The Coronado Public Library on May 20 held a youth chess tournament that included an international chess grandmaster and a cultural lesson on Azerbaijan. Staff photo by Fiona Rasak.

International chess Grandmaster Vasif Durarbayli was on hand May 20 at the Coronado Public Library for the fifth annual San Diego-Azerbaijan Youth Chess Tournament.

The event attracted players between 8 and 18, and the library teamed with Global Neighborhood Project, which is developing cultural and educational partnerships in several countries.

Durarbayli, who is a native of the country of Azerbaijan, shared tips and knowledge on how to improve in chess.

He currently lives in St. Louis, Missouri, and at the end of the event he presented certificates.

Young chess players between 8 and 18 attended the fifth annual San Diego-Azerbaijan Youth Chess Tournament on May 20. Staff photo by Fiona Rasak.

Elite distinction

To become a grandmaster of chess a person must earn that designation from the International Chess Federation

Currently, there are only 1,721 people worldwide who have that distinction.

Durarbayli, who started playing chess at the age of 6, became an international master at the age of 15 in 2007, and three years later became a grandmaster.

Learning about Azerbaijan

The youth also learned about Azerbaijan by seeing pictures and hearing information about the country, which is in southwestern Asia.

The country is bordered by the Caspian Sea in the east, by Iran in the south, by Armenia to the west and Georgia and Russia to the north.

The country has a very rich and fantastic culture according to Lee Wakefield, who is part of the Global Neighborhood project.

He added most people don’t even know where the country is despite being one of the leading oil and gas producing countries in the world.

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Fiona Rasak is a senior multi-media journalism major graduating in May from Point Loma Nazarene University. Previously she worked as a staff writer for the Point Newspaper and the Mariner yearbook.