Gashimov R01: Opening ceremony, B-Group

by Sagar Shah
4/21/2014 – The Gashimov Memorial tournament began with a visit to the beautiful marble grave of the great Vugar Gashimov. At the opening ceremony many people spoke about their friend, who very tragically passed away in January this year at the age of 27. We have reported already on the A-Group. The first round of the B section saw five fighting draws. Big pictorial with game summaries.

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The Vugar Gashimov Memorial, is being held in Shamkir, Azerbaijan, from the 20th to 30th of April, in memory of the great Vugar Gashimov, who passed away on the 10th of January 2014. The tournament is divided into two groups. The A Group features six players: World Champion Magnus Carlsen (2881), Fabiano Caruana (2783), Sergey Karjakin (2772), Hikaru Nakamura (2772), and the two Azeri players Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (2760) and Teimour Radjabov (2713). The B group consists of ten players, the top five seeds from various countries and the bottom five are all from Azerbaijan.

Vugar's grave

The event started on Friday with a visit by the players to Vugar Gashimov's final resting place

The grave itself is chess themed in brown and grey marble

There is a list of tournament successes by Vugar engraved in the wall behind the grave. The giant chess board shows the final position of the game Gashimov-Stellwagen, which decided the 2009 European Championship in Azerbaijan's favor. Watch the wonderful celebration of Vugar's victory in this Europe Echecs video – and try to keep a dry eye while doing so:

The opening ceremony

This took place on Saturday at the Heydar Aliyev Center in Shamkir, Azerbaijan, and started with touching movie about Vugar Gashimov, for whom this tournament is a memorial. A number of honorable guests, including the Mayor of Shamkir, the Deputy Minister of Youth and Sport and the Vice President of the Azerbaijan Chess Federation, paid respect to Vugar's memory with speeches.

Vugar's father spoke to the 150 guests at the opening ceremony, addressing them as "dear good friends of Vugar, because that is what you are since you have come here”. He spoke proudly about how much his son had achieved in the short life he was given.

One of Vugar's friends and former coach, Viorel Iordachescu, also gave a personal and emotional speech. “My collaboration and friendship with Vugar was the happiest period of my life. With the loss of Vugar I lost a part of me.”

The drawing of lots was performed by Chief Arbiter Faik Gasanov. The players had to choose a small trophy, and at the bottom they found their lot number. Top seed Magnus Carlsen was first on stage, and he picked number one, which means he starts with two whites.

The ceremony finished with a dance performance

Round one: fighting draws in Group B

All the games of the B group ended in draws. However all the games showcased fighting chess, and as many as three games out of five witnessed exchange sacrifices by the black side. While two of the exchange sacrifices were purely defensive and helped Black equalise, Bacrot’s was more ambitious and he tried to play for an advantage.

Radoslaw Wojtaszek-Vasif Durarbayli ½-½
The Russian System in the Grunfeld Defense was played. Wojtaszek (picture above) chose a safe line as White, which was played by another one of Anand’s second Sandipan Chanda. The position has a slight edge for White because of the outside passed pawn on c5. However, it didn’t seem enough for a win. At the right moment the young Azeri player gave up an exchange for the c5 pawn and reached a dead drawn position. Quite a good effort by Vasif Durarbayli.

Eltaj Safarli-Gadir Guseinov ½-½
Guseinov (above left) has established himself as one of the experts when it comes to playing the Accelerated Dragon. So when Eltaj (right) played 1.e4 it can be assumed that he had to come well prepared for his opponent. They followed Gadir’s previous game for almost 28 moves. However Eltaj had prepared nothing special. Gadir, who was an exchange down, had excellent compensation and easily made a draw. Great faith in preparation by Guseinov and not a very successful outing for the young and ambitious Eltaj.

Pavel Eljanov-Rauf Mamedov ½-½
It was good news for Budapest Gambit aficionados. Mamedov played it against Pavel Eljanov, who is considered quite solid when it comes to opening preparation. This risk-taking strategy turned out to be a great choice as Black equalised in the opening and even had a better position in the middlegame. Not even for a move did White have an inkling of an advantage. Mamedov should be happy with the way things went in the opening and we can expect more such exciting choices from this Azerbaijani player!

Alexander Motylev-Nijat Abasov ½-½
A lot was expected from Alexander Motylev. After all he is the recent European Champion and in great form. Besides he was playing the bottom seed, the very young and talented Nidjat Abasov (above). He played 5…Nd4 in the Anti Berlin line. White was unable to show any concrete preparation and the game was equalised with ease. It was one of those games which lasted very long, 75 moves to be precise, but the evaluation never really fluctuated from being equal. Motylev must be a little upset with this game in which he wasn’t able to pose any problems for his opponent.

Wang Hao – Etienne Bacrot ½-½
In this encounter between the top and the third seed Wang Hao played a queens pawn opening and Bacrot responded with the King’s Indian Defense. The Fiachetto Variation was reached from the h3 variation, and that is supposed to give White a very solid position in this messy opening. But it was not to be. Black got loads of counterplay, and with aggressive moves like f5 and b5 Black blasted the white centre. Bacrot even sacrificed his a8 rook to get a central majority and two bishops. It was beyond doubt that Black was better. But Bacrot started playing carelessly it seems. He pushed his pawns in such a way that it allowed Wang to exchange one of the black bishops. Once that was done the position was stabilized and a draw was agreed. A very exciting battle.

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Schedule and results

Round 1 – 20.04.14
Wojtaszek
½-½
Durarbayli
Eljanov
½-½
Mamedov
Motylev
½-½
Abasov
Safarli
½-½
Huseinov
Wang Hao
½-½
Bacrot
Round 3 – 22.04.14
Eljanov
-
Durarbayli
Motylev
-
Wojtaszek
Safarli
-
Mamedov
Wang Hao
-
Abasov
Bacrot
-
Huseinov
Round 5 – 24.04.14
Motylev
-
Durarbayli
Safarli
-
Eljanov
Wang Hao
-
Wojtaszek
Bacrot
-
Mamedov
Huseinov
 
Abasov
Round 7 – 27.04.14
Safarli
-
Durarbayli
Wang Hao
-
Motylev
Bacrot
-
Eljanov
Huseinov
-
Wojtaszek
Abasov
-
Mamedov
Round 9 – 29.04.14
Wang Hao
-
Durarbayli
Bacrot
-
Safarli
Huseinov
-
Motylev
Abasov
-
Eljanov
Mamedov
-
Wojtaszek
 
Round 2 – 21.04.14
Durarbayli
-
Bacrot
Huseinov
-
Wang Hao
Abasov
-
Safarli
Mamedov
-
Motylev
Wojtaszek
-
Eljanov
Round 4 – 23.04.14
Durarbayli
-
Huseinov
Abasov
-
Bacrot
Mamedov
-
Wang Hao
Wojtaszek
-
Safarli
Eljanov
-
Motylev
Round 6 – 26.04.14
Durarbayli
-
Abasov
Mamedov
-
Huseinov
Wojtaszek
-
Bacrot
Eljanov
-
Wang Hao
Motylev
-
Safarli
Round 8 – 28.04.14
Durarbayli
-
Mamedov
Wojtaszek
-
Abasov
Eljanov
-
Huseinov
Motylev
-
Bacrot
Safarli
-
Wang Hao

Links

The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.



Sagar is an International Master from India with two GM norms. He is also a chartered accountant and would like to become the first CA+GM of India. He loves to cover chess tournaments, as that helps him understand and improve at the game he loves so much. He is the co-founder of the ChessBase India website.
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