Shak wins Amir Timur Rapid 2016

by Priyadarshan Banjan
10/25/2016 – The Amir Timur Rapid Round Robin Tournament was held from 18th to 21st October at Hotel Miran International in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. The event was a tribute to Amir Timur, a famous conqueror who would be celebrating his 680 birthday. The 12-round quadruple tournament had an average rating of 2726 with elite players Mamedyarov, Gelfand, Ponomariov and local hero Kasimdzhanov making up the field. We have pictures, history lessons, and tactics for you to solve.

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The Amir Timur Rapid Round Robin Tournament  was held to celebrate the 680th birth anniversary of Timur, a Turco-Mongol conqueror and founder of the Timurid Empire in Persia and Central Asia. The Uzbek population holds Timur in high-esteem. He was known as a military genius and a brilliant tactician on the battlefield. For example, read how he captured the city of Delhi from the incumbent Sultans.

Read how he captured the city of Delhi from the incumbent Sultans

A remarkable feature of Timur was — he was lame and was barely capable of running/fighting. He was crippled for life from the age of nine. He also did not belong to any royal lineage. Yet, he managed to build from the scratch an empire that, in modern times, extended from southeastern Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Iran, through Central Asia encompassing part of Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, and even approaches Kashgar in China. Many historians believe that his conquests ended up killing roughly 17 million people.

A Timurid-era illustration of Timur

Tamerlane Chess is a strategy board game invented by Timur according to some sources. It surely developed in his reign and is a derivation of Chaturanga.

Though Mamdyarov was the favorite, his competition was up to the task. In theory.

Timur’s 680thbirth anniversary celebration in Tashkent was a quadruple round robin featuring former World Rapid Champion Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, 2012 World Championship challenger Boris Gelfand, and former FIDE World Champions Ruslan Ponomariov and Rustam Kasimdzhanov. The time control was 15 minutes + 10 seconds per move spread over twelve rounds.

A proud moment for Uzbekistan

Azerbaijan’s Shakhriyar Mamedyarov  had recently won the Tal Memorial Blitz. He won the Amir Timur rapid tournament as well with relative ease, scoring a heavy 8.0/12.

Mamedyarov - Ponomariov

GM Boris Gelfand finally managed to win some games after the five-game losing streak that he suffered in the Tal Memorial 2016. He scored 6.0/12 and finished second.

Ponomariov - Gelfand

Ukrainian GM Ruslan Ponomariov scored 5.0/12…

…as did Uzbek No. 1 Rustam Kasimdzhanov.

It does not matter if he is suffering a rough patch — the ever-affable Boris Gelfand was the centre of attraction for young fans.

Shak’s domination also awed the media

The Chess Federation of Uzbekistan, the Uzbek Ministry of Culture and Sport, the Samarkand branch of Uzbekistan chess, and all the organizers and helpers conducted a beautiful tournament. This surely must have attracted the attention of the people of Uzbekistan and made chess popular.

Of course, the paychecks made the tourney special as well.

Final standings


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Priyadarshan Banjan is a 23-year-old club player from India. He works as an editor for ChessBase News and ChessBase India. He is a chess fanatic and an avid fan of Vishy Anand. He also maintains a blog on a variety of topics.


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