GM Vugar Gashimov, 1986 – 2014

by Frederic Friedel
1/11/2014 – Vugar Gashimov was one of the leading chess players of Azerbaijan, playing for his country in four Chess Olympiads, as well as winning gold for the Azeri team at the European Team Championship 2009. During the past decade he suffered from a brain tumor and, during treatment for this in a hospital in Germany, Vugar Gashmimov died on the night of 10-11 January 2014. He was just 27. | Photo: Nadja Wittman / ChessBase

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Vugar Gashimov, 1986 – 2014

Vugar Gashimov (Azerbaijani: Vüqar Həşimov), born July 24, 1986, in Baku, was one of the leading chess players of his country. He was also a noted blitz specialist. Vugar won the Athens 2005 Acropolis International and the Cappelle-la-Grande open 2008.

Reggio 2013

Reggio Emilia 2010/11: Fabiano Caruana, Nigel Short, Alexander Onischuk, Vugar Gashimov, Vallejo Pons (standing behind WGM Martha Fierro), and Ivanchuk, with the tournament staff below

In 2010/11 he won Reggio Emilia and won the event on tie-break. Here are three annotated games from that event:

Select games from the dropdown menu above the board

In 2010, Gashimov beat Magnus Carlsen in their round seven blindfold game at the Amber Chess Tournament. A year later Magnus got his revenge with a typical win in a theoretically drawn queen ending — GM Karsten Müller analysed the game extensively.

Gashimov played for Azerbaijan in the Chess Olympiads of 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2008. He played in the gold medal-winning Azerbaijani team at the European Team Chess Championship in Novi Sad in 2009, alongside Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Teimour Radjabov, Rauf Mammadov and Gadir Guseinov. He previously won bronze medal (in 2007). In 2010 he did not represent his country at the Chess Olympiad in Khanty-Mansiysk, due to a conflict with the national chess federation.

At the Champions' Dinner during the Mainz Chess Classic, we gave a remarkably difficult puzzle to a number of top players, including Vugar and his brother Sarkhan. Guess who solved the puzzle. The one who was weaker at over-the-board chess, by almost 400 Elo points!

Sarkhan and Vugar Gashimov

Sarkhan Gashimov

Sarkhan Gashimov, the older brother and manager of GM Vugar Gashimov, is a project manager of Hewlett-Packard in Azerbaijan. He is also a strong chess player. Exactly two years ago he won the Donostia Blitz tournament, ahead of a bevy of strong GMs (Granda, Vachier-Lagrave, van Wely, Naiditsch, Cheparinov, Moiseenko).

When Vugar Gashimov fell ill in February 2000, doctors diagnosed epilepsy. Subsequently, a brain tumour was found, and while receiving treatment for this in a hospital in Heidelberg, Germany, Gashmimov died on the night of January 10-11, 2014.


Editor-in-Chief emeritus of the ChessBase News page. Studied Philosophy and Linguistics at the University of Hamburg and Oxford, graduating with a thesis on speech act theory and moral language. He started a university career but switched to science journalism, producing documentaries for German TV. In 1986 he co-founded ChessBase.


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