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Greatest Chess Triumph: Azerbaijani men's team win European Team Chess Championship

07 November 2017 [14:15] - TODAY.AZ

By Azernews

By Laman Ismayilova

The Azerbaijani men's chess team has claimed a glorious victory in the history of national chess, becoming the third-time European champion during the last eight years.

In Crete, Greece, Azerbaijan secured the European Team Championship gold on November 6 with a draw against Ukraine 2-2 in the last round to top the table with 14 points.

In the 9th round the Russian national team beat the chess players from Germany and finished the championship also with 14 points. However, on additional indicators the Azerbaijani team scored a critical win over top-seeded Russia in Round 8, such that even a last round win over Germany was only good enough for the silver medal. Ukraine, the third seed going in, took the bronze. 

Previously, the national team claimed victory in 2009 and 2013.

In his interview with, Azerbaijani GM Shahriyar Mammadyarov shared his thoughts about the chess triumph.

“We played against Russia, Ukraine, Hungary and Armenia. We proved that we deserve to be the strongest in Europe and that we are the most intelligent people in Europe. I am very glad that we became the European champions for the third time,” he said.

Chess player stressed that no country has been able to show such a result.

“When we lost to the Italians, we played a draw with Spain chess players. Everyone thought that Azerbaijan has no chances to win. However, we entered the fight for first place and won,” he added.

Chess for centuries has been a popular game in Azerbaijan with ancient roots closely related to traditions. The country could preserve these traditions as the chess remains to be a crucially popular sport for now.    

The active development of chess in Azerbaijan began in the 1950s. Azerbaijan women's championship has been held regularly since 1960. 

Azerbaijan Chess Federation was founded in 1920. The national chess players have always been taking high places at top-ranked tournaments.

GM Eltaj Safarli won the Azerbaijan Championships in 2010 and 2016. Safarli played in the silver medal-winning Azerbaijani team at the European Team Chess Championship in Porto Carras in 2011.

Azerbaijan’s grandmaster Shahriyar Mammadyarov has achieved a historic success, as he entered the Top 5 in the FIDE ranking for the first time.

The national GM won the team gold medal for Azerbaijan at the European Team Chess Championship in 2009 and 2013. Shahriyar represented Azerbaijan at the Chess Olympiads in 2000, 2002, 2004, 2008, 2010 and 2016.

Mammadyarov also won the 3rd and 4th editions of the Gashimov Memorial in Shamkir.

A child prodigy, national GM Teymur Radjabov, is ranked 19th with 2,741 points. Teymur broke onto the world chess stage as a teenager, earning the grandmaster title just after his 14th birthday and scoring a stunning win against Garry Kasparov as a 15-year-old in Linares 2003, the first time in seven years Kasparov had lost a rated game with the white pieces. That game was also symbolic, as Radjabov was born in the same city as the “Beast from Baku” and grew up playing the same hyper-aggressive openings that Kasparov had championed in his youth.

Legendary chess player Vugar Gashimov drew party with an Italian chess player Fabiano Caruana at FIDE Grand Prix 2009.

Despite his short life, Vugar Gashimov had made a remarkable contribution to the chess history of Azerbaijan. He played for Azerbaijan's national team in the Chess Olympiads in 2002, 2004, 2006, and 2008.

World Chess Olympiad opened a new chapter in the history of Azerbaijani sports.

The 42nd Chess Olympiad, which took place in Baku last year, is an excellent example of great attention paid to the development of chess game in the country. The chess tournament hosted about 2,000 chess masters from 175 countries. 


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