Reports | January 10, 2012 17:46

Sarkhan Gashimov surprising winner at San Sebastian blitz

Sarkhan Gashimov surprising winner in San Sebastian blitz tournament

Sarkhan Gashimov, the older brother and manager of top GM Vugar Gashimov, won a strong blitz tournament in San Sebastian last week, ahead of many grandmasters. Rated 2351, the amateur player from Azerbaijan defeated Julio Granda Zuniga of Peru in the final.

Sarkhan Gahimov with Basque hat and trophy | All photos © David Llada and Anastasiya Karlovich

Event Donostia Festival, Blitz
Date January 6th, 2011
Location Donostia-San Sebastian, Spain
System Round robin followed by a 16-player knock-out
Players Naiditisch, Vachier-Lagrave and Moiseenko were the strongest players
Rate of play 5 minutes + 3 seconds increment
First prize 1,000 Euro

By Anastasiya Karlovich

On the 6th of January 40 participants took part in the blitz tournament which followed the main Donostia-San Sebastian Chess Festival. 13 GMs and three players rated over 2700 (Arkadij Naiditsch, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Alexander Moiseenko) participated.

Arkadij Naiditsch vs Julio Granda Zuniga

At the beginning all participants were divided into 4 groups (10-11 players each) and played in round-robin tournaments. Four players from each group could qualify for the final event with 16 players, which followed a knock-out system. Each match in this knockout tournament consisted of two blitz games and an Armageddon game in case of a draw.

Unexpectedly, Sarkhan Gashimov (the older brother and manager of GM Vugar Gashimov) became the winner of the tournament. He finished on second place in his group and already managed to show a good result there by winning against Aleksa Strikovich and Konstantin Landa.

Sarkhan Gashimov managed to reach the 16-player knockout

He lost only to Arkadij Naiditsch, but still got the chance to play in the main blitz event.

In the final tournament Sarkhan, with for this field  a modest 2351 Elo, was seeded last. However, he was unstoppable and one by one he defeated such strong GMs as Alexander Moiseenko (1.5-0.5), once again Aleksa Strikovic (2-0), Loek van Wely (2-1 in Armageddon) and Julio Granda Zuniga (1.5-0.5) in the final match.

Sarkhan Gashimov beat Loek van Wely (whose girlfriend WIM Lorena Zepeda from El Salvador is watching the game) in the Armageddon 

The final between Julio Granda Zuniga and Sarkhan Gashimov...

...watched by many spectators and eliminated players

Trophy, hat and envelope (with 1,000 Euro in it) for the surprising winner!

Granda Zuniga also showed a very good result and climbed to the final after defeating players such as Arkadij Naiditsch and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave.

Granda Zuniga eliminated, amongst others, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave...

...and could certainly be satisfied with his result as well

Schedule & results 16-player knock-out

Editors's picture
Author: Editors


arkan's picture

Well it's still Blitz so i guess anything is possible, but this surely is a strange result ;p

Well done though

S3's picture

I already knew Sarkhan to be pretty strong, for he got a draw against me on playchess last year. Congrats with this result!

Anonymous's picture

For context, what is your approximate strength?

S3's picture

Any regular here knows my true strength!

sulutas's picture

I guess Serkan's (new) blitz rating should be pretty high then after this blitz tournament. Probably he has developed himself by regularly playing against his younger brother back at home; I guess everyone here would wish we all had such a brother, too.

Anonymous's picture

Congrats to Sarkhan! The prize fund of 1,000 Euros seems modest for a tournament with several 2700+ players in it. Initially, it is possible that Sarkhan was underestimated by his opponents, but surely this couldn't be the case for the semis & finals. More likely, his real chess strength is far stronger than his rating suggests (maybe even comparable to his brother's!). His actual rating may be only 2300+ because he doesn't take chess too seriously.

Thomas Richter's picture

Actually, (this) Gashimov has been inactive since July 2006, so it's hard to define his current strength:

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