General Apr 19, 2014 | 11:30 PMby Macauley Peterson

Honoring Vugar Gashimov

At last night's opening ceremony Vugar Gashimov's father Gasim spoke to the players, officials and guests undertaking the first of perhaps many memorial tournaments bearing his son's name. 

I welcome all friends of Vugar. I'm grateful to everyone who came to Shamkir to take part in this tournament in his honour. A lot has been said about Vugar but you could keep talking about him non-stop. Everyone knows about Vugar as he made a name for himself not only in chess but in other spheres. Unfortunately he left us too soon. Today is exactly the 100th day that we've been without him. Vugar wasn't only my son but also the son of the whole Azerbaijan nation. If you were to write a book about him then one book alone wouldn't suffice for all you could write. During his whole career he won over 80 medals. I'm grateful to everyone who took part in organising this tournament, including the main organisers, Synergy Group. I hope that this tournament will become a tradition and thereby Vugar Gashimov will continue to honour Azerbaijan on the international stage.

The day before, the players visited an impressive memorial to the late Azerbaijani star at his grave site in Baku. (Photos courtesy of the official web site.)

  • Azerbaijani Arbiter Faik Gasanov lays a rose at Gashimov's grave.

  • Overhead at the grave site.

  • Numerous chess themed details accentuate the memorial.

  • The World Champion and other participants pay their respects.

  • Players gather at a solemn occasion. Leading the procession, Fabiano Caruana (right) and Vladimir Chuchelov, his coach. Behind Chuchelov, are Teimour Radjabov, Sergei Karjakin and his girlfriend Galiya Kamalova, and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov.

The memorial includes an enormous chess diagram depicting the game Gashimov — Stellwagen (2009, European Team Championship), after Black's 70th move Rf4, the decisive mistake. Gashimov won quickly and brought Azerbaijan the tournament victory.

71. ♔e6 h4 72. f7 ♔g6 73. f8Q ♖xf8 74. ♖xf8 ♔g5 75. ♔e5


After this event Gashimov reached as high as number six in the world in November 2009, and he achieved a peak rating of 2761 in January 2012. Now six of the world's best, including four from the top ten and his former teammates Teimour Radjabov and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, will play 10 rounds in his memory.

You can watch the full opening ceremony:

And don't miss the film tribute to Vugar, now available via YouTube, below:

En route to Shamkir

Before arriving in Baku, World Champion Magnus Carlsen held a training camp at a resort hotel in Oman, the newest member of FIDE.

While there, working with seconds Peter Heine Nielsen and Laurent Fressinet, he published a short video giving fans a glimpse of his training regimen. Since Nielsen can be seen playing blitz with Carlsen in the clip, we wondered if any other blitz games were recorded. And indeed, Carlsen also sparred with Fressinet, with the French grandmaster essaying the French Defence and salvaging a draw.

Here's the game captured for posterity with the addition of chess24's playzone graphics:

Carlsen will need to show greater technique to win his second tournament of 2014!

Catch all the action with our team of commentators, including special guest and Russian Champion Peter Svidler.

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