VI Georgy Agzamov Memorial – Tashkent Open 2012

by ChessBase
4/9/2012 – The sixth edition of Agzamov Memorial, aka Tashkent Open, recently took place and attracted players from fourteen countries and sixteen grandmasters, including one over 2700. Dedicated to the first Uzbeki grandmaster, Georgy Agzamov, also known as the nightmare of top GMs who even beat Anand in an all-day blitz match, here is a large illustrated report by Jamshid Begmatov.

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VI Georgy Agzamov Memorial – Tashkent Open 2012

By Jamshid Begmatov

The sixth edition of Agzamov Memorial, aka Tashkent Open, took place on March 5–15 at hotel Shodlik Palace which also provided accommodation to most international players. The nine-round Swiss with the prize fund of USD 20 thousand saw the participation of 113 players from 14 countries, including 16 GMs of whom eight were rated over 2600, and one was over 2700.

Georgy Agzamov was born on 6th September 1954 in a small town of Almalyk in the province of Tashkent, into a family of doctors. In 1984 he became the first ever Grandmaster in the region of Central Asia. A linguist by education, Agzamov was not only 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. Georgy Agzamov’s best tournament results include: 1st at Belgrade 1982; 1st at Vršac 1983; 1st at Sochi 1984; 1st at Tashkent 1984; 1st at Bogotá 1984; 2nd at Potsdam 1985; 1st at Calcutta 1986.

I remember Vishy Anand telling me exactly one year ago, during his visit to Tashkent for a rapid match with Rustam Kasimdzhanov, how he, a 19-year-old IM at the time, and Georgy Agzamov blitzed a whole day during the 1986 Calcutta Open, and how he lost both their tournament game and the blitz match.

In 1986, after a chess tournament in Sevastopol, the Crimea, he tragically died when he went hiking and fell off a cliff to become trapped between two rocks. He had been accompanied by a group of other chess players, but was too deep down for them to help, and by the time the rescue crew arrived, it was too late.

Before discussing this year's event, here is a quick look back at some notable names and facts from the short history of this now traditional tournament. Sadly, two of the previous winners of Agzamov Memorial are no longer with us: GM Leonid Yurtaev of Kyrgyzstan, and GM Vitaly Tseshkovsky of Russia, who both passed away last year.

The first Agzamov Memorial was held in 2007, where GM Leonid Yurtaev, GM Marat Dzhumaev and IM Sergey Kayumov came equal first, with Yurtaev winning on Buchholz tiebreak.
The 2008 Agzamov Memorial saw 73 players from 9 countries.  GM Farrukh Amonatov, IM (now GM) Anton Filippov, and GM Vitaly Tseshkovsky tied for first, Amonatov taking first prize with best tiebreaks.
The 2009 Agzamov Memorial was won by the legendary Russian GM Vitaly Tseshkovsky, who was 64 at the time.
In the 2010 edition, four GMs shared first with 7.0/9: Maxim Turov of Russia (winner on Buchholz), Sergey Zhigalko of Belorussia, Rinat Jumabayev of Kazakhstan and Vitaly Golod of Israel.

And finally, the 2011 tournament saw GMs Tigran Petrosian of Armenia, Anton Filippov and Marat Dzhumayev (both of Uzbekistan) on the top, Petrosian winning on Buchholz. (Photo by

This brings us nicely to the 2012 Agzamov Memorial. As in previous years, I was invited to manage the press coverage of the tournament, which involved writing press releases and reports for newspapers, doing radio and TV interviews and, of course, taking plenty of pictures, some of which I’m sharing with you here. The tournament was held in two playing halls separated by a five-minute walk, but given that you are only allowed to take pictures during the first fifteen minutes of each round, I had to stay at the main hall where the top twenty boards played.

The four-star Shodlik Palace hotel where the event was held and players stayed

For reasons beyond my control, this report is very late. Several players went straight to the European Championship in Plovdiv after the Agzamov Memorial, where the heated discussions took place on the controversial decisions. While not an expert in chess policy, I would like to draw some parallels between the two tournaments from the point of view of “zero tolerance” and Sophia rules. The former was not applied in Tashkent. I personally believe that forfeiting a player for being late by a few seconds, or even minutes in open tournaments with long time controls is utter nonsense. Here, players were allowed a maximum of 15 minute tardiness. Sophia rules, however, were applied: players were not allowed to conclude draws in under 30 moves. On the surface, this is supposed to lead to more fighting chess and fewer draws. But, if two chess professionals wish to draw their game without fight, they will whatever the move limit, without arbiters (who normally have incomparably lower chess skill and understanding than pros) even noticing this. Other remedies need to be found… (Ed: the three-point victory, one-point draw works pretty well)

No zero-tolerance, no draw agreements before move 30, time controls, etc, – that’s
what yours truly (on the right) is explaining to the English speaking audience at the
opening ceremony.

Grandmaster Bulat Asanov of Kazakhstan, Chief Arbiter of the
tournament. A very outspoken, friendly and sociable person.

Three grandmasters came first with 7.0/9: Maxim Turov of Russia (first on tiebreak)...

...Mikheil Mchedlishvili of Georgia, in second...

...and Anton Filippov of Uzbekistan, in third.

Final standings

Rk Name Pts Fed Rtg Perf TB
1 GM Turov, Maxim 7.0 RUS 2658 2739 54.0
2 GM Mchedlishvili, Mikheil 7.0 GEO 2626 2652 50.0
3 GM Filippov, Anton 7.0 UZB 2637 2634 46.5
4 GM Guseinov, Gadir 6.5 AZE 2616 2655 54.0
5 GM Grachev, Boris 6.5 RUS 2705 2667 53.5
6 GM Golod, Vitali 6.5 ISR 2561 2572 52.0
7 GM Khusnutdinov, Rustam 6.5 KAZ 2500 2616 52.0
8 GM Mamedov, Rauf 6.5 AZE 2624 2653 51.5
9 IM Kvon, Andrey 6.5 UZB 2493 2525 49.0
10 GM Dzhumaev, Marat 6.5 UZB 2494 2491 46.5

The full table can be viewed here.

The first women’s prize went to WIM Nafisa Muminova, 2327 FIDE, and she deserves a special paragraph here: I have witnessed several tournaments where Nafisa missed her final WGM norm by just half-point. The photo above shows the start of her last round game against the very experienced master, Ibragim Karimov, which Nafisa absolutely had to win with black in order to complete the norm. She duly did, and became the first ever Woman Grandmaster of Uzbekistan. Congrats, Nafisa!

Kazakhstani WIM Guliskan Nakhbayeva completed her second WGM norm and won
the second women’s prize.

The top-rated player of the tournament, GM Boris Grachev of
Russia, 2705 FIDE, came in fifth with 6.5/9.

One of top Azerbaijani GMs Gadir Guseynov, 2616 FIDE was
fourth with 6.5/9.

Another Azeri GM Rauf Mamedov, 2624 FIDE, a great fan and
walking encyclopedia of football. Favorite player: Lionel Messi;
favorite team: Barcelona.

Israeli GM Vitaly Golod (2561)

Top Indonesian chess player GM Susanto Megaranto

My good friend GM Anuar Ismagambetov of Kazakhstan. Unfortunately
for Anuar, this was definitely not the tournament of his life.

Nafisa with her youngest sister Gulruhbegim. Her name is pronounced: Gool-rooh-begh-im.
To keep it simple, we just call her Begim. At age twelve, Begim was the U16 Uzbekistan
champion and bronze at the U12 World Championship held last December in Brazil.

Yours truly and GM Viorel Iordachescu of Moldova, at the hotel bar. Viorel runs a
chess academy in Chişinău, capital of Moldova.

IM Vladimir Egin, winner of the top Senior prize

Old friend Mister Bunawan comes every year as the manager of the Indonesian team.

GM Rustam Khusnutdinov of Kazakhstan

Arbiters at work

Doctors just outside the playing hall, just in case

Everybody has to do their job. Here is the cameraman of the Sport TV channel at work

A very pleasant acquaintance I made during the tournament:
Gulnara of Sport TV channel

To conclude the chess part of this report, I would like to present two games, one of which I have selected for its beauty (it would have received my vote had there been a best game prize), and another for its importance in the distribution of top places.

A breathtaking attack by GM Gadir Guseinov against IM Andrey Kvon:

[Event "6 Agzamov Memorial"] [Site "Uzbekistan, Tashkent"] [Date "2012.03.09"] [Round "4"] [White "Guseinov Gadir"] [Black "Kvon, Andrey"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B47"] [WhiteElo "2616"] [BlackElo "2493"] 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 e6 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4 Qc7 6.g3 a6 7.Bg2 Nf6 8.O-O Be7 9.Re1 Nxd4 10.e5 Nb5 11.exf6 gxf6 12.Nd5 exd5 13.Bxd5 h5 14.c4 Na7 15.Bf4 d6 16.c5 Be6 17.Bxe6 fxe6 18.Rxe6 Qd7 19.Qb3 d5 20.Rae1 Nc6 21.Rd6 Qc8 22.Qxd5 Kf8 23.Ree6 Rh7 24.Rxf6+ Bxf6 25.Rxf6+ Kg7 26.Qg5+ Kh8 27.Rxc6 1-0

and the last round must-win by GM Anton Filippov which allowed him to catch up with two leaders who drew between themselves:

[Event "6 Agzamov Memorial"] [Site "Uzbekistan, Tashkent"] [Date "2012.03.14"] [Round "9"] [White "Filippov, Anton"] [Black "Iordachescu, Viorel"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B19"] [WhiteElo "2637"] [BlackElo "2644"] 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Bf5 5.Ng3 Bg6 6.h4 h6 7.Nf3 Nd7 8.h5 Bh7 9.Bd3 Bxd3 10.Qxd3 e6 11.Bd2 Ngf6 12.O-O-O Be7 13.Ne4 Nxe4 14.Qxe4 Nf6 15.Qd3 c5 16.Qb5+ Qd7 17.Qxd7+ Nxd7 18.Be3 cxd4 19.Bxd4 Nf6 20.Ne5 O-O 21.g4 Rfc8 22.Kb1 b5 23.f4 Nh7 24.c3 Rc7 25.Rd3 Rac8 26.a3 Rb7 27.b4 f5 28.gxf5 exf5 29.Ng6 Bd8 30.Kb2 Nf6 31.Nh4 Nxh5 32.Nxf5 Nxf4 33.Rf3 Ne6 34.Bxg7 Ng5 35.Rff1 Rd7 1-0

A round-by-round selection of top games can be viewed and downloaded from this page.

A cultural digression

Against all odds and global warming theories, this March was very cold in Tashkent, with almost daily snow and showers, and sub-zero temperatures. The weather was so bad that players hardly ever left the hotel to sightsee or other. Still, since it’s a tradition – and a good one – to include some non-chess, cultural material in ChessBase reports, I will take you to a nearby art gallery where “Bazar-Art”, an exhibition of Uzbek applied and decorative arts, was underway.

A girl with a jug – a very typical oriental character

A girl knitting items that will immediately go on sale right here
at the exhibition.

The traditional embroidered tapestry known as a 'Suzanni'

A silver bracelet

A designer of national dresses, and two models

The carpet gallery

A thousand-euro rug made of pure camel wool

Don’t tell this to animal welfare advocates, but this hat called 'Karakul' is made from
the skin of newly born lambs. This is a large industry in the southern parts of Uzbekistan.

Ceramic souvenirs

Another sample of regional souvenirs

Chess sets with Central Asia style pieces

Every Uzbek family makes tea in these types of teapots and drinks from cups called 'piala'

Can you guess what this is? It’s Aladdin’s lamp, a device very well known to those
familiar with 'The Book of One Thousand and One Nights', more widely known in
English-speaking world as 'The Arabian Nights'.

The frame story takes place in ancient Persia, with a misogynic king Shahriyar (who also played chess, yes!) wanting to have his wife Shaherezadah’s head cut off, but every night she keeps him fascinated by telling him a story, and stopping it at the most exciting moment, promising to continue it only the following night, thus making the king want to find out what happened next. She keeps doing this for 1001 nights, and eventually the king keeps her alive. Aladdin's Wonderful Lamp is one of the most fascinating stories in the series. In the story, anyone who rubs the lamp calls out a genie who fulfills his any wish. So did I, but no genie would come out…

About the author

Jamshid Begmatov, whose hobbies include chess and photography, has been writing reports and articles for ChessBase since 2003.

With his excellent English, Russian and Turkish, some knowledge of French and Persian, degree in Economics, incredibly good writing skills, many years of experience in project management, PR and advertising, Jamshid is looking for international employment opportunities. If you are an interested potential employer, feel free to contact him at this email.

You can also use ChessBase 11 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs to replay the games in PGN. You can also download our free Playchess client, which will in addition give you immediate access to the chess server

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