Another look at Nahkchivan

by ChessBase
7/3/2003 – GM Dorian Rogozenko has spent some time in the Azerbaijan exclave of Nakhchivan. He was there as a trainer of one of the participants of the World Junior Championship. In his Thursday lecture on our server Dorian will show some interesting fragments from the tournament. In the meantime here is his second report.

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GM Dorian Rogozenko's lecture on the server begins on Thursday, July 3, at 21.00h CET (20:00h London, 2 p.m. New York). He will showinteresting fragments from the World Junior Championship, especially from the most intriguing last rounds towards the end.

Another look at Nakhchivan

By Dorian Rogozenko

Having received a positive feedback after the publication of my previous report from the World Junior Championship, I noticed that people are really interested in finding out more information about history, culture and geography of foreign countries, especially when we are talking about such a land as Azerbaijan.

The data from my last report was mainly based on the discussions with local people; today I am going to give some very exact info about Nakhchyvan (this is the correct spelling in English).

The "island" I was talking about last time, which is isolated from the main Azerbaijan territory, is called Nakhchyvan Autonomous Republic. The population here is 350,266 inhabitants (1998). The World Junior Championship is held in the capital of Nakhchyvan Autonomous Republic – the city of Nakhchyvan, with a population of 67523 (1998). The exact distance between Nakhchyvan and Baku (the capital of Azerbaijan) is 536 km.

The Nakhchyvan Autonomous Republic is a typical mountainous country. 32% of its territory (plains along the Araz river) is situated on 600-1000 meters above the sea level, 48% up to 2000 meters and 20% above 2000 meters height from the sea level. It is the most ancient Azerbaijan land with multi-centuries history and rich material-cultural monuments.

Nakhchyvan is one of the most famous and ancient cities in the Near East. It is more than 3500 years old. The latest research discovered that the word Nakhchyvan was derived from the word "Nahhunte" in Elam language. Scientific research has uncovered evidence of buildings of Nakhchyvan city that date back to 1539 B.C.

Throughout the history many Emperors have attacked Nakhchyvan, which was the cultural and industrial center of the region. Finally after the II Russian-Iran War (1826-1828) the territory was annexed to Russia.

After 1917 February-bourgeois revolution, there was held a Congress of Caucasus Moslems on April 15 of the same year in Baku, and it was resolved after long disputes, to set up a Territorial Federation.

On May 28 1918 Azerbaijan Peoples Republic was declared and Turkey immediately recognized its government. However, given the instability of domestic situation in Turkey, Russians invaded Azerbaijan in April, 1920. Azerbaijan became a part of Soviet Union – Azerbaijan Soviet Socialistic Republic. The territory of Nakhchyvan Autonomous Republic according to the Moscow agreement from 16 March 1921 and Gars agreement from 13 October 1921 was determined as a component of Azerbaijan SSR.

At the end of 1980 the fall process of the former USSR resulted in re-inflammation of Garabagh events and conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenian people at the end of 1980. However, leaving this hot and contradictory subject aside, I just want to mention that at the present time the relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan are still very tensioned.

The national pride of Azerbaijani people is easy to notice. For Western people some things will certainly seem unusual though, such as lots of national flags and even more portraits of the President of Azerbaijan Mr. Haydar Aliyev. For instance there are Haydar Aliev Park or even Haydar Aliev Museum. However, as mentioned in my previous report the good will of local people is very impressive. I have seen such a respectable attitude towards chess players only during the Chess Olympiad in Elista, 1998.

Returning to the World Junior Championship, the atmosphere between players is great. The evening before the rest day many participants were at a discotheque; during the rest day there were nice sightseeing trips, while afternoon a football tournament with teams formed from participants and even arbiters was organized. An interesting moment for a better picture about the specific situation here. In the night if some player from the disco wanted to go out for a walk, security guys would stop him or her. The reason given was that we are not allowed to go out into the city on our own. After a long discussion with the chief security man in order to understand why we can't go out, he said "ok, we cannot forbid you, but if you want to go, then I must know when and where you go". The desire to go out vanished...

After the rest day some problems started to appear. In the hotel there were some strange incidents. But the biggest disappointment is that the Dutch IM Jan Werle got a bad form of food poisoning and had to withdraw from the tournament. The medical assistance and the organizers did everything in order to help Jan and make him feel better again, but after a long consideration we decided that there is no point to continue the tournament while being ill (I am Jan's coach here).

This was a very painful, all the more that Jan was doing very okay in the tournament. Already in the 7th round, when playing against GM Azarov, Jan complained of having bad problems with his stomach. During the round he got some pills, but because of the bad shape he couldn't bring the game to a logical finish, making a draw in a completely winning position with a piece up. In round 8 (having 4,5 out of 7) Werle was unable to play at all; after 1,5 hours of moving pieces he resigned and we went immediately to the hospital. The diagnostics were contradictory (several specialists consulted him). It makes no sense to bring here all diagnostics I have heard in several hours, when being in two hospitals. The fact is that Jan Werle felt so bad that soon it became clear that he couldn't finish the tournament.

Because of this incident I didn't even feel like sending this report at all, but it was written already before all this happened, so here it is.

Standings in the boy's section after 12 rounds:
1. Mamedyarov, Shakhriyaz g AZE 2607 9.5; 2. Azarov, Sergei g BLR 2530 9.0; 3. Gashimov, Vugar g AZE 2579 8.0; 4. Erenburg, Sergey m ISR 2499 8.0; 5. Bachin, Vitaly m RUS 2443 8.0; 6. Zubov, Alexander m UKR 2494 7.5; 7. Ganguly, Surya Shekhar g IND 2542 7.5; 8. Guseinov, Kadir g AZE 2505 7.5; 9. Harikrishna, P g IND 2563 7.5; 10. Pantsulaia, Levan m GEO 2465 7.5; 11. Rohit, G IND 2357 7.5; 12. Mastrovasilis, Dimitrios m GRE 2456 7.0; 13. Kritz, Leonid m GER 2468 7.0; 14. Kanep, Meelis m EST 2446 7.0; 50 players.

Girls section after 10 rounds:
1. Dzagnidze, Nana wm GEO 2376 9.0; 2. Ubiennykh, Ekaterina wf RUS 2293 7.0; 3. Harika, Dronavalli wf IND 2294 6.5; 4. Mamedjarova, Zeinab wg AZE 2298 6.5; 5. Calotescu, Cristina wm ROM 2334 6.5; 6. Sachdev, Tania wm IND 2245 6.5; 7. Karavade, Eesha IND 2199 6.0; 8. Shukurova, Meihriban wm AZE 2250 6.0; 9. Sergeeva, Maria wg KAZ 2340 5.5; 10. Topel, Zehra wf TUR 2092 5.5; 11. Rzaeva,Lyaman AZE 0 5.5; 28 players.

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