By Abdul Kerimkhanov
For the second time in its history, the women's chess team of Azerbaijan won the medals of European Team Championship.
Having the fifth average rating among the participants, the team from Azerbaijan showed a confident game to win bronze medals. The victory in the final round over Armenia, which was considered a principled rival, allowed Azerbaijani ladies to climb the podium, which they deserved for their magnificent performance.
Azerbaijani chess players needed to beat Armenians in order to guarantee themselves a medal and the team did an excellent job. Gunay Mammadzade turned out to be stronger than Lilit Mkrtchan, while Khanym Balajaeva, Ulviyya Fataliyeva and Gulnar Mammadova tied a draw with their opponents. Thanks to this victory, the Azerbaijani team scored 14 points and ended up in third place, with a wide margin from competitors.
Thus, 27 years later, the Azerbaijani women's team again won the continental team championship medals. The first time this happened in 1992 in Debrecen, and now a new generation of domestic chess players is proving their class and consistency in the European arena.
The current success is logical because over the past years, our team has demonstrated a stable game in team tournaments, including the Olympics. But it was in Batumi that the team made a breakthrough, which allowed it to win awards. At the championship, the girls won six matches, tied in two and once lost.
As part of our team, Gulnar Mammadova scored the most points. In eight games played, she scored 6.5 points. The second most effective was Gunay Mamedzade - 5.5 points. However, each chess player contributed to the overall victory.
It is important that the girls in the Azerbaijani team have been playing together for several years and finally in Batumi were able to achieve the result that they have been striving for several years.
The European Team Championships lasted from October 24 to November 2 with an open tournament and a women's competition. In the Open tournament 40 federations are represented, while 32 teams are signed on to the Women's tournament.
For centuries, chess has been a popular game in Azerbaijan. The country could preserve chess traditions as the chess remains to be a very popular sport in Azerbaijan today as the national chess players constantly achieve successes in top-ranked tournaments.
Abdul Kerimkhanov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AbdulKerim94
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