General Feb 15, 2014 | 3:00 PMby Colin McGourty

Carlsen tops Vugar Gashimov Memorial field

A new supertournament is to be held in Azerbaijan in honour of Vugar Gashimov, who died this January at the age of only 27. World Champion Magnus Carlsen tops an all-star six-player field for the main event, which will be accompanied by a major 10-player tournament. The event takes place from the 19th-30th April in the city of Shamkir.

Keeping Vugar Gashimov's memory alive | Synergy Group Facebook page 

Details of the tournament were given by Vice President of the Azerbaijan Chess Federation Faik Gasanov to ExtraTime. The A Tournament will be a 6-player double round-robin featuring the World Champion, three of his hottest young challengers and the top two Azerbaijan players (ratings based on the February 1st FIDE rating list):

  1. Magnus Carlsen (Norway) - 2872, world no. 1
  2. Fabiano Caruana (Italy) - 2781, world no. 5
  3. Hikaru Nakamura (United States) - 2776, world no. 7
  4. Sergey Karjakin (Russia) - 2766, world no. 9
  5. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan) - 2757, world no. 13
  6. Teimour Radjabov (Azerbaijan) - 2713, world no. 34

The venue is a surprise - not the capital city of Baku, but Shamkir, a city in the foothills of the Lesser Caucasus mountains near the borders with Armenia and Georgia, and only the 8th largest in Azerbaijan: 

  • Shamkir
  • Azerbaijan

The sponsor also isn't the state oil company SOCAR - perhaps the world's most generous chess patron - but Synergy Group, a company aiming to work outside Baku and "become the leading investment group in the Azerbaijani business sector with a focus on the non-oil sector".

The tournament will be played at a classical time control, with no draws allowed until move 40. The prize fund is 100,000 Euro, although we can assume the appearance fees for the players dwarf that amount.

The main event will be accompanied by a 10-player single round-robin tournament featuring 5 Azerbaijan and 5 foreign players, with a prize fund of 30,000 Euro. That will include players rated above 2700, although the line-up is yet to be announced.

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