Vugar was a wonderfully gifted and popular grandmaster who lost his battle against a brain tumour at the age of only 27.
Born like Garry Kasparov and a host of other top players in the Azerbaijan capital city of Baku, Gashimov’s talent shone through despite difficult circumstances. When he was 13 he started experiencing epileptic fits that later required brain surgery. At the time he was forced to curtail his chess training, but he continued to improve and had climbed into the Top 10 on the FIDE rating list by January 2012.
His best individual performance was perhaps winning the Reggio Emilia tournament in January 2011, while he also represented Azerbaijan at four Olympiads and helped the team to victory in the 2009 European Team Chess Championship. In the video below you can see his team mates run to celebrate with him after he wins the crucial final game.
In 2010 Gashimov was excluded from the national team due to a conflict with the coach and federation management, but just when that issue seemed to have been resolved health problems returned. At the 2011 European Championship he collapsed during the Azerbaijan – France match, although he returned for a crucial match against Russia the very next day.
He played in a couple more events after
that, but was forced to seek medical treatment in Germany. Gashimov and a
legion of well-wishers in the chess world hoped for a recovery, but he lost his
battle in January 2014.
Photo: Georgios Souleidis
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