By Laman Ismayilova
The fifth edition of the Shamkir Chess 2018 tournament will be played on April 18-28 in Shamkir, in memory of late Grandmaster Vugar Gashimov.
The event is organized with the assistance of the Azerbaijan Ministry of Youth and Sports, National Chess Federation, SOCAR and Synergy Group.
The tournament will be a 10-player round-robin with a time control of 120 minutes for the first 40 moves, 60 minutes for the next 20 moves, and then 15 minutes extra plus 30 seconds per move increment for the rest of the game. A rapid playoff will take place in case of a tie for first place.
The 2018 edition of the Gashimov Memorial in Shamkir sees the return of World Champion Magnus Carlsen, the winner of the last two editions of this tournament, Shakhriyar Mammadyarov, ranked second in the world, with 2814 Elo points, and ex-World Champion Vladimir Kramnik, nowadays one of the most dynamic players in the world.
Dutch Anish Giri, tenth in the world Elo-wise, China's Liren Ding, the only undefeated player in last month's Candidates Tournament, and the 2016 World Championship runner-up Sergey Karjakin of Russia will also join the tournament.
They will be joined by Bulgarian Veselin Topalov, for many the world-class player with more interesting style, Azerbaijani star Teymur Radjabov, who in 2003 defeated Garry Kasparov, Viswanathan Anand and Ruslan Ponomariov with the black pieces, which made him the first player to have beaten three former and reigning World Chess Champions, with black, in the same year, the Czech David Navara, current world number 19th, and local Grandmaster Rauf Mamedov, 38th in the world, with 2708 Elo points.
Notably, both Magnus Carlsen and Shahriyar Mammadyarov have become champions twice in previous four tournaments in Shamkir.
Shahriyar Mammadyarov scored amazing victories last two years.
The Shamkir Chess is played in memory of Vugar Gashimov, a talented Azerbaijani grandmaster and world-class player who died in 2014 at the age of 27.
Vugar was one of the world’s top players for a decade. His first significant tournament success was to win the U16 Kasparov Cup in 1999, which he did with a round to spare.
Gashimov became an international master in 1999 and earned the top title of grandmaster in 2002.
The 19 year-old GM took first place at Acropolis 2005 with 6.5/9 and won the category 18 Reggio Emilia in 2010. The Tata Steel 2012 became the last tournament in his life.
After his early successes, Gashimov had to put his activities on hold for a while for a surgery. His 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.
Laman Ismayilova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Lam_Ismayilova
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