Gashimov out of Olympiad team

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Gashimov out of Olympiad teamThe Azerbaijan team will be playing the Olympiad in Khanty-Mansiysk without Vugar Gashimov. Since January there have been problems between him and the Azerbaijan Chess Federation, but the reason he was thrown out of the team is remarkable: because last month Gashimov played for a Spanish team holding 'Kasparov' in its name.

In several talks with Vugar Gashimov and his brother and manager Sarkhan we learnt that the relationship between Vugar and the Azerbaijan Chess Federation hasn't been very good since the start of this year. It all began at the World Team Champioinship in January in Turkey, where, according to Sarkhan, Vugar was forced to play although he was ill. He lost three games in a row. Sarkhan even suggested to us that with such actions Vugar's rating was kept low artificially, in an attempt to keep Radjabov as the country's number one player.

In our first report on the President's Cup in April we mentioned something that was related:

The invitation policy of the Azerbaijan Chess Federation is often hard to guess and this time Vugar Gashimov has become victim of it – why he was left out of the team remains unclear. According to 1news a journalist asked about this at a press conference, and Vice President Faik Gasanov answered: “This is not a team tournament, and so he’s not necessarily invited here.”


In his latest article on Chess in Translation, our co-editor Colin gives an English translation of some important recent articles in the Azeri press. He starts by quoting from a press conference with Azad Ragimov, the Azerbaijan Minister of Youth and Sport:

In one of his tournaments Vugar Gashimov played for a Garry Kasparov team. How do you react to that?

Besides the fact that Kasparov and I were in one group, my reaction’s negative. His actions of late have worried us. His behaviour isn’t appropriate for a citizen of Azerbaijan. It’s not his first such excess. He also conducted himself improperly in relation to the team trainer Zurab Azmaiparashvili. It was improper on his part to be a member of the Kasparov team. He didn’t even bother to come and account for his actions.


You might have guessed already what this is all about. Last month Gashimov played for the "Escuela Kasparov-Marcote" team at the Spanish Team Championship, and apparently this was not appreciated by the federation. Colin continues:

Kasparov, born in the Azerbaijan city of Baku to an Armenian mother, is apparently considered persona non grata in Azerbaijan. Which makes it a little puzzling (to this observer, at least) that Zurab Azmaiparashvili, a good friend of Kasparov’s, is the Azerbaijan team captain.


What follows are quotes from Azmaiparashvili as well as from Vugar Gashimov himself - we recommend reading the full article. In the mean time it is sad that such a strong player misses events because of non-chess reasons. Luckily for him, the federation cannot prevent him from playing the prestigeous Pearl Spring tournament in Nanjing in October.

Gashimov will be replaced by Eltaj Safarli (2607) which reduces the Azeri team from 3rd to 7th favourites.
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