World's chess masters to commemorate Azerbaijani grandmaster

By Nazrin Gadimova

World's top grandmasters will come together for a tournament commemorating Azerbaijani grandmaster Vugar Hashimov.

The tournament will be held in the Azerbaijani city of Shamkir in April, 2014.

The "A" tournament will bring together current world champions Magnus Carlsen from Norway; Fabiano Caruana, ranking fifth in the international FIDE rating, from Italy; Hikaru Nakamura, who is ranked seventh in the same rating, from the USA; Russia's Sergey Karyakin, as well as Azerbaijani grandmasters and European champions Shahriyar Mammadyarov and Teymur Rajabov.

The prize fund of the "A" tournament is €100,000.

Some ten players, including Azerbaijan's Eltaj Safarli, Nijat Abbasov, Gadir Huseynov, Rauf Mammadov, and Vasif Durabeyli , Wang Hao from China, Pavel Elyanov from Ukraine, Etienne Bacrot from France, Radoslaw Wojtaszek from Poland, and winner of the individual European Championship Alexander Motylev from Russia will participate in the "B" tournament, the prize of which will amount to €30,000.

The tournament will be held in the framework of the "State Program on development of chess in Azerbaijan in 2009-2014". The tournament's opening ceremony will be held in the Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center on April 19. The competition will last 10 days.

Prominent Azerbaijani grandmaster and European Champion of 2009 Vugar Hashimov was known as a strong player in blitz. Together with Teymur Rajabov and Shahriyar Mammadyarov, he was considered one of Azerbaijan's elite chess players.

After his early successes, Hashimov had to put his activities on hold for a while and have surgery. The disease re-surfaced in 2011, causing him to suddenly lose consciousness during a match against the French national team in the European Championship. Then a long-term treatment in Switzerland and Germany began, but he failed to beat the disease.