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Shamkir Chess 2015 to host top grandmasters

9 April 2015 16:00 (UTC+04:00)
Shamkir Chess 2015 to host top grandmasters

By Amina Nazarli

Shamkir Chess 2015, an international tournament devoted to Azerbaijan's late grandmaster Vugar Gashimov will be held in Azerbaijan’s region of Shamkir.

Organized by Synergy Group, the sport event will run from April 16 to 26 at the Shamkir’s Heydar Aliyev Centre and host many prominent chess masters.

The names of all players partaking in this prestigious tournament have already been approved. Current world champion, Magnus Carlsen (Norway, 2863), former world champion Viswanathan Anand (India, 2791), Vladimir Kramnik (Russia, 2783) will compete in the tournament in Azerbaijan, as well as 2nd in FIDE ratings Fabiano Caruana (Italy, 2802), Anish Giri (Netherlands, 2790), Wesley So (USA, 2788), Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (France, 2716), Azerbaijani European champions Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (13 in FIDE ratings, 2756), Teymur Radjabov (20th, 2738) and the last winner of Azerbaijan Championship Rauf Mamedov (92th, 2658) will take part in the tournament.

The fund price of the 10-day tournament organized to honor the memory of Vugar Hashimov and support the development of chess in Azerbaijan will be €100,000.

Fakhriyar Jabbarov, the first vice chairman of the Synergy Group’s executive board and chairman of the Shamkir Chess 2015 Organizing Committee stated the tournament is one of the most prestigious international tournaments that contributes to the development of intellectual games and chess in Azerbaijan.

“Chess lovers will get a chance to watch the live games of leading chess players like Magnus Karlsen, Viswanathan Anand and Vladimir Kramnik. This is not just a chess tournament, because Azerbaijan will turn to a world chess center during the 10-day competition of leading chess stars,” he said.

The first Shamkir Chess tournament was held in 2014, with the triumph of the reigning World Champion from Norway, Magnus Carlsen, who won the money prize provided by Synergy Group - €100,000.

Born in Baku in 1986, Vugar Gashimov was taught to play chess by his father at the age of six. He became Azerbaijan's champion three times: in 1995, 1996, and 1998. He was also the silver medalist of the European youth championship four times (1996-2000).

The Azerbaijani grandmaster played for Azerbaijan's national team in the Chess Olympiads in 2002, 2004, 2006, and 2008, and was a member of the Azerbaijani team that played against the world team in Baku in the Cup of the Azerbaijani President of Azerbaijan on May 7-9, 2009.

Gashimov won a bronze medal in the European Team Championship in 2007, and became the European Champion with the national team in 2009 (it was Vugar who provided his team with a decisive point in the final round). He also became the European vice-champion in the national team in 2011, and the winner of the Reggio Emilia tournament in 2010-2011.

After his early successes, Gashimov had to put his activities on hold for a while and have surgery. In 2011 his health took a fatal downturn and he suddenly lost consciousness during a match against the French national team in the European Championship. Following a long-term treatment in Switzerland and Germany he failed to recover and finally succumb to the disease in early 2014.


Amina Nazarli is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @amina_nazarli

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