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Vugar Gashimov Memorial opens

25 July 2014 16:03 (UTC+04:00)
Vugar Gashimov Memorial opens

By Nigar Orujova

Baku hosted opening of an international tournament devoted to Azerbaijan's late grandmaster Vugar Gashimov on his birthday on July 24.

The memorial tournament for children under 12 that gathered about 100 chess players from Russia, France, Georgia, Turkey, Iran and other countries will come to the end on August 2. The first round of the nine-round tournament started on July 24.

The winner of the tournament will be awarded with Vugar Gashimov's Cup and would have the opportunity to participate in the European Youth Chess Championship to be held in Batumi in October 18-29.

Meanwhile, the silver medalist will be invited to Baku Open tournament and the holder of the third place would take part in Nakhchivan Open tournament.

This tournament is the second competition devoted to the prominent Azerbaijani grandmaster and European Champion of 2009 Vugar Gashimov, who was known as a strong player in blitz.

Alongside, a monument to Gashimov was unveiled at the second Alley of Honor.

Addressing the ceremony, Deputy Youth and Sports Minister Ismail Ismailov spoke about the role of Vugar Gashimov in Azerbaijan's history.

"Vugar had made ​​a great contribution to the history of Azerbaijani sports, he had won many international tournaments and played a decisive role in the victory of the Azerbaijani team at the European Team Championship. Certainly, the government of Azerbaijan will take appropriate measures to perpetuate his name. In particular, one of the chess schools can be named after him in the future," Ismailov said.

"At the tournament, underway in Baku, children under 12 will learn tactics used by Vugar Gashimov and will strive to be like him," he added.

Gasim Gashimov, father of the famous player, thanked Azad Aliyev, the creator of the monument.

"Vugar loving Azerbaijan cannot imagine his life without chess. I cannot remember a time when he did not come with a prize from any international tournament. He always fought to the end to win. Vugar always sought to ensure that the Azerbaijani chess won in all competitions and tried to return home with a medal. It is difficult to accept the fact that he is not with us. We will always remember him," he said.

Vugar Gashimov, together with grandmasters Teymur Rajabov and Shahriyar Mammadyarov, was considered one of Azerbaijan's top chess players.

The first memorial tournament brought together the world's top chess players and ended with the victory of Norwegian grandmaster Magnus Carlsen. It was held in Shamkir in April.

Born in Baku in 1986, Vugar Gashimov was taught to play chess by his father at the age of six. He became Azerbaijan's champion three times: in 1995, 1996, 1998, and was also the four- time silver medalist of the European youth championship (1996-2000).

Gashimov won a bronze medal in the European Team Championship in 2007, and became the European Champion with the national team in 2009, providing the team with a decisive point in the final round.

He was also the European vice-champion in the national team in 2011 and the winner of the Reggio Emilia tournament in 2010-2011.

After his early successes, Gashimov had to put his activities on hold for a while to have a surgery. The disease resurfaced in 2011, when he suddenly lost consciousness during a match against the French national team in the European Championship.

Then he had a long-term treatment in Switzerland and Germany but failed to beat the disease in early 2014. The news of his death shocked Azerbaijan and the entire sport community.

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