Gashimov Memorial: Abasov beats Gelfand and Rapport, leads

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
12/9/2023 – The first three rounds of rapid chess at the Gashimov Memorial ended with Nijat Abasov as the sole leader in the standings. Abasov, who is likely to play in the Candidates Tournament next year, beat Boris Gelfand and Richard Rapport in consecutive rounds to finish the day with 5/6 points (wins are worth 2 points in the rapid section). Sharing second place on 4/6 scores are Vidit Gujrathi, Arjun Erigaisi and Rauf Mamedov. | Photo: Official website

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Current and former Candidates

The organizers of the Vugar Gashimov Memorial put together a very attractive lineup for the ninth edition of the event. A 10-player rapid and blitz tournament, the contest includes four former World Championship Candidates and two players who are set to participate in the next edition of the prelude to the match for the crown in Toronto.

As for the former Candidates, the lineup includes Boris Gelfand (who played a Candidates Tournament for the first time in 1991), Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (who had his last participation in 2018), Teimour Radjabov and Richard Rapport (who both played at the latest edition in Madrid 2022).

Joining them are Vidit Gujrathi, who qualified to the 2024 edition by spectacularly winning the FIDE Grand Swiss a month ago, and Nijat Abasov, who is likely to play in the 8-player event after finishing fourth in the FIDE World Cup — the 28-year-old from Baku will be confirmed as a participant if Magnus Carlsen withdraws from the competition, as he has announced repeatedly.

The competition features three days of rapid chess — with wins worth 2 points and draws worth 1 point — and a day of blitz. After the first day of action, Abasov emerged as the sole leader, as he first drew Jorden van Foreest and then collected back-to-back victories over Rapport and Gelfand, respectively.

Sharing second place with 4/6 points are Vidit, Arjun Erigaisi and Rauf Mamedov.

Vidit Gujrathi

Vidit Gujrathi

Rapport 0 - 1 Abasov

Analysis by GM Karsten Müller

Richard Rapport, Nijat Abasov

Richard Rapport and Nijat Abasov

Abasov 1 - 0 Gelfand

Analysis by GM Karsten Müller

Standings after round 3 (win = 2 pts; draw = 1 pt)

All games

More about Vugar Gashimov


Carlos Colodro is a Hispanic Philologist from Bolivia. He works as a freelance translator and writer since 2012. A lot of his work is done in chess-related texts, as the game is one of his biggest interests, along with literature and music.