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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