By Laman Ismayilova
National chess players will compete at European Cup on March 27-31.
Members of the Vugar Hashimov club, including Rauf Mammadov, Vugar Asadli, Aydin Suleymanli, Ahmad Ahmadzade, Ulvi Sadigov will take part in the virtual chess tournament.
The captain of the team will be FIDE coach Anar Allahverdiyev.
It should be noted that the team that will take part in the continental cup will consist of 4 main and two reserve players. Their average rating should not be less than 2000.
The chess players will compete in the qualifying round on March 27-28 and in the playoffs on March 29. The finals will take place on March 30-31.
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.
He won the World Junior Chess Championship in 2003 and repeated his victory in 2005, becoming the only two-time champion, achieving a 2,953 performance rating after eight rounds. After winning the Essent Tournament in 2006, Shahriyar achieved world fame.
In June 2016, Mammadyarov won the 3rd Shamkir Chess Tournament, the Vugar Hashimov 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.
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 in Porto Carras in 2011 alongside Shahriyar Mammadyarov, Teymur Rajabov, Vugar Hashimov and Qadir Huseynov, previously winning a bronze medal in 2007 and gold in 2009.
Teymur Rajabov has 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.
He also won the European Team Chess Championship with Azerbaijan in 2009, 2013 and 2017. His major individual achievements include joint first place at 2008 Elista Grand Prix, 2017 Geneva Grand Prix and 2019 FIDE World Cup.
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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