3-12 September, 2014; Tehran
ECO Cultural Institute (ECI) in collaboration with Iran Chess Federation has organized the 1st ECO Chess Cup Tournament from 3rd to 12th of September 2014 in Tehran in line with its objective to promote cultural interaction among member countries of Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO).
The opening ceremony was held at Iran`s Chess Federation on 3 September 2014 with the participation of Prof. Iftikhar Hosain Arif, President of ECO Cultural Institute; Mohammad Jafar Kambouzia, President of Iran Chess Federation; Ambassador Mohammad Reza Jabbari, Executive director of ECI; and H. E. Mr. Hayri Maraslioglou, ECO Deputy Secretary General.
Prof. Iftikhar Hosain Arif, ECI President, in his opening remarks stated that: "Today, we are profoundly honored to organize the 1st ECO Chess Cup tournament with the participation of chess players from the 10 Member States in ECO region."
He added: "It is regarded as a privilege for ECI to organize ECO Chess Cup, the first of its kind event with the participation of all the 10 ECO member states held in cooperation with I.R. Iran Chess Federation."
The ECI president also explained that: "ECI duty is cultural improvement of member countries and organizing chess tournaments is a milestone in the activities of ECI."
At the end, he appreciated I. R. Iran Chess Federation and the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for their full-fledged support to the event and expressed his hope to have such tournaments in other member countries of ECO.
Then, Mr. Kambouzia, President of Iran Chess Federation introduced sport as an educational phenomenon and a proper facility to develop peace and friendship between nations. He went on to express his satisfaction of holding such regional and international events and said: "We hope that I. R. Iran would host a successful event and we are willing to do whatever it takes for us to bring about convergence among the peoples in the region."
He further stated that: "We are trying to organize this tournament also for women in the coming year."
In his statement, H. E. Hayri Maraslioglou, Deputy to Secretary General of the ECO highlighted the role of ECO Cultural Institute in the region and asserted that: "ECI is missioned to enhance cooperation in the fields of culture, art, and literature among ECO member countries."
At the end of his speech, he recalled the importance of the tournament and extended his thanks to ECO Cultural Institute, and Iran`s Chess Federation for organizing the event as an initiative to promote overarching relationships and further collaborations among the peoples in the region.
At the end of the ceremony, the ECI president and the president of Iran Chess Federation played chess symbolically to honor the match before Ehsan Ghaem Maghami, the Iranian chess grandmaster against his rival from the I. R. Afghanistan.
The chess players of prominent stance from 10 member countries of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) include Ehsan Chaem Maghami (Iran), Azer Mirzoev (Azerbaijan), Marat Dzhumaev (Uzbekistan), Rustam Khusnutdinov (Kazakhstan), Muhammad Khusenkhojaev (Tajikistan), Cankut Emiroglu (Turkey), Semetey Tologon Tegin (Kyrgyzstan), Mahmood Lodhi (Pakistan), Yusup Bayramgeldiyev (Turkmenistan), and Habibullah Amini (Afghanistan) who are competing in the week-long event which will run till 12 September, 2014.