The biggest chess news coming into April was clearly the convincing Candidates tournament victory by V. Anand, qualifying for the next World Championship match scheduled to take place in November. Carlsen-Anand II was not what I expected before the event, but Anand emerged as a clear winner going undefeated through the long event.
More detailed comments on the Candidates are available at my Youtube channel.
I.ve been abroad the whole month. The training camp in Muscat prior to the World Championship match last autumn was an entirely positive experience, and I decided to go back prior to the Shamkir Chess 2014 tournament.
Muscat isn.t that far from Baku, but our luggage got left in Dubai on the way.
The organizer has been very helpful also in this respect and this morning it was brought to the hotel in Shamkir. With the sports equipment in place, my trainer Peter Heine faced another tough challenge, two hours of basketball in the sun in anticipation of the NBA playoffs starting tonight!
Yesterday in Baku all the players of the A and B groups visited the grave of Vugar Gashimov. It was an emotional moment.
I.ve played in some memorial tournaments in the past, but this is of course something very special as Vugar was someone I knew personally and appreciated. He was not only pleasant and kind, but a highly creative and innovative elite chess player.
Shamkir is situated along the Silk way in the western part of Azerbaijan.
The well registered and touching opening ceremony today took place at the playing venue, the magnificent Heydar Aliyev Center in Shamkir.
Once again I managed to draw no 1 in the drawing of lots!
The players I face in the A-group are F.Caruana from Italy, H. Nakamura, USA, S.Karjakin, Russia, and the two strong Azeri players S. Mamedyarov and T. Radjabov.
Sunday at 3 pm local time I.m playing white against Shakryar Mamedyarov, and I'm really looking forward to get started!
Magnus Carlsen, Shamkir, Azerbaijan, April 19th, 2014