham Aliyev. We agreed on further ways of developing chess in the country: on holding new tournaments as per the official FIDE calendar in Gabala, opening new chess clubs in Baku, transferring 55 chess schools under control of the Ministry of Youth and Sports and on taking tangible steps to introduce the chess general education.
Ilham Aliyev stressed that he would keep this issue under special control. I would like to note that Nakhichevan is the only region of Azerbaijan where chess is taught from the 1st to 11th grades.
It is no accident that there already appeared grandmasters and international masters in Nakhichevan. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the head of the executive power of Nakhichevan Vugar Safarov on awarding him the title of International Organizer by the FIDE General Assembly in September last year.
I wish great chess achievements for all participants of the tournament and exciting experience for the fans of the ancient intellectual game.
Gens una sumus! We are one family!