Unlike the upcoming Vassar-Chadwick / Middletown club match (this Saturday!), in Europe they apparently allow clubs to hire GM mercenaries. The top two Americans are there, Gata Kamsky (playing for top team SOCAR – a team so strong he’s a legitimate board 4!!), and Hikaru Nakamura (playing for Italian club, O.R. Padova).
Back to SOCAR. There are 44 2700+ GMs in the world, the cream of the crop. SOCAR has 7 of them on their 8 man team. SOCAR is the state oil company of Azerbaijan, which apparently has the strongest chess club in the world (or just generous sponsors). Nakamura’s team is from Italy, which is ironic as the top Italian player, Fabiano Caruana, is playing for SOCAR. Could that potentially be a dig by Nakamura, captaining the team that Caruana should probably be on?
Looks like a nice event, and if you scroll down the club list you’ll actually find mortals with sub-2000 FIDE ratings. If only we lived in Europe (or had people willing to pay us to fly over there and play).