Gashimov Memorial: 18-year-old Suleymanli wins rapid section

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
12/11/2023 – The youngest and lowest-rated participant prevailed in the rapid section of the Gashimov Memorial. 18-year-old Aydin Suleymanli played fearlessly on day 3 of the rapid to collect two wins and a loss, and go into Monday’s 18 rounds of blitz as the sole leader in Gabala. Sharing second place, one point behind, are Vidit Gujrathi, Arjun Erigaisi and the top scorer in the final three rounds of rapid, Jorden van Foreest. | Photos: Official website

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Fortune favours the brave

Aydin Suleymanli, both the youngest and the lowest-rated player in the field of the Gashimov Memorial, scored five wins and two draws throughout the nine rounds of rapid chess to go into the blitz section as the sole leader of the event. On day 3, Suleymanli beat former co-leaders Nijat Abasov and Arjun Erigaisi and lost to Vidit Gujrathi to finish the rapid section with 11/18 points (a win is worth 2 points in the rapid).

Three players are sharing second place: Arjun, Vidit and Jorden van Foreest. The latter was the top scorer on Sunday, as he grabbed wins over Richard Rapport and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov besides holding Boris Gelfand to a draw with the black pieces.

The final day of action will see the ten participants playing 18 rounds of blitz (time control: 3 minutes plus 2-second increments) to decide the winner of the event. In the blitz section, the normal scoring system, with 1 point for a win and ½ point for a draw, will be in place.

Surely stamina will play a role in the blitz marathon, which might favour the younger players in the field. The risky approach used by Suleymanli throughout the rapid section might easily backfire, though, as the highest-rated participants in the field certainly know how to punish a tilted player in games with quick time controls.

Nijat Abasov

Nijat Abasov signing autographs

Van Foreest 0 - 1 Mamedov (Round 4)

Analysis by GM Karsten Müller

Vugar Gashimov Memorial 2023

The playing hall

Final standings - Rapid (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.