Chess in Azerbaijan

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Azerbaijan's National men's and women's teams in the European Championship 2007

Chess is one of the most popular sports in Azerbaijan, where it is governed by the Azerbaijan Chess Federation (ACF). On May 5, 2009 Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev, who is also the chairman of the National Olympic Committee, signed an executive order initiating a state-supported chess development program, covering the years 2009–2014.[1]

History of chess in Azerbaijan[edit]

References to chess may be found in the works of 12th century Persian poets such as Khaqani and Nizami, who lived in modern-day Azerbaijan, and also in the works of 16th century writer Fuzuli and others. Writer and philosopher Mirza Fatali Akhundov explained the rules of chess in his 1864 poem "The Game of Shatranj".

Azerbaijan as a member of the USSR[edit]

Organized chess began in Azerbaijan shortly after the creation of the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic in 1920, and the game soon became widespread. The first chess column appeared in the newspaper Bakinsky Rabochy in the early 1920s. In 1923 the first Baku championship took place, won by brothers Vladimir and Mikhail Makogonov. In 1924, a conference of Komsomol (Young Communist League) and trade unions set about promoting chess, leading to the participation of Fedor Duz-Khotimirsky and Nikolai Grigoriev in a tournament in Baku. Towards the end of the 1920s, a number of strong young players emerged, including the Sarychev and Danilov brothers, O. Rostovtsev, N. Doktorsky, K. Selimkhanov and A. Bilibin. Lectures and simultaneous exhibitions stimulated interest in chess in Azerbaijan. On May 2–3, 1929, a match between teams from Baku and Tbilisi was held on 8 boards in Baku.

In 1934 the first Azerbaijani Championship took place. This was won by Selimkhanov,[2] who in 1935 became chairman of the Azerbaijan Chess Organization. in 1936 the first Women's Championship was held, won by Rozhdestvenskaya. In 1936, A. Polisskaya of Baku became women's champion of the South Caucasus. In 1938, a women's chess school was opened at the Baku Chess and Checkers Club.

During the Second World War, there was little competitive chess in Azerbaijan. In 1942 there was a match between Salo Flohr and Vladimir Makogonov in Baku; the match was abandoned after 10 games with Makogonov leading 5½-4½.[3] In June–July 1943, Flohr won a double round tournament with a score of 5/8 ahead of Makogonov, David Bronstein, Archil Ebralidze and Suren Abramyan.[4] The championship of the Republic of Azerbaijan was held annually from 1947.

The active development of chess in Azerbaijan began in the 1950s. The Baku Pioneer Palace Chess Club, led by Suren Abramyan, played an important role in the development of junior chess. Sports clubs such as Neftchi, Spartak, Nauka, Energiya, Medik, Iskra and others had active chess departments. These initiatives also contributed to the success of Vladimir Makogonov, Azerbaijan's leading player. The Azerbaijan women's championships has been held regularly since 1960.

In the 1950s, A.Zeynalli, S.Khalilbeyli (the 1st Azerbaijani master on chess) and V.Bagirov (repeated republic champion) became the leaders of the Republic chess-players. Elmar Magerramov, F.Sideifzade, O.Pavlenko, B.Levitas, L.Listengarten, O.Privorotskiy, G.Govashelishvili, L.Guldin, A.Morgulev and R.Korsunskiy won in championships. E.Sardarov, A.Shakhtakhtinskiy, R.Amirkhanov and D.Abakarov participated in competitions successfully.

In 1970-1980’s, advance a number of young chess-players: A.Huseynov (champion of the South Caucasus, 1982), A.Shakarov, A.Velibeyov, S.Suleymanov, K.Askaryan, A.Avshalumov, Kh.Rasulov, S.Guliyev, Jabbarov brothers, G.Gojayev and others. In the 1980s, Garry Kasparov achieved great successes and became the world champion. T.Zatulovskaya, M.Martirosova, N.Avanesova (Karakashyan), A.Tokarjevskaya, A.Gorbuleva, A.Pirbudagova, Kh.Nabiyeva, S.Alasgarova, V.Jebrayilova, N.Agababayan, A.Saakova, E.Aliyeva, A.Sofiyeva (Champion of the USSR among girls, 1986) successfully participated in championships and other competitions. Women's national team of the Republic was the winner of a Sport Contest of the USSR nations (1986).

Besides the chess circle of Baku Palace of Pioneers and Pupils named after Y.Gagarin (including alumni – Kasparov, Bagirov, Zatulovskaya, Maharramov and others), such unions as “Spartak”, “Burevestnik”, “Neftchi”, “Dinamo” and others in rural areas- “Mehsul” union, which opened chess clubs were also engaged in chess. The 1st Baku Children and Youth Chess School of Azerbaijan (since 1982-Republic sport school of chess of the Ministry of Education of Azerbaijan) was established in 1968. From the late 1970s, more than 50 sport schools for children and youth were opened in districts of the Republic. Annual chess festivals of pupils are held since 1982.

In Baku were held great All-union and international competitions: 29th and 49th Men's championships of the country (1961–1972); 23rd Women's championship (1963); 20th international tournament of the Central Chess Club of the USSR; Baku tournaments. National team of Azerbaijan participated in team championships of the USSR: in 1951-the 5th; 1958-10th; 1960-the 9th; 1952-10th; 1969 and 1972 – the 9th; 1981-14th; 1985-the 7th and 8th places. Team of the Republic participated in sport competitions of the USSR nations: in 1959, 1963, 1967 – the 9th; 1975 – the 11th; 1979 the 13th; 1983 – the 11th; 1986 - the 14th (men) and 1st places (women).

Individual statistics[edit]

As of November 2013

FIDE, the World Chess Federation, lists 15 active Azerbaijani grandmasters, 4 woman grandmasters, 10 international masters and 4 woman international masters.[5]

Men[edit]

The Top 10 Azerbaijani grandmasters as of June 2017 are listed below.[6]

Azerbaijani men players in FIDE
# Player Birth year GM Title Rating World rank[n 1]
1 Mamedyarov, ShakhriyarShakhriyar Mamedyarov 1985 2002 2800 5
2 Radjabov, TeimourTeimour Radjabov 1987 2001 2724 28
3 Naiditsch, ArkadijArkadij Naiditsch 1985 2001 2712 34
4 Mamedov, RaufRauf Mamedov 1988 2004 2689 58
5 Safarli, EltajEltaj Safarli 1992 2008 2656 96
6 Huseynov, QadirQadir Huseynov 1986 2002 2645 118
7 Durarbayli, VasifVasif Durarbayli 1992 2010 2630 157
8 Mammadov, NijatNijat Mammadov 1985 2006 2597 250
9 Guliyev, NamigNamig Guliyev 1974 2005 2568 362
10 Abasov, NijatNijat Abasov 1995 2011 2566 375

Women[edit]

The Top 10 women Azerbaijani chess players are listed below as of June 2017.[7]

Azerbaijani women players in FIDE
# Player Birth year Title Rating World rank[n 2]
1 Mammadzada, GunayGunay Mammadzada 2000 WGM 2368 95
2 Mammadova, GulnarGulnar Mammadova 1991 IM 2362 109
3 Fataliyeva, UlviyyaUlviyya Fataliyeva 1996 WIM 2341 132
4 Hojjatova, AydanAydan Hojjatova 1999 WFM 2308 184
5 Mamedyarova, ZeinabZeinab Mamedyarova 1983 WGM 2289 212
6 Balajayeva, KhanimKhanim Balajayeva 2001 WFM 2283 228
7 Kazimova, NarminNarmin Kazimova 1993 WGM 2274 250
8 Abdulla, KhayalaKhayala Abdulla 1993 WGM 2262 273
9 Mamedyarova, TurkanTurkan Mamedyarova 1989 WGM 2260 278
10 Khalafova, NarminNarmin Khalafova 1994 WIM 2237 335

Team records[edit]

Chess Olympiads[edit]

Men's
Year Event Location Players Position Ref
1994 31st Chess Olympiad Russia Moscow, Russia S.Guliyev, Hajily, N.Guliyev, Bedgarani, Ibrahimov, Allahverdiyev
36
[8]
1998 33rd Chess Olympiad Russia Elista, Russia Huseynov, Guliyev, Hajily, Allahverdiyev, Mirzoev, Maherramzade
43
[9]
2000 34th Chess Olympiad Turkey Istanbul, Turkey Zulfugarli, Maherramzade, Mirzoev, Bagirov, Mamedyarov, Mammadov
46
[10]
2002 35th Chess Olympiad Slovenia Bled, Slovenia Radjabov, Gashimov, Huseynov, Mamedyarov, Ibrahimov, Maherramzade
30
[11]
2004 36th Chess Olympiad Spain Calviá, Spain Radjabov, Gashimov, Huseynov, Mamedyarov, Mamedov, Ibrahimov
22
[12]
2006 37th Chess Olympiad Italy Turin, Italy Radjabov, Gashimov, Huseynov, Guliyev, Mamedov, Durarbeyli
24
[13]
2008 38th Chess Olympiad Germany Dresden, Germany Radjabov, Gashimov, Huseynov, Mamedov, Mamedyarov
6
[14]
2010 39th Chess Olympiad Russia Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia Radjabov, Safarli, Huseynov, Mamedov, Mamedyarov
12
[15]
2012 40th Chess Olympiad Turkey Istanbul, Turkey Radjabov, Safarli, Huseynov, Mamedov, Mamedyarov
10
[16]
2014 41st Chess Olympiad Norway Tromsø, Norway Radjabov, Safarli, Huseynov, Mamedov, Mamedyarov
5
[17]
2016 42nd Chess Olympiad Azerbaijan Baku, Azerbaijan Sh.Mamedyarov, T.Radjabov, R.Mamedov, A.Naiditsch, E.Safarli
12
[18]
Women's
Year Event Location Players Position Ref
1992 30th Chess Olympiad Philippines Manila, Philippines Sofiyeva, Velikhanli, Kadimova, Babayeva
7
[19]
1994 31st Chess Olympiad Russia Moscow, Russia Sofiyeva, Velikhanli, Kadimova, Babayeva
18
[20]
1998 33rd Chess Olympiad Russia Elista, Russia Aliyeva, Mammadyarova, Shukurova
30
[21]
2000 34th Chess Olympiad Turkey Istanbul, Turkey Babayeva, Aliyeva, Shukurova, Mammadyarova
21
[22]
2002 35th Chess Olympiad Slovenia Bled, Slovenia Velikhanli, Shukurova, Z.Mammadyarova, T.Mammadyarova
8
[23]
2004 36th Chess Olympiad Spain Calviá, Spain Mammadyarova, Shukurova, Velikhanli, Khudaverdiyeva
22
[24]
2006 37th Chess Olympiad Italy Turin, Italy Isgandarova, Umudova, Agasiyeva, Avdeeva
51
[25]
2008 38th Chess Olympiad Germany Dresden, Germany Z.Mammadyarova, T.Mammadyarova, Umudova, Isgandarova, Kazimova
31
[26]
2010 39th Chess Olympiad Russia Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia Z.Mammadyarova, T.Mammadyarova, Mammadova, Isgandarova, Umudova
7
[27]
2012 40th Chess Olympiad Turkey Istanbul, Turkey Z.Mammadyarova, T.Mammadyarova, Mammadova, Isgandarova, Umudova
28
[28]
2014 41st Chess Olympiad Norway Tromsø, Norway Z.Mammadyarova, T.Mammadyarova, Mammadova, Abdulla, Ibrahimova
23
[29]
2016 42nd Chess Olympiad Azerbaijan Baku, Azerbaijan Z.Mamedyarova, G.Mammadzada, G.Mammadova, A.Hojjatova, N.Kazimova
8
[30]

World Team Championships[edit]

Men's
Year Location Players Position Ref
2010 Turkey Bursa, Turkey Radjabov, Mammadov, Huseynov, Mamedov, Mamedyarov, Gashimov
4
[31]
2011 China Ningbo, China Radjabov, Huseynov, Mamedov, Mamedyarov, Gashimov
7
[32]
2013 Turkey Antalya, Turkey Mamedov, Safarli, Huseynov, Mammadov, Durarbayli
8
[33]

European Team Championships[edit]

Men's
Armenia vs Azerbaijan at the 2011 European Team Chess Championship. Levon Aronian (left) and Teimour Radjabov (right) pictured in the foreground.
Year Location Players Position Ref
1992 Hungary Debrecen, Hungary
40
[34]
1997 Croatia Pula, Coratia Guliyev, Huseynov, Allakhverdiev, Hajily, Sideif-sade
15
[35]
1999 Georgia (country) Batumi, Georgia Bagirov, Hajily, Zulfugarli, Ibrahimov
22
[36]
2001 Spain León, Spain Radjabov, Gashimov, Ibrahimov, Mamedyarov
22
[37]
2003 Bulgaria Plovdiv, Bulgaria Radjabov, Mamedyarov, Huseynov, Ibrahimov, Sideif-sade
16
[38]
2005 Sweden Gothenburg, Sweden Radjabov, Mamedyarov, Huseynov, Gashimov, Guliyev
9
[39]
2007 Greece Heraklion, Greece Radjabov, Mamedyarov, Huseynov, Gashimov, Mamedov
3rd, bronze medalist(s)
[40]
2009 Serbia Novi Sad, Serbia Radjabov, Mamedyarov, Huseynov, Gashimov, Mamedov
1st, gold medalist(s)
[41]
2011 Greece Heraklion, Greece Radjabov, Mamedyarov, Huseynov, Gashimov, Safarli
2nd, silver medalist(s)
[42]
2013 Poland Warsaw, Poland Radjabov, Mamedyarov, Huseynov, Safarli, Mamedov
1st, gold medalist(s)
[43]
Women's
Year Location Players Position Ref
1992 Hungary Debrecen, Hungary Velikhanli, Kadimova
3rd, bronze medalist(s)
[44]
1997 Croatia Pula, Coratia Velikhanli, Aliyeva, Kadimova
12
[45]
1999 Georgia (country) Batumi, Georgia Babayeva, Shukurova
13
[46]
2001 Spain León, Spain Z.Mamedyarova, Shukurova
8
[47]
2003 Bulgaria Plovdiv, Bulgaria Z.Mamedyarova, T.Mamedyarova
17
[48]
2007 Greece Heraklion, Greece Z.Mamedyarova, T.Mamedyarova, Kadimova, Umudova, Isgandarova
10
[49]
2009 Serbia Novi Sad, Serbia Z.Mamedyarova, T.Mamedyarova, Kazimova, Mammadova, Isgandarova
4
[50]
2011 Greece Porto Carras, Greece Z.Mamedyarova, T.Mamedyarova, Kazimova, Mammadova, Umudova
20
[51]
2013 Poland Warsaw, Poland Z.Mamedyarova, T.Mamedyarova, Abdulla, Mammadova, Umudova
20
[52]

Correspondence chess[edit]

Correspondence chess competitions are held from the mid 1970s. In 1976, a commission on correspondence game was established under the Chess Federation of Azerbaijan; 4 championships were held in Azerbaijan (winners – L.Voloshin (1974–1975); S.Vdovin (1977–1978); V.Tsaturyan (1981–1983); S.Serebryakov (1984–1985)). Baku citizen P.Atyeshev took the 1st place at the 2nd championship of thye USSR and in correspondence he became the champion of the 3rd Olympiad as a member of the USSR team. Azerbaijani team took the 11th place among 13 teams in the 5th championship of the USSR (in the 6th championship 10-11th places among 17, in 7th championship the 3rd place among 17 teams).

Chess composition[edit]

Initial activity of the chess composition in Azerbaijan is connected to A.Gurvich. In the 1920s, problems and endgames of Sarychev brothers were published in “Bakinskiy Rabochiy” newspaper. In 1970, a Commission on Composition was created under the Chess Federation of Azerbaijan. Its first chairman was master A.Sarychev. The following people won in the championships of Azerbaijan:

  • The 1st (1974) – N.Gulamov - twomover, A.Sarychev - endgames;
  • The 2nd (1974–1977) – Gulamov - twomover, R.Alovsatzade - threemover, S.Khachaturov - moremover, Sarychev - endgames;
  • The 3rd (open, 1977–1979) – V.Melnichenko - twomovement, A.Kalinin - threemover, A.Popandopulo - moremover, Alovsatzade - helpmate, M.Vahidov – selfmate;
  • The 4th (1983) – Rauf Adigozalzade – twomovers and moremovers, Z.Eyvazova – threemovers, Sarychev – endgames;
  • The 5th (open, 1985) – S.Shedey – twomovers, V.Kopayev – threemovers, Khachaturov – moremovers, G.Nadareishvili – endgames, A.Pankartyev-helpmate and selfmate.

National team of Azerbaijan took the 8th place in the 8th All-Union Team Championship of Chess Compositors (1972–1973), the 9th place in the 9th (1975–1976), 4th place in the 10th (1977–1978), 8th place in the 11th (1981–1982) and 7th place in the 12th (1984–1985).

A number of composers achieved success in the All-Union and international contests: Sarychev (endgames) – the 2nd place in Olympiad in Leipzig (1961) and the 1st place in international contests of such magazines as “New statesman” (1961, 1977), “Shakkelet (1970), “Ceskoslovenski schah” (1977); B.Baday (endgames) – the first place in a contest of “Shahmati v SSSR” (1961) magazine and in a contest to A.Kubbel; Khachaturov – the 1st place in thematic contest of moremoves (1973); e.Yusupov – he 1st place in a contest of the Roman magazine “Revista Romine de shah (1976); Rauf Adigozalzade and Vahidov (twomovers) – the 1st place in international contests of “Student” newspaper (Yugoslavia; 1979–1980) and others; A.Zygalov – the 1st place in international contests of “Tem-64” (France;1979) magazine and in Hungary (1982).

Published books[edit]

The first chess books – “Iqra v shahmati” (Chess game) (1982) and “Nachalniy kurs shahmatnoy iqri”(Essentials of chess game) (1932) by R.Safarova. “Course of chess lections” M.Eyve (1936) and “Chess codex of the USSR” (1938) were also published in Azerbaijani. From March, 1981 a biweekly attachment called “Chess” was published in the Republican newspaper “Sport” in Russian and Azerbaijani languages. Regular chess headings were published in “Kommunist”, “Bakinskiy rabochiy”, “Vishka” newspapers and in district newspapers. Television organizes programs called “Chess club” and “Schools of chess coaches” two times in a month.

Chess and Azerbaijani literature[edit]

Chess took an important place in Azerbaijani literature. A German professor Meier gave explanation to Azerbaijani poet Mahsati Genjevi’s rubai about chess, in a book called “Beautiful Mahsati’ published in 1963, in Wiesbaden.

Khagani Shirvani, poet of the 12th century, in his work "Tohfatul Iraqeyn" writes that connection of rooks in chess enables threat and it is very dangerous for an enemy. Chess motifs are also reflected in works of the great classic Azerbaijani literature - Nizami Ganjavi. A frequent tracing of chess game are in all poems included to Khamse. Haji Ali Tebrizi, living in the 14th century, could play chess without looking, simultaneously with four players. He gained a name of the first chess-player, becoming the winner among all strongest chess-players not only in his country and also in the whole empire of Timur. In his “Leyli and Majnun” poem Fuzuli, giving a deep meaning to formation of chess figures and comparing Mejnun with himself wrote that despite Majnun lived in the more earlier historical period there is always a pawn in the world of love, while he is (Fuzuli) the king and despite that the pawn stands in front of the king he prefers to be the pawn and Majnun, who came to life earlier is just a pawn standing in front of the king.

Azerbaijan's national team of men[edit]

Men's team of Azerbaijan
President of the Azerbaijan Chess Federation Elman Rustamov (left) and President of the World Chess Federation FIDE Kirsan Ilyumzhinov.
No. Participant Team Current rating
1 Shakhriyar Mamedyarov National team of Azerbaijan 2757
2 Teimour Radjabov National team of Azerbaijan 2715
3 Eltaj Safarli National team of Azerbaijan 2653
4 Rauf Mamedov National team of Azerbaijan 2647
5 Qadir Huseynov National team of Azerbaijan 2607

The National team of Azerbaijan became the third team in the history of chess, which won a match against the combined team of the world. The first similar game was held in 1970, in Belgrade, where the combined tam of the USSR wan the combined team of the world with a score of 20,5:19,5. The Soviet chess-players repeated their achievement in 1984, but this time in London, winning the compound team of the world with a score of 21:19. But in 2002, in Moscow, during the third meeting, compound team of Russia yielded to the world grand, where also played Azerbaijani grandmaster Teymur Rajabov with a score of 48:52.

On October 30, 2009 Men’s Compound Chess Team of Azerbaijan became a champion of Team championship of Europe in a Serb city Novi Sad.[53] Vugar Gashimov brought victory to the team, after a long struggle with Daniël Stellwagen. The other three parts finished in a draw. As a result, Azerbaijan gained 15 points and outrun Russia with 1 point, winning the world title.

On November 17, 2013 Men’s Compound Chess Team of Azerbaijan for the second time in history became champion of Team championship of Europe in a Polish city Warsaw. Azerbaijan played a 2-2 draw against Armenia in the final ninth round of the Open tournament. In a very important match Russia beat France 2.5-1.5. This allowed the Azerbaijani team to set above France in the tournament table and come first. In the final our team gained 14 points. France is second (13 points) and Russia is a bronze winner with its 13 points.[54]

International chess competitions in Baku[edit]

Baku Grand-Prix 2008[edit]

The first series of Grand Prix of 2008-2009’s, held in Baku from April 20 to May 6, 2008. Category was 19th. Middle rate of participants – 2717. The following people became winners:

Cup of the President of Azerbaijan[edit]

A meeting of Azerbaijan’s National team against the World’s Compound team in which the guests won with a score of 21,5-10,5, was held from May 7 to 9, 2009, on the stage of “Uns” theatre in Baku and was held under the President’s Cup dedicated to the memory of Heydar Aliyev.[55][56] Structures of the teams were the following:

The participants of the tournament on the stage of "Uns" theatre
No. Participant Team Country
1 Teimour Radjabov National team of Azerbaijan Azerbaijan
2 Vugar Gashimov National team of Azerbaijan Azerbaijan
3 Shakhriyar Mamedyarov National team of Azerbaijan Azerbaijan
4 Qadir Huseynov National team of Azerbaijan Azerbaijan
5 Rauf Mamedov National team of Azerbaijan Azerbaijan
6 Viswanathan Anand Combined team of the world (FIDE) India
7 Vladimir Kramnik Combined team of the world (FIDE) Russia
8 Alexei Shirov Combined team of the world (FIDE) Spain
9 Sergey Karjakin Combined team of the world (FIDE) Ukraine

Women’s Chess Tournament “Baku-2007”[edit]

Women’s Chess Tournament “Baku 2007” was held in 2007, in Baku, with participation of such famous chess-players as Antoaneta Stefanova from Bulgaria – ex-champion of the world, Kateryna Lahno from Ukraine – twice champion of Europe, Monika Soćko from Poland – winner of team championship of Europe in 2005 and others.

References[edit]

Notes

  1. ^ active players only
  2. ^ active female players only

Citations

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  52. ^ "19th European Team Chess Championship: Warsaw 2013". etcc2013. Retrieved November 17, 2013. 
  53. ^ "Чемпионами Европы по шахматам стали сборные Азербайджана и России". 
  54. ^ "Azerbaijani national chess team becomes European chess champion in Poland". 
  55. ^ "Ананд догнал Каспарова в Баку". 
  56. ^ "Сборная мира уверенно побеждает на Кубке Президента". 

Literature[edit]

  • Кулиев Ш., Страницы из нашей шахмат истории, Баку, 1966 (на азербайджанском языке);
  • Султанов Ч. А., Гасанов Ф. 3., Шахматы в Азербайджане, Баку, 1980 (на азербайджанском языке);
  • Сарычев А. В., Шахматная композиция в Азербайджане, Баку, 1985 (на азербайджанском языке).

External links[edit]