Sarkhan Gashimov surprising winner at San Sebastian blitz

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Sarkhan Gashimov, the older brother and manager of top GM Vugar Gashimov, won a strong blitz tournament in San Sebastian last week, ahead of many grandmasters. Rated 2351, the amateur player from Azerbaijan defeated Julio Granda Zuniga of Peru in the final.

Sarkhan Gahimov with Basque hat and trophy | All photos © David Llada and Anastasiya Karlovich

EventDonostia Festival, Blitz
DateJanuary 6th, 2011
LocationDonostia-San Sebastian, Spain
SystemRound robin followed by a 16-player knock-out
PlayersNaiditisch, Vachier-Lagrave and Moiseenko were the strongest players
Rate of play5 minutes + 3 seconds increment
First prize1,000 Euro

By Anastasiya Karlovich

On the 6th of January 40 participants took part in the blitz tournament which followed the main Donostia-San Sebastian Chess Festival. 13 GMs and three players rated over 2700 (Arkadij Naiditsch, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Alexander Moiseenko) participated.

Arkadij Naiditsch vs Julio Granda Zuniga

At the beginning all participants were divided into 4 groups (10-11 players each) and played in round-robin tournaments. Four players from each group could qualify for the final event with 16 players, which followed a knock-out system. Each match in this knockout tournament consisted of two blitz games and an Armageddon game in case of a draw.

Unexpectedly, Sarkhan Gashimov (the older brother and manager of GM Vugar Gashimov) became the winner of the tournament. He finished on second place in his group and already managed to show a good result there by winning against Aleksa Strikovich and Konstantin Landa.

Sarkhan Gashimov managed to reach the 16-player knockout

He lost only to Arkadij Naiditsch, but still got the chance to play in the main blitz event.

In the final tournament Sarkhan, with for this field  a modest 2351 Elo, was seeded last. However, he was unstoppable and one by one he defeated such strong GMs as Alexander Moiseenko (1.5-0.5), once again Aleksa Strikovic (2-0), Loek van Wely (2-1 in Armageddon) and Julio Granda Zuniga (1.5-0.5) in the final match.

Sarkhan Gashimov beat Loek van Wely (whose girlfriend WIM Lorena Zepeda from El Salvador is watching the game) in the Armageddon 

The final between Julio Granda Zuniga and Sarkhan Gashimov...

...watched by many spectators and eliminated players

Trophy, hat and envelope (with 1,000 Euro in it) for the surprising winner!

Granda Zuniga also showed a very good result and climbed to the final after defeating players such as Arkadij Naiditsch and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave.

Granda Zuniga eliminated, amongst others, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave...

...and could certainly be satisfied with his result as well

Schedule & results 16-player knock-out

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