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Interview with GM Vugar Gashimov
Monday, 22 December 2008
Vugar GASHIMOV: “We have a young team”


22 year old GM from Baku Vugar Gashimov is one of Elista FIDE Grand Prix tournament leaders. In Round 8 he made a draw game with his country-man Teimur Radjabov playing Black. After the game was over Vugar answered our questions.
- Vugar, three GMs from Azerbaijan take part in the tournament. All of you are young and well-known in chess circles. How did the pleiad of talented players turn up in your country?

- We were born in the 2nd half of 1980s, when world champion Kasparov lived in Baku. After he won the world title in 1985, there began a chess boom in Azerbaijan. We learned to play chess early in the childhood and we had decent conditions for headway. Our national leader Geidar Aliev was fond of chess and promoted it in the republic. He is known to support Kasparov in every way and contributed to his ascending to the Olympus.

Geidar Aliev noticed our generation as well, had frequent meetings with promising young players, and we were very much inspired by these meetings. Of course we have been competing with each other, but out of the bounds of the chessboard we keep good fellowship.

- Which is more important for the contemporary chess-players, talent or capability to work industriously and efficiently?

- To achieve good results at top level you got to be talented, industrious and efficient and pay attention to psychological and physical conditioning.

- Besides the great Kasparov the following Baku players were famous – Vladimir Bagirov and Elmar Magerramov. The first is gone already, what does Magerramov, the silver medalist of the last USSR championship, do now?

- He moved to UAE long ago. He works as a coach there. I wish he were beside us when we began our proper chess studies. Such a man, a bright grandmaster and an excellent coach, he could have taught us a lot. In 2001 when the three of us were shortlisted into the Azerbaijan national team, the issue of appointing this experienced GM a team coach was being discussed. We were 14-15 at the moment and his presence could do us a lot of good. Besides, Magerramov was considered a very efficient coach. He used to coach Kasparov. Even after he became champion of the world, Magerramov assisted him for some period. There is a lack of such high-skilled coaches in Azerbaijan now unfortunately. Some of them are gone, some left the country. Only a few are left who coach children day and night.

- Where besides Baku does chess develop?

- The second city in the country – Gyanja – has a long chess history.

- Who was shortlisted into Azerbaijan national team besides the three of you?

- My age-mate Kadyr Guseinov and Rauf Mamedov, who is two years younger. Our team are young as you see. Rauf by the way is in Elista at the moment, he assists Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. Teimur, Shakhriyar and I have been in the national team since 2001, Guseinov joined it the following year, Mamedov in 2004. It was the time when our team was created, and we hope to keep the line-up at team tournaments as long as possible.







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