Festivities in Tbilisi for Zurab's fiftieth

by ChessBase
3/27/2010 – Last week GM Zurab Azmaiparashvili, President of the Georgian Chess Federation and Vice President of FIDE, turned fifty. Many dignitaries and old friends turned up for the occasion in the capital Tbilisi – amongst them FIDE President Ilyumzhinov and former World Champion and buddy Garry Kasparov. We bring you a big pictorial report of the birthday celebrations.

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ზურაბ აზმაიფარაშვილი

The above, in the Georgian script, spells Zurab Azmaiparashvili. He is a Georgian grandmaster, born 16 March 1960, and currently the President of the Georgian Chess Federation and an important functionary (Vice President) in FIDE. Zurab received his GM title in 1988, amongst others for a 2810 performance at the 1998 Chess Olympiad and first place finishes at Pavlodar 1982, Moscow 1986, Albena 1986, Tbilisi 1986, London (Lloyds Bank Open) 1989, and in the 2003 European Individual Chess Championship in Istanbul.

Azmaiparashvili has worked with former World Champion Gary Kasparov, and remains a close friend, in spite of both players having supported opposite sides in FIDE elections.

Azmaiparashvili made chess news in 2004 when, at the closing ceremony of the 36th Chess Olympiad in Calviá, he was arrested by local police and subsequently held in custody in a Spanish jail. During the ceremony he had approached the stage, apparently in an attempt to inform FIDE officials that the organizers had neglected to award a prize named in honour of Georgian former Women's World Champion Nona Gaprindashvili. He was stopped by security officials, and a scuffle broke out resulting in injuries both to Azmaiparashvili and a security agent. The full story in graphic detail is available on this ChessBase report. Some of the harrowing pictures from that incident may be seen here, here and here.

Birthday celebration in the Georgian capital of Tblisi

The following pictures were sent to us by Zurab Azmaiparashvili, his son, and Ali Nihat Yazici. Some were take with a cellphone and are a bit grainy. But they do, we hope, communicate the mood of the festivities that were held on Zurab's fiftieth birthday.

Legendary Georgian women players Nona Gaprindashvili, Nino Gurieli, Nana Aleksandria
and Maia Chiburdanidze congratulate Zurab Azmaiparashvili on his 50th birthday

Zurab with his grandchildren Zurab and Mariko

Vice-Presidents of the Azerbaijan Chess Federation, Faik Gasanov and Mair Mamedov,
congratulate Azmaiparashvili and present him a carpet and an ornate dagger

Garry Kasparov congratulates Zurab Azmaiparashvili and presents him his book “How Life Imitates Chess”. From left to right: the Mayor of Tbilisi Gigi Ugulava, Garry Kasparov, Zurab Azmaiparashvili, the President of FIDE and the Republic of Kalmykia Kirsan Ilyumzhinov

The Mayor of Tbilisi Gigi Ugulava with his wife, Garry Kasparov and FIDE President (and the President of the Republic of Kalmykia) Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, Zurab Azmaiparashvili, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia Giga Bokeria, Vice-speaker of the Parliament of Georgia Gigi Tsereteli

The VO and his President: Azmai and Kirsan

At the presentation of the book “Grandmaster of a Little Country” and a short film about Zurab’s professional career held at the Chess Palace. From left to right: FIDE Deputy President, President of the Greek Chess Federation Georgios Makropoulos, President of the Turkish Chess Federation Ali Nihat Yazici, Garry Kasparov, the Deputy President of the Armenian Chess Federation GM Smbat Lputian.

Ali Nihat, Garry and Smbat – in the background Garry's mother Klara Kasparova

Kasparov gets a soccer shirt from Georgia

Old buddies: Zurab Azmaiparashvili and Garry Kasparov

Blowing out fifty candles on the anniversary birthday cake

Zurab Azmaiparashvili on his fiftieth birthday

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