The Gashimov Memorial returns with Anand, Caruana and Karjakin

by André Schulz
12/17/2021 – The 7th edition of the Gashimov Memorial was officially inaugurated today in Baku. The tournament in memory of Vugar Gashimov, who died at an early age, will be contested by eight players — including Vishy Anand, Fabiano Caruana and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. Unlike previous editions, it will be played as a rapid and blitz tournament. The first round will be played on Saturday.

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Rapid and blitz

The 2021 Vugar Gashimov Memorial 2021 will take place on December 18-23 in Baku, Azerbaijan. It is the 7th memorial tournament in memory of Vugar Gashimov (1986-2014), who sadly passed away at an early age after leaving a strong mark in the chess community.

The venue is the Fairmont Baku Flame Towers, the new landmark of the Azerbaijani capital. The luxurious hotel counts with 318 rooms with a view to the Caspian Sea.

The Gashimov Memorial 2021 will be played as a rapid and blitz chess tournament. Eight players, including Vishy Anand, Fabiano Caruana, Sergey Karjakin and Shakriyar Mamedyarov, will participate in the six-day event.

Rapid section

Two-game mini-matches will be played, and the points will be awarded following the next criteria.

  • The winner of the rapid mini-match gets 3 points and the loser gets 0 points. In case of a draw in a mini-match, each player earns 1 point, but an Armageddon game will be played to determine the winner. In Armageddon, the winner is awarded 1 extra point. 

The time control will be 15 minutes for the game plus 10-second increments per move. In Armageddon, White will get 5 minutes and Black will get 4 minutes, with 3-second increments starting after move 60. Black will have draw odds.

Blitz section

A double round-robin with a time control of 5 minutes for the game plus 3-second increments per move.


  • December 18 - Rapid round 1
  • December 19 - Rapid rounds 2 and 3
  • December 20 - Rapid rounds 4 and 5
  • December 21 - Rapid rounds 6 and 7
  • December 22 - Blitz rounds 1-7
  • December 23 - Blitz rounds 8-14

Rounds start daily at 15.00 local time (12.00 CET, 6.00 ET, 16.30 IST).

About Vugar Gashimov

The name Vugar means ‘pride’ in Azerbaijani. Vugar Gashimov could indeed be proud of his successes in individual and team chess competitions.

Vugar Gasim Gashimov was born in Baku on 24 July 1986. He started playing chess at the age of six. His father was a lover of all kinds of board games. In 1995, 1996 and 1998, Gashimov became Azerbaijani Youth Champion in his respective age group. Between 1996 and 2000, he also became European Youth Vice-Champion in his age group four times.

In 1998, he was the youngest International Master in the world. In 1999, as a 13-year-old and one of the youngest participants, he won the Kasparov Cup for the Youth in Moscow. At that time, however, Gashimov was already diagnosed with a brain tumour. He underwent several operations and had to give up tournament chess for some time.

In 2005 Gashimov returned to tournament chess and recorded great successes: in 2006, he won the Abu Dhabi Master; in 2008, he won the Baku Grand Prix, surpassing the 2750 rating mark and joining the world top ten for the first time; in 2009, Gashimov won the European Team Championship with the Azerbaijani team. 

Gashimov had excellent performances in Grand Prix tournaments and twice reached the quarterfinals at the World Cup (2009 and 2011).

At the 2011 European Team Championships, Gashimov won the silver medal with his national team despite a health impairment. His last tournament was the 2012 Tata Steel Masters.

The Azerbaijani team dedicated their victory at the 2013 European Team Championship to their missing teammate. On 11 January 2014, Vugar Gashimov died in a hospital in Heidelberg. He was only 27 years old.


André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.
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lajosarpad lajosarpad 12/18/2021 03:29
Without hope of reaching advanced age, Vüqar Həşimov fought fiercely over the board to achieve individual and national success. He was also a great person off the board as far as I know. An absolutely great human being.
mehmet17 mehmet17 12/18/2021 10:56
Indeed he was not only a top class player, but also a very nice guy. I am sure the closest to him miss him a lot.
Daniel Quigley Daniel Quigley 12/18/2021 10:09
I think one of the aspects of Gashimov's chess I appreciate the most is his surprisingly strong retreats to the first rank. It's a trait he shared with Karpov.

[Event "World Blitz Championship"]
[Site "Moscow RUS"]
[Date "2009.11.16"]
[EventDate "2009.11.16"]
[Round "3"]
[Result "1-0"]
[White "Vugar Gashimov"]
[Black "Magnus Carlsen"]
[ECO "B25"]
[WhiteElo "2758"]
[BlackElo "2801"]
[PlyCount "144"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. Nf3 g6 4. d4 cxd4 5. Nxd4 Bg7 6. Be3
Nf6 7. Bc4 O-O 8. Bb3 d6 9. h3 Bd7 10. O-O Qa5 11. Re1 Rfe8
12. Qe2 Rac8 13. Rad1 Nxd4 14. Bxd4 Bc6 15. Nd5 Nd7 16. Bxg7
Kxg7 17. Qe3 Nc5 18. Qd4+ e5 19. Qe3 Nxb3 20. axb3 Bxd5
21. Rxd5 Qa2 22. Qc1 Rc6 23. b4 b6 24. c3 a5 25. b5 Rc5
26. Red1 Qc4 27. Rxd6 Rxb5 28. Qg5 Rc5 29. Qf6+ Kg8 30. Rd8
Rc8 31. Rxe8+ Rxe8 32. Qxb6 Qxe4 33. Qxa5 Qc2 34. Qa1 Kg7
35. b4 Rc8 36. Rc1 Qb3 37. c4 Qxb4 38. Qxe5+ Kg8 39. c5 Qb5
40. Qd5 Kg7 41. Qd6 Qc6 42. Qd4+ Kg8 43. h4 h5 44. Kh2 Qc7+
45. g3 Qc6 46. Rc3 Re8 47. Re3 Rc8 48. Re5 Qc7 49. Rd5 Re8
50. Rd6 Rc8 51. c6 Qa5 52. Qf6 Qf5 53. Rd8+ Rxd8 54. Qxd8+ Kh7
55. Qd4 Qc2 56. Qf6 Qc4 57. Qd6 Qc2 58. Kg1 Qb1+ 59. Kh2 Qc2
60. Qf6 Qc4 61. Kg2 Qd5+ 62. Qf3 Qc4 63. Kg1 Qc1+ 64. Kh2 Qc4
65. Qf6 Kg8 66. Qd8+ Kg7 67. c7 Qc5 68. Kg2 Qc6+ 69. Kf1 Qc1+
70. Ke2 Qc2+ 71. Ke3 Qc3+ 72. Ke4 Qc6+ 1-0
Frederic Frederic 12/18/2021 09:09
This is heartbreaking -- all over again. I had such a good and cheerful time with Vugar, the last time we met. He was kind, cheerful and humorous. Later I learned that he had had a terminal ailment, and knew about it...
ulyssesganesh ulyssesganesh 12/18/2021 04:29
Gashimov lives forever in our memories ... thanks to this tmt.,
Minnesota Fats Minnesota Fats 12/17/2021 10:22
@Frederic, it just seems like really recently, but almost 8 years have passed. Time flies!
His face was so friendly when looking at him on photo's.
Frederic Frederic 12/17/2021 10:07
Wakes fond memories. Vüqar Həşimov was a great guy and a great friend: Ask his girlfriend Elisabeth W:
Minnesota Fats Minnesota Fats 12/17/2021 08:34
Baku, the cradle of super GM's.