Tashkent hosted an international chess tournament commemorating the 680th birth anniversary of Amir Temur.
The international competition drew world-famous grandmasters: the 2013 World Rapid Champion Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan, the 2009 world cup winner Boris Gelfand of Israel, the 2002-2003 FIDE world champion Ruslan Ponomariov of Ukraine and the 17th world chess champion Rustam Kasimjanov of Uzbekistan.
Prior to the tournament, these grandmasters led master classes and played simultaneous chess games with young players in Tashkent and Samarkand.
At the opening ceremony of the tournament the organizers noted that Amir Temur had loved chess since he was a boy. His father had taught him the rudiments of the game, but the spirit, essence and art of chess was revealed by his main teacher, sheikh Kulal. The spiritual mentor patiently explained to his inquisitive trainee that while the wooden figures may seem to be simply motionless pieces to rookies, for experienced players the chess field is replete with tension, enticing opportunities and hidden dangers.
Shaikh Kulal encourages him to learn from the best, gain an ability to rise above the hustle and bustle of plain moves and craft a winning strategy. Temur was aware of how far the real world was from the chessboard but on the other hand he saw so many similarities. If the outstanding ruler and genius military commander had been asked to reveal the secret of his remarkable success, he would have attributed it not only to divine intent but also the art of chess playing…
In Tashkent, the chess stars competed in rapid games, in which each player is given 15 minutes. They vied in four rounds, with each of the four players playing four games with each rival.
At the very start of the tournament, Mamedyarov pulled ahead, beating Gelfand with black pieces in the first game. In the second round, the Azerbaijani chess mind managed to increase the distance between him and the rivals by winning more games. In the third round, the fatigued players tied all their games. The fourth round proved more fruitful for the player, and the leader of the tournament again displayed his sharp chess prowess.
With eight points out of 12 and not a single loss, Mamedyarov came out the winner of the stellar Tashkent tournament. He took home $20,000 in prize money. Two points behind him was Israel’s Gelfand. Then followed former world champions Kasimjanov and Ponomariov, each with 5 points. But according to additional indicators, our fellow countryman placed third.
Kasimjanov’s game was downright disappointing. He is the only one of the four players that has not secured a single win and lost two games.
The chess festival in Tashkent has reached its end. And Shakhriyar Mamedyarov’s dazzling win will most likely go down in history. Equally memorable are famous grandmasters’ master classes and games with the young chess players of Uzbekistan.