The Georgy Agzamov Memorial Tournament, Edition 2

by ChessBase
4/4/2008 – Once a year there is a memorial tournament in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, for Georgy Agzamov, a well-loved player who died at the age of 32 when he fell off a mountain. This year’s tournament saw a total of 73 players from nine countries. And a ladies' tournament where in some cases you had a tough time guessing which is the mother and which the daughter. Splendid pictorial by Jamshid Begmatov.

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The Georgy Agzamov Memorial Tournament , Edition 2

Report from Tashkent by Jamshid Begmatov

Agzamov Who?

Georgy Agzamov was the first ever Uzbek grandmaster of chess. Not only was he a very strong player, nicknamed “the nightmare of top GMs” in the Soviet Union, he also did a lot to promote chess in his native Uzbekistan and beyond, in such remote locations as Cuba, United Arab Emirates, India and many other countries, where he worked or volunteered as a chess coach and tournament organizer.

In his short career, Agzamov won several major international tournaments, such as Belgrade (1982), Vršac (1983), Sochi (1984). He studied the English language and literature at the university. At the age of only 32, the Grandmaster tragically died in the Crimean resort of Sevastopol – while on a mountain outing, he stumbled and fell down the gorge. I never met Georgy Agzamov in person, but I know many chess and non-chess people from his milieu. Everybody describes him as a reliable, hearty, open-minded, generous and magnanimous person.

Georgy Agzamov in a game against Mikhail Tal...

... and against Tigran Petrosian

I received some critical feedback from readers, especially from the Philippines, for my previous Agzamov Memorial report where I wrote “…I didn’t follow this up, but some still argue that this was the first time the [grandmaster] title was awarded to a player from Asia.” Nigel Short said to me jokingly, while chatting on the Playchess server: “Eugenio Torre isn’t going to be too excited about your argument of first Asian GM…” ChessBase went on to correct me: “a number of readers have pointed out that the Philippines was able to produce two grandmasters in the 70’s: Eugenio Torre (1974) and Rosendo Balinas (1976).” I wish to officially apologize for my error – a big mea culpa here.

Annual Georgy Agzamov memorials are the tribute the Uzbek Chess Federation and the entire country pay to the memory of this wonderful person. The second Memorial was held in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, between 18th and 28th March. The Uzbek Chess Federation, under the patronage and sponsorship of the Uzbek Agency for Communication and Information, and Beeline – the daughter mobile operator of Russia’s ICT giant VympelCom – has been able to strengthen the pool and increase the prize fund from last year’s 10,000 USD to 12.5 thousand.

At the opening ceremony: President of Uzbek Chess Federation Mr. Abdulla Aripov (left) and President of VympelCom Uzbekistan Victor Pilyugin looking through Rustam Kasimjanov’s new book "The Magic World of Chess"

This is a chess book for children, in Russian, soon to be published in Uzbek, which the Federation will distribute to all schools free of charge

The venue, the Tashkent Chess Club, has a long history and hosted many important tournaments of the former USSR. The area in front is sometimes used as parking for municipal machinery, as was the case during the first days of the tournament. Why I am showing you this? If we zoom in...

…we see that one of the vehicles took part in the 2004 Paris-Dakar Rally?! The truck is now used to collect garbage in Tashkent. But the world is going crazy: the 2008 Paris-Dakar was canceled for fears of terrorist attacks.

The club is located nearby the picturesque river Anhor where you will often see a lonely fisherman, in the middle of Tashkent, a 2.5 million soul megapolis…

…or a coypu enjoying still waters of the river.

This year’s tournament saw a total of 73 players from nine countries. Top players included Farrukh Amonatov, Tajikistan, Elo 2649; Alexey Fyodorov, Byelorussia, 2607; Igor Kurnosov, Russia, 2577; Igor Glek, Germany 2546, veteran Vitaly Tseshkovsky, Russia, 2504, Yury Vovk, 2561 and Georgy Timoshenko, 2560 from Ukraine, and many other strong names.

No. Name NAT Elo
1 Amonatov, Farrukh TJK 2649
52.5 40.25 2692
2 Filippov, Anton UZB 2502
44.5 33.75 2581
3 Tseshkovsky, Vitaly RUS 2504
44 33.25 2574
4 Kurnosov, Igor RUS 2577
51.5 35 2610
5 Iuldachev, Saidali UZB 2526
50.5 34.25 2598
6 Kim, Alexey KOR 2442
47.5 30.75 2505
7 Mustafaev, Jamshid UZB 2286
44.5 30.25 2606
8 Zinchenko, Yaroslav UKR 2516
50.5 31.5 2564
9 Saidov, Beqali UZB 2329
48 30.25 2502
10 Dzhumaev, Marat UZB 2527
46.5 30 2411
11 Egin, Vladimir UZB 2437
45 28.25 2421
12 Kvon, Andrey UZB 2381
44.5 27.75 2508
13 Faizulaev, Akmal UZB 2239
38.5 24.5 2349
14 Timoshenko, Georgy UKR 2560
53 30.5 2516
15 Fedorov, Alexei BLR 2607
51 29.25 2441
16 Vovk, Yuri UKR 2561
50 29.25 2476
17 Zubarev, Alexander UKR 2491
49.5 27.25 2458
18 Glek, Igor V. GER 2546
49 26.75 2379
19 Kayumov, Sergey UZB 2426
45 23.25 2360
20 Mustafaev, Khurshed UZB 2299
43 24.5 2337
21 Rakhmatullin, Kamil UZB 2320
41.5 23.5 2347
22 Galyamov, Vildan UZB 2269
38 20.75 2343
23 Shaymuratov, Inomjon UZB 2188
36 19.75 2341

Top seed and winner: GM Farrukh Amonatov, Tajikistan, Elo 2649

I found Farrukh to be a very lively and open-minded person. While he smiles most of the time, he will get uneasy during the game, especially if he has a tough position. Farrukh took shared first place with the best Buchholz.

Our very own GM Saidali Yuldashev who in the year 2004 took ChessBase readers on a spectacular game of chess. Saidali was fighting for clear first place until round eight, when he lost to top seed Amonatov.

Viacheslav, the older brother of Georgy Agzamov, to whom this tournament is dedicated. He is not an Internet habitué, so I promised to print and send him this report.

The President of the Kazakhstan Chess Federation and Chief Arbiter of the tournament, Bulat Asanov

Andrean Mirzaakhmedov, responsible for the tournament logistics

GM Igor Kurnosov, Russia, Elo 2577

From IM to GM – Anton Filippov interviewed on TV

Anton shared first with 5 wins, 4 draws, not a single loss. He started the event as an IM and finished as a GM as he received his Grandmaster certificate from FIDE on the last day of the tournament.

Veteran Vitaly Tseshkovsky, Russia, Elo 2504. He should be praised for his fighting and uncompromising chess at his age. The pay-off came in the form of shared first place, ahead of many younger GMs.

Very well educated, well-mannered, speaks cute English: IM Sergey Kayumov, in the company of his beautiful wife Julia. This tournament didn’t go too well for Sergey though.

One day I will probably write a PhD thesis exploring why so many chess players start their games by screwing pieces into the board… GM Timoshenko of Ukraine, starting his game with this standard procedure.

Marat Dzhumaev took second place in last year’s Agzamov Memorial, but played slightly below expectations this time around: 6 points and 10th place. No, there is no move for the rook at this stage – Marat is performing the same standard procedure: screwing the rook firmly into the board. Actually, Marat was able to co-author THE miniature of the tournament, together with GM Kurnosov. Unfortunately, Marat was on the losing side.

The co-author of the miniature, GM Igor Kurnosov. No, he is not going Benoni, he is simply starting the game like every decent chess player does: adjusting and screwing in the pieces.

No, WFM Irina Gevorgian never starts the game with 1. Nc3. She is just performing the same very operation.

More about girls in this tournament. There was a special prize for best female players, but I unfortunately missed the prize-giving ceremony of this. Just to mention that WIM Olga Sabirova and Nodira Nodirjanova shared 1-2, Iroda Khamrakulova and WFM Yulduz Khamrakulova (no relation with Iroda) and Nafisa Muminova shared 3-5 female prizes.

WIM Olga Sabirova with her charming daughter (!) Katya. We challenge you to guess which one is the mother and which the daughter. The answer is hidden somewhere in the text below.

WFM Yulduz Khamrakulova

A nother Khamrakulova, Iroda, in a pensive philosophic pose. She is the sister of GM Ibragim Khamrakulov who is now a Spaniard.

Nodira Nodirjanova took shared first female prize

Nafisa Muminova who won the Central Asian zonal qualification and will be playing in the next Woman World Championship.

Sleeves up for the fight: Igor Glek, Germany, Elo rating 2546

When we met, Igor handed me his business card which reads nothing less than this:

International Chess Grandmaster
ACP Project Coordinator
Member of FIDE Committees on Youth and Junior Events and Chess in School
Technical Director of Moscow Open International Chess Festival
President of the World League of Chess Tournaments

And all that in one person, WOW! The irony is, before his last round game with Jamshid Mustafaev, this very person forgot to switch off his mobile phone, which is nowadays a strict requirement of FIDE. The phone did not actually ring during the game, but its clock alarm went off. The arbiters had no option than to forfeit him and award the game to his opponent.

Jamshid (above) and Khurshid Mustafaev are twin brothers from the ancient city of Samarkand

If it weren’t for the birthmark on Khurshid’s chin, there would be no way of telling the two brothers apart.

Alex Kim hails from Uzbekistan, lives in Moscow and plays for South Korea – what a geography! His sister Olesya came all the way from Moscow to support her bro.

The oldest player of the tournament Erkin Karimov, 76. He comes from my native city of Andijan. I have known him since childhood, played a good many games with him, and have always enjoyed his fighting style. Five points out of 9 without a single draw is not too bad for a 76-year-old!

The youngest player: Jahongir Vahidov, 12

Where is my opponent!? Vladimir Egin, one of the most experienced and respected Uzbekistani players and coaches.

The key last round game between Amonatov and Theshkovsky: a draw and shared first place

Last round and extremely critical game between GM Yuri Vovk and Anton Filippov. Anton won with black and joined Amonatov and Tseshkovsky for places 1-3.

Anton Filippov, now GM: hair brushes are for sissies

GM Alexey Fyodorov of Byelorussia

More details of the tournament and round-by-round results, a larger photogallery (most photos by yours truly) as well as games for download, are available from the official website of the Uzbek Chess federation (in Russian). You can have a relatively readable English translation of the website via AltaVista. Enter in the website address line, select Russian to English from the drop-down list and click Translate. Oh, yes, and the lady in blue is the mother, the girl in brown her daughter. Believe it or not.

Some non-chess stuff

In Tashkent Spring has just properly settled in, most fruit trees are in blossom, foliage trees are breaking into leaf, daytime temperatures now exceeding +25°C. Would you believe that mere two months ago it was the other way round – 25°C below zero, no kidding. Delights of the harsh continental climate!

Many Muslim communities celebrate Navruz on the 21st of March. So, after two rounds of play it was a rest day with a Navruz plov party for players which I, unfortunately, could not attend, hence no pictures of that. Why I could not attend is because that was the only day I could go to my country house to plant some trees. We Uzbeks die for gardening.

Early in the morning I went to a local bazaar to buy saplings. It’s a huge market with endless rows of trees for sale. The card attached to each bunch shows what fruits of that particular variety look like. I chose some apricot, cherry, mulberry, plum, quince and apple trees. They are extremely cheap, actually one sapling costs about a fifth of the price for one kilo of the respective fruit.

On Wednesday March 26th Uzbekistan hosted Saudi Arabia for the 2010 World Cup qualifiers. Football world cup, that is. I took a few quick shots at the chess club and rushed out to the stadium. What a great game that was! We scored three, they scored nothing. Three-nil, and we lead in the group stage. In the photo is Dynamo Kyiv and Uzbek national forward Maxim Shatskih on the way to a fantastic second goal (photo Associated Press).

After that victory, everybody and everything was in a sportive mood. Here are some pictures from the Duck Olympics played in the lake at the Japanese Park in Tashkent.

Duck sprint at full speed

Master level Duck Gymnastics

And the spice of the day: duck synchronous swimming

Time to say goodbye. See you next time.

About the author

Jamshid Begmatov works as a consultant for the European Commission’s office in Tashkent. His hobbies include chess and photography. Jamshid has been writing reports and articles for ChessBase since 2003.

Reports about chess: tournaments, championships, portraits, interviews, World Championships, product launches and more.


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