The Azeri chess federation, which has done a great deal recently for the promotion of chess all over the world, is once again organising an interesting (and strong!) open. From 10-18 May players are welcomed in Nakhichevan.
By tradition, before the opening of the event, the players lay wreaths at the memorial statue to Geidar Aliev.
Then there follows the typically warm, lovely and celebratory Eastern welcome, at the opening ceremony.
People love to speak of the Caucasus, using many attractive and enticing metaphors and figures of speech. This includes professionals such as Faik Gasanov, not only chief arbiter of the tournament, and vice-president of the Azeri chess federation, but also an excellent orator.
After the official appearances, the players enjoyed a concert and performance by artists. Then round one began. Chess has developed in the republic so quickly and on such a mass level recently that nobody is surprised to see a whole group of players from one family. Only players visiting Azerbaijan for the first time would be surprised to see two chess clans fighting here: the Mamedyarovs and the Mamedovs.
Shak won quickly and confidently against an oppoennt some 400 points lower rated, and then he watched his sisters' games:
Mamedyarov, S – Khasanzade Т.
15.d5 Bxd5 16.Bh7 Kh8 17.e4 Ne7 18.exd5 g6 19.Bxh6 Bg7 20.Qc1 Kxh7 21.Ng5 Kg8 22.Bxg7 Kxg7 23.Qc3 – and we can omit the rest, which ended five moves later (1:0).
The local hero was recently (and successfully) acting as second to Sergey Karjakin. Now it is time to return to his role as a player. The leader of Azeri chess is currently 17th on the world rating list, but we will see what the situation will be after round 9. For now, he is worrying about his sisters, and not without luck. Turkan delighted him:
Mamedyarova T. – Mamedov, Z
Although some of Zaur Mamedov's decision are questionable, this in no way detracts from Turkan's achievement: 26…c4?! – Why push this pawn, instead of 26… Re8? 27.Qd2 Ra5 28.f3 Qc6 29.fxe4 dxe4 30.Bf2 Re8 31.Re2 Ra3 32.Bd4 Rd8 33.Qe3 Qa8 34.Red2 Bf8 35.Qg5 e3 36.Qxe3 Re8 37.Qf4 Ra6 38.Rf1 Qb7 39.Rdf2 Qe7 40.Bc5 Qxc5 41.Qf7 – And the rest did not present any great difficulties. White won (1:0). Zeinab "only" drew, but against an opponent rated 200 points higher than her. Thus, Shak and his sisters had a fine start to the tournament. It must be added that the Azeri girls showed their teeth from the first moments:
Alekseev, E. – Mamadzada, G.
Guna confidently held the draw: 46…Rh2 47.b3 Kd4 48.Rg6 Rf2 49.Kg5 h4 50.Rh6 Rf3 51.Rxh4 Rxb3 52.Rh6 Rg3 53.Kf5 Ra3 54.Rb6 Rxa4 55.Rxb7 Ra2 56.Kg6 a5 – Draw ( ½ : ½ ).
The growth of their strength, plus home advantage in the forthcoming Olympiad allows one to predict, with little risk, that the Azeri women's team will be a contender for medals in Baku later this year. And the men's team are also likely to be among the favourites.
Mustafin, A. – Burmakin, V.
The local youngster attacks his experienced GM opponent with great imagination and not entirely correctly - but successfully! 15.f5 exf5 16.Nxd5 Bxf2 17.Rxf2 Qc5 18.b4 Qd4 19.Ne7 Kh8 20.Nxc6 Qc3 21.Ne7 Rad8 22.Qe1 Qxe5 23.Bf1 Qb2 24.Nexf5 Rfe8 25.Qc1 Qxb4 26.Rb1 Qc5 27.Rb5 Qc6 28.Qb2 f6 29.Nxg6 hxg6 30.Nh4 – Black resigns (1:0). This is how the top of the table looks":
The tournament is not the biggest (48 players, including 20 GMs and WGMs) and does not have the most varied make-up (10 countries). Despite the difficult economic and political situation in Europe, the number of strong events grows year on year. Many of these consequently clash with one another. In this case, the Nakhichevan Open overlaps with the European Individual Championship. Or is it the other way round?
Pictures by «Lana Chess Photography» on FB.
Nakhichevan Open 2016. Round 1. Family order