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Vugar Gashimov

Full name Vüqar Qasım oğlu Həşimov
Country Azerbaijan
Born 24 July 1986
Baku, Azerbaijan SSR
Title Grandmaster
Peak rating 2761 (January 2012 FIDE World Rankings)
Peak ranking No. 6 (November 2009)

Vugar Gashimov (Azerbaijani: Vüqar Həşimov; 24 July 1986 - 11 January 2014) was an Azerbaijani chess grandmaster. He was a noted player of blitz chess. At his peak ranking he was No. 6 in the world, achieved in November 2009.

He won the Athens 2005 (Acropolis International), and he was the winner of the Cappelle-la-Grande open 2008. In 2010-11 he tied for first with Francisco Vallejo Pons at Reggio Emilia and won the event on tie-break.


Gashimov was born on July 24, 1986 in Baku. He was the son of a retired army colonel who served at the Defense Ministry of Azerbaijan.

Chess career

In 2010, Gashimov won the Reggio Emilia chess tournament.

Team competitions

Gashimov played for Azerbaijan in the Chess Olympiads of 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2008. He played in the gold medal-winning Azerbaijani team at the European Team Chess Championship in Novi Sad in 2009, alongside Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Teimour Radjabov, Rauf Mammadov and Gadir Guseinov, previously winning bronze medal in 2007. In 2010, however, he did not represent his country at the Chess Olympiad in Khanty-Mansiysk due to a conflict with the national chess federation and former team coach Zurab Azmaiparashvili.

Playing style

Gashimov was known as a particularly strong blitz chess player.

At the peak of his playing career, he revived the fortunes of the Modern Benoni, an opening that had become unpopular at the top level of chess, and used it to get good results against strong grandmasters, including even the leading players of the time, such as Alexander Grischuk (see Notable games).

Personal life

He was known to enjoy football, table tennis and pool. He was also an avid fan of Jackie Chan movies. He was managed by his older brother Sarkhan, an IT manager who is also a master level chess player.

Death and aftermath


Doctors diagnosed Gashimov with epilepsy when he fell ill in February 2000, and shortly afterwards, discovered a brain tumor. While receiving treatment for the brain tumor in a hospital in Heidelberg, Germany, Gashimov died in the early hours of 11 January 2014. He had been inactive from chess since playing in the Tata Steel Chess Tournament in January 2012. He was buried at the Alley of Honor in Baku.


Chess grandmasters and sports professionals around the world reacted to Gashimov's death. Teimour Radjabov, one of Gashimov's closest teammates, said that he could not find "words to explain the deepest sorrow".

Nigel Short described Gashimov as "a brilliant player and great guy." Former world champion Garry Kasparov said he was "deeply saddened", and found it "remarkable considering the medical obstacles he faced" that he made it to the top ten in the FIDE rating list. Magnus Carlsen described Gashimov as "one of the most talented & original players I've met. He was always friendly with everyone and always smiling. I have many good memories with him from tournaments, especially in the Amber tournaments."

Tributes also came from famous chess players such as Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Hikaru Nakamura, Levon Aronian, Alexandra Kosteniuk, Judit Polgár, Sergey Karjakin and many others. One minute of silence was held at the 76th Tata Steel Chess Tournament and during all tournaments held in Baku in January 2014.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said, "Vugar Gashimov's services before the Azerbaijani sports are matchless. Vugar Gashimov made incomparable contribution to development of Azerbaijan's chess school, and glorified the country with his brilliant victories."


On 17 March 2014, it was confirmed that the Gashimov Memorial would take place in Shamkir in April 2014, with participants Magnus Carlsen, Fabiano Caruana, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Teimour Radjabov, Sergey Karjakin, Hikaru Nakamura, Étienne Bacrot, Wang Hao, Rauf Mamedov, Qadir Huseynov, Pavel Eljanov, Radosław Wojtaszek, Alexander Motylev, Eltaj Safarli, Nijat Abasov and Vasif Durarbayli.

On 24 July 2014, monument was unveiled on his grave in Baku.

Notable tournament victories

Notable games