Vugar Gashimov memorial tournament underway

By: Nazrin Gadimova

The Shamkir Chess 2014 tournament opened at the Heydar Aliyev Center in Shamkir on April 19.

The opening ceremony, attended by about 150 people, started with a one-minute of silence for Vugar Gashimov, the world-famous Azerbaijani grandmaster who passed away as a result of serious disease. It also featured a short movie about Vugar. Moreover, the tournament presented postage stamp dedicated to the Azerbaijani grandmaster.

The drawing of lots resulted in the following pairings for the first round, which was held on April 20: Carlsen – Mammadyarov, Nakamura – Caruana, Karjakin – Rajabov in A Tournament, and Wojtaszek – Durarbayli, Eljanov – Mammadov, Motylev – Abbasov, Safarli – Huseynov and Wang – Bacrot in B Tournament.

The first symbolic move was made by ​​niece of Vugar Gashimov Narmin Allahverdiyeva.

AzerTag reports the only decisive game in A Tournament was between the Norwegian Magnus Carlsen and Azerbaijani Shahriyar Mammadyarov. The world champion won Mammadyarov, while Russian Sergei Karjakin played a draw with Azerbaijan’s Teymur Rajabov and Hikaru Nakamura played a draw with Fabiano Caruana.

The tournament B games ended in a draw. Thus, Radoslaw Wojtaszek – Vasif Durarbeyli, Paul Elyanov – Rauf Mammadov, Eltaj Safarli – Gadir Huseynov, Wang Hao – Etienne Bacrot and Alexander Motylev – Nijat Abbasov played a draw.

During a press conference after the first round, Carlsen said that he was surprised with the 21th move of the opponent – Ng6, after which Shahriyar got into difficult situation of which he never got out.

Carlsen was asked how he feels in Azerbaijan. “So far everything is good, I can’t say anything more,” the Norwegian champion said.

Money prize of the A tournament, sponsored by “Synergy Group” is 100,000 euros, while the prize fund for this tournament will be 30,000 euros.

Prominent Azerbaijani grandmaster and European Champion of 2009 Vugar Gashimov was known as a strong player in blitz. Together with Teymur Rajabov and Shahriyar Mammadyarov, he was considered one of Azerbaijan’s elite chess players.

After his early successes, Gashimov had to put his activities on hold for a while to have a surgery operation. The 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.

Vugar Gashimov passed away as a result of serious disease on January 11, 2014.