By Amina Nazarli
The traditional tournament Shamkir Chess 2017 commemorating the late Azerbaijani grandmaster, Vugar Gashimov, kicked off on April 20.
The world’s strongest grandmasters arrived in the Shamkir region to compete in the 4th edition of the memorial tournament, organized by "Synergy Group" and Azerbaijan Chess Federation.
Head of the Shamkir District Executive Authority Alimpasha Mammadov, addressing the opening ceremony, said Shamkir has good experience of hosting the international sporting events.
Deputy Minister of Youth and Sport Ismayil Ismayilov hailed the late Gashimov`s role in Azerbaijan`s achievements in chess and the development of chess in the country.
In turn, Vice-President of Azerbaijan Chess Federation Mahir Mammadov stressed the importance of the Shamkir Chess 2017 tournament.
FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, who also took part in the event, said the Shamkir Chess 2017 is one of the important tournaments in FIDE calendar.
He commended the state attention to the development of chess in Azerbaijan. “Azerbaijan is the only country to endorse a state program for the development of chess,” Ilyumzhinov added.
Ten grandmasters n, including Wesley So, Vladimir Kramnik, Sergey Karjakin, Shahriyar Mammadyarov, Michael Adams, Pentala Harikrishna, Pavel Eljanov, Radoslav Wojtaszek, Veselin Topalov and Teimour Radjabov, will vie for the title of Shamkir Chess 2017 champio.
The Shamkir Chess 2017 will last until April 30.
In 2014 and 2015, the winner of the Vugar Gashimov Memorial was world champion Magnus Carlsen (Norway). Azerbaijani chess player Shahriyar Mammadov won the 3rd edition of the Memorial.
27-year old Gashimov, who was one of the world’s top players for a decade and who helped lead Azerbaijani team to the gold medal in the European Team Chess Championship in 2009, died in January 2014.
Gashimov became an international master in 1999 and earned the top title of grandmaster in 2002.