Vugar Gashimov memorial 2017 Round 1

The tragedy and inspiring story of Vugar Gashimov

Three years after the tragic death of Azerbaijani chess grandmaster Vugar Gashimov, fourth annual edition of memorial that honors his name is taking place in Azerbaijani city of Shamkir. (Note: The first tournament was held in 2014, the very same year in which Vugar left us).

For readers who aren't familiar with the life of Vugar Gashimov, here is a quick reminder, because during his limited time on this planet he truly wrote an inspiring chapter in the chess culture.

Gashimov, born in 1986., fell ill in 2000. Initially, doctors diagnosed him with epillepsy, which shortly afterwards turned out to be a brain tumor. Despite the illness, he continued to play chess profesionally and ultimately reached No.6 with his peak rating in November, 2009 (source: Vugar Gashimov fide file).

Unfortunatelly, he could win a couple of battles, but not the war against the illness, and on the 11th January 2014, he finally succumbed.

Although he belonged to the fatal 27 clubrarely anyone outside of the chess world reacted to his death.

Nevertheless, by showing courage both off and on the board (he was the guy who introduced Modern Benoni in the modern chess with considerable success) he carved his way to chess eternity forever.

Vugar with his girlfriend Elizabeth and GM Mamedyarov (who is incidentally the hero of the other part of this article). Photo taken from obituary written by Elizabeth, which literaly made me cry

Wesley So's streak ends with big blunder, Eljanov squeezes Radjabov

Now let's get to chess. Vugar Gashimov Memorial 2017 has assembled a pretty impresive field, with World numbers two and three, Wesley So and Vladimir Kramnik, leading the way.  (Please note that they have switched places in live ratings only after this round).

The old saying that "All good things must come to an end" is the central theme of round 1 in Shamkir.  Wesley So's, who has been unbeaten for 67 consecutive games, has succumbed to the Azerbaijani grandmaster featured on the picture above, GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, who must be inspired to play at the memorial tournament dedicated to his old friend.

In a sharp Scotch, Mamedyarov mixed the move order and managed to confuse So. So consumed massive amounts of time trying to figure out what is happening.

And although he managed to get out of the opening unscratched, the time deficit remained.

The play continued with evaluation ranging from "even position" to "slightly better for Black." And when finally So managed to neutralize even those slightly better chances for Black, suddenly he blundered on the eve of the time control and had to resign immediately.

Apart from Mamedyarov, GM Pavel Eljanov also started the tournament on a high note. His convincing win against Radjabov is an example of beautiful positional squeeze.

Kramnik tried to do something similar to Wojtaszek, but the latter defended convincingly.

Other two games saw relatively clear draws between Karjakin and Harikrishna, and Topalov and Adams.

In this post, we will analyze the game that ended So's unbeaten streak.

Game analysis: Wesley So - Shakhriyar Mamedyarov

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