National chess player ranks sixth at European Championship

6 September 2021 10:14 (UTC+04:00)

By Laman Ismayilova

Azerbaijani chess player Rauf Mammadov has finished sixth at the European Men's Chess Championship in Iceland. 

The European Individual Chess Championship 2021 is a qualifying event for the FIDE World Cup 2023.

Rauf Mammadov scored 7.5 points in the chess tournament.

Nijat Mammadov, who scored the same number of points, took 17th place due to additional indicators.

Another national chess players, including Nijat Abasov took the 42nd place (6.5 point), while  Aydin Suleymanli took the 67th place (6 points), and Riad Samadov ranked 91st (5.5 points). 

The winner of the eleven round tournament was Anton Demchenko (Russia). 

Rauf Mammadov is a three-time national champion. He competed in the FIDE World Cup in 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2015.

He played in the gold medal-winning Azerbaijani team at the European Team Chess Championship in 2009, 2013 and 2017. The chess player produced the best board 4 performance of the tournament in 2017, scoring 8/9 for a 2920 performance rating.

Nidjat Mamedov was awarded the title Grandmaster by FIDE in 2006. He played for Azerbaijan in the 2000 Chess Olympiad in Istanbul, Turkey and in the World Team Chess Championships of 2010 and 2013.

Nijat Abasov reached his all-time-highest rating of 2670 and was ranked as No. 3 in Azerbaijan and No. 67 in the world last year.

Aydin Suleymanli repeatedly represented Azerbaijan at the European Youth Chess Championships and World Youth Chess Championships in different age groups, where he won three gold medals. In 2021, he won the Niksic Memorial with a score of 8/9.

Chess for centuries has been a popular game in Azerbaijan with ancient roots closely related to traditions. The country could preserve these traditions as chess remains to be a crucially popular sport for now.

The first references to chess in Azerbaijan can be found in the works of the 12th century poets such as Khaqani and Nizami as well as in the works of one of the nation’s most respected literary personalities Fuzuli.

The 42nd Chess Olympiad in Baku is an excellent example of the great attention paid to the development of chess games in the country.

Nearly 2,000 chess players from 175 countries took part in the tournament.

The national chess players have always been taking high places at top-ranked tournaments.

Shahriyar Mammadyarov is a three-fold European Team Champion (2009, 2013 and 2017) and gold medalist at the 2012 Chess Olympiad on the third board.

In June 2016, Mammadyarov won the 3rd Shamkir Chess Tournament, the Vugar Gashimov Memorial. He defeated Fabiano Caruana and Anish Giri in the last two rounds, which put him in a tiebreak situation with Caruana. He defeated Caruana in the tiebreak, thus giving him tournament victory.

In 2021, Mammadyarov defeated the 13-time world champion Garry Kasparov at the Grand Chess Tour in Zagreb (Croatia).

Another Azerbaijani grandmaster Teymour Rajabov defeated Kasparov back in 2003.

Teymur Rajabov earned the title of Grandmaster at the age of 14, making him the second-youngest grandmaster in history at the time. In 2003, Rajabov gained international attention after beating the then world No. 1 Garry Kasparov in the Linares tournament, followed by victories over former world champions Viswanathan Anand and Ruslan Ponomariov all in the same year.

GM Eltaj Safarli won the Azerbaijan Championships in 2010 and 2016. Safarli played in the silver medal-winning Azerbaijani team at the European Team Chess Championship 2011.

Despite his short life, Vugar Hashimov had made a remarkable contribution to the chess history of Azerbaijan.

He played for Azerbaijan's national team in the Chess Olympiads in 2002, 2004, 2006, and 2008.

Hashimov won a bronze medal in the European Team Championship in 2007 and became the European Champion with the national team in 2009. He was the European vice-champion in the national team in 2011, and the winner of the Reggio Emilia tournament in 2010-2011.

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