By Laman Ismayilova
The Shamkir Chess 2019 international tournament commemorating Azerbaijani grandmaster and European champion Vugar Hashimov has solemnly opened the Heydar Aliyev Center in Shamkir.
Prior to the opening ceremony, the event participants watched a documentary on Vugar Hashimov, Azertag reported.
The head of the Shamkir District Executive Authority Alimpasha Mammadov, Minister of Youth and Sports Azad Rahimov, SOCAR vice-president Khalig Mammadov, Vice-President of the World Chess Federation and Chairman of the Shamkir Chess 2019 Organizing Committee Mahir Mammadov and Vice-President of the Azerbaijan Chess Federation Faig Hasanov attended the event.
The evening continued with a fascinatining concert program.
Co-organized by the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR), the Ministry of Youth and Sports of Azerbaijan, the Azerbaijan Chess Federation and Synergy Group, the tournament will last until April 9.
Ten grandmasters will contest medals at the Shamkir Chess 2019 international tournament.
At the Memorial of Vugar Hashimov, Azerbaijan will be represented by three-time European champion, double winner of Shamkir Chess Shahriyar Mammadyarov (2790), bronze medalist of the world championship Teymur Rajabov (2756).
The tournament’s participants also include Magnus Carlsen (Norway), , Ding Liren (China), Alexander Grischuk (Russia), Sergey Karjakin (Russia), Anish Giri (Netherlands), Viswanathan Anand (India), Veselin Topalov (Bulgaria) and David Navara (Czech Republic).
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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