3rd Gashimov Memorial Starts Thursday

3rd Gashimov Memorial Starts Thursday

| 20 | Chess Event Coverage

The third Gashimov Memorial is about to begin. On Thursday the first round will be played in Shamkir, Azerbaijan.

Although it's not as strong as the first two editions, we can still call it a super tournament. 

This 10-player round robin has three top-10 players: Fabiano Caruana, Anish Giri and Sergey Karjakin. The next three players can still be found in the current top 20: Pentala Harikrishna, Pavel Eljanov and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. The field is completed with Women's World Champion Hou Yifan and three more local players: Teimour Radjabov, Rauf Mamedov and Eltaj Safarli.

2016 Shamkir Chess | Participants

# Name Fed Rtg Born
1 Fabiano Caruana USA 2804 30 July 1992
2 Anish Giri Netherlands 2782 28 June 1994
3 Sergey Karyakin Russia 2773 12 January 1990
4 Pentala Harikrishna India 2763 10 May 1986
5 Pavel Eljanov Ukraine 2750 10 May 1983
6 Shakhriyar Mamedyarov Azerbaijan 2748 12 April 1985
7 Teimour Radjabov Azerbaijan 2726 12 March 1987
8 Eltaj Safarli Azerbaijan 2674 18 May 1992
9 Hou Yifan China 2663 27 February 1994
10 Rauf Mamedov Azerbaijan 2655 26 April 1988

The opening ceremony of the tournament will be held tomorrow in the Heydar Aliev Center in Shamkir, the same place where the games will be played. The tournament runs May 26-June 4, with a rest day on May 31. The games start 3 p.m. local time (GMT+4), so 1 p.m. in central Europe, 7 a.m. in New York and 4 a.m. Pacific.

The Heydar Aliev Center in Shamkir.

Again the sponsor is Synergy Group, one of the largest private investment holdings in Azerbaijan more than 1,500 employees. And again, the tournament is a memorial for one of the greatest players from Azerbaijan: GM Vugar Gashimov, who sadly died on January 10, 2014 at 27 years old. Many top players remember Gashimov as a very friendly and talented player.

Magnus Carlsen said about him:

“Vugar was one of the most talented and original players I've met. He was always friendly with everyone and always smiling. I have many good memories with him from tournaments, especially in the Amber tournaments.”

Vugar Gashimov.

Shamkir is the eighth-largest city in Azerbaijan and the capital of the Shamkir Rayon. It is located in the northern foothills of the Lesser Caucasus, on the coast of the Chagirchay River on Tbilisi-Yevlakh highway.

The time control will be 2 hours for 40 moves, then 1 hour for 20 moves and then 15 minutes to finish the game with a 30-second increment from move 61 onwards. Draw offers before move 40 are not allowed.

The tiebreak rules are:

  1. number of wins;
  2. mutual result;
  3. Sonneborn-Berger;
  4. blitz playoff.

The total prize fund is € 73,000 ($81,380) with a € 10,000 first prize, but the players are most probably getting starting fees on top of that.

The favorites are obviously the three top-10 players: Caruana, Giri and Karjakin. Caruana is playing his first classical tournament since he won his first U.S. championship title. Giri started well in Norway last month but didn't have a great tournament in the end.

After winning the Candidates', Karjakin had a slightly disappointing score at the Russian Team Championship.

Peter Doggers

Peter Doggers joined a chess club a month before turning 15 and still plays for it. He used to be an active tournament player and holds two IM norms.

Peter has a Master of Arts degree in Dutch Language & Literature. He briefly worked at New in Chess, then as a Dutch teacher and then in a project for improving safety and security in Amsterdam schools.

Between 2007 and 2013 Peter was running ChessVibes, a major source for chess news and videos acquired by in October 2013.

As our Director News & Events, Peter writes many of our news reports. In the summer of 2022, The Guardian’s Leonard Barden described him as “widely regarded as the world’s best chess journalist.”

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