Zurab Azmaiparashvili

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Zurab Azmaiparashvili
ზურაბ აზმაიფარაშვილი
Zurab Azmaiparashvili, 2007
Born (1960-03-16) 16 March 1960 (age 64)
Tbilisi, Georgian SSR, Soviet Union
TitleGrandmaster (1988)
FIDE rating2637 (May 2024)
Peak rating2702 (July 2003)
Peak rankingNo. 11 (January 1993)

Zurab Azmaiparashvili (Georgian: ზურაბ აზმაიფარაშვილი; born 16 March 1960) is a chess grandmaster from Georgia. His peak Elo rating was 2702, achieved in July 2003. He is currently, as of 2024, the president of the European Chess Union.


Azmaiparashvili became a Grandmaster in 1988. Among his achievements are a 2810 performance rating at the 1998 Chess Olympiad and first-place finishes at Pavlodar 1982, Moscow 1986, Albena 1986, Tbilisi 1986, London (Lloyds Bank Open) 1989, and in the 2003 European Individual Chess Championship in Silivri. In 2010 he tied for 1st–2nd with IM Oliver Barbosa in the 1st ASEAN Chess Championship in Singapore, and won the event on tie-break.[2]

Azmaiparashvili is active in chess politics. He is President of the European Chess Union and a vice-president of international chess federation FIDE.

In August 2009, he was appointed as captain of Azerbaijani chess team and won European Team Chess Championship in Novi Sad (Serbia).[3][4]


Azmaiparashvili was alleged to have rigged the results of the Strumica tournament of 1995 to boost his rating. The tournament, in which he played 18 rounds against significantly weaker opponents, is generally regarded as an illegitimate event.[5][6][7][8] In 2003, Sveshnikov referred to the Azmaiparashvili incident and similar case involving Alexandru Crișan as "open secrets", at a time when both purported culprits were heavily involved in FIDE politics.[9]

In winning the 2003 European Championship in Istanbul, Azmaiparashvili retracted a move against Vladimir Malakhov (who subsequently finished second). By retracting his blunder and playing a sensible move, Azmaiparashvili won the game and the tournament. Malakhov could have enforced the rules but said that he was too shocked to react.[10]

Both grandmasters were fighting for the lead, and the encounter had huge sporting significance. In an ending that was favourable to him, Azmai[parashvili] picked up the bishop, intending to make a move with it instead of first exchanging rooks. Malakhov recalled: "Seeing that the rooks were still on the board, he said something like, 'Oh, first the exchange, of course.' put his bishop back, took my rook, and the game continued. I don't know what should have been done differently in this situation—in Azmai's place, some might have resigned immediately, and in my place, some would have demanded that he make a move with his bishop but I didn't want to ruin the logical development of the duel, so I didn't object when Azmai made a different move: the mistake was obviously nothing to do with chess! When we signed the score sheets, Azmai suggested to me that we consider the game a draw. After the game I was left with an unpleasant aftertaste, but that was due mainly to my own play."

Azmaiparashvili made chess news in 2004 when, at the closing ceremony of the 36th Chess Olympiad in Calvià, he was arrested by local police and subsequently held in custody for several days. The attitude of the event's organizers towards Azmaiparashvili had apparently been soured when, upon his arrival in Spain, he had attempted to secure himself two hotel rooms, claiming he was entitled to one in his capacity as a FIDE vice-president, and another as a player at the event. This sour mood seems to have brought him extra attention at the closing ceremony when he approached the stage, apparently in an attempt to inform FIDE officials that the organizers had neglected to award a prize named in honour of Georgian former Women's World Champion Nona Gaprindashvili. He came into conflict with security officials, and a scuffle broke out resulting in injuries both to Azmaiparashvili and a security agent. There are conflicting claims about the exact nature of said scuffle: a press release from the Olympiad organizers placed the blame squarely on Azmaiparashvili's shoulders, saying that after he had tried to gain admittance to the stage on several occasions he "without any previous provocation, assaulted the agent with a head butt to his mouth".[11] FIDE, on the other hand, blamed over-zealous policing, saying in their press release that "Despite his clear VIP identification, he was severely beaten up by several security guards".[12] Azmaiparashvili was due to appear in court on 22 July 2005, but all charges were dropped shortly beforehand.[13]

Azmaiparashvili had been criticized earlier in 2004 over arrangements for the 2004 Women's World Chess Championship when female Georgian players Lela Javakhishvili and Ana Matnadze accused him of behaving "in a hostile and intimidating manner, using inappropriate and vulgar language and bringing to tears our mothers".[14]

At the Chess World Cup 2017, where Azmaiparashvili was organizer, he berated player Anton Kovalyov for wearing shorts, racially abusing him with the slur "gypsy" and demanding that Kovalyov change ten minutes before his scheduled third-round game, leading to Kovalyov withdrawing from the tournament in response.[15] Azmaiparashvili received heavy backlash from the global chess community for this incident, including a condemnation from the Association of Chess Professionals and calls from other players demanding that he be removed from his organization roles. In an interview with Chessbase India, Azmaiparashvili stood by his decision.[16]


  1. ^ "Azmaiparashvili, Zurab". OlimpBase.
  2. ^ "Singapore International Chess Festival 2010 – Closing Ceremony". World Chess Federation. 31 December 2010. Archived from the original on 2 January 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2011.
  3. ^ "Zurab Azmaiparashvili appointed Azerbaijan captain". Interviews.chessdom.com. Archived from the original on 23 September 2009. Retrieved 21 December 2011.
  4. ^ "Novi Sad: Azerbaijan wins Gold – by one rook move". Chessbase.com. 31 October 2009. Retrieved 21 December 2011.
  5. ^ "Chess Column". Archived from the original on 14 April 2018. Retrieved 4 December 2016.
  6. ^ "The fake Heroes of Chernobyl revisited". 23 May 2005. Retrieved 4 December 2016.
  7. ^ "Evgeny Sveshnikov: "Only fools learn from their mistakes. It seems I am one of them..." – chess-news.ru". Retrieved 4 December 2016.
  8. ^ Strumica 1995, Azmai's Answer New in Chess 1996/3, page 5
  9. ^ "GrandMaster Square >>> Letter from GM Sveshnikov". Retrieved 4 December 2016.
  10. ^ Sosonko 2006, p. 102.
  11. ^ "FIDE Olympiad – Calvia, ESP Press Release by organisers on the Azmaiparashvilli arrest". Chesscenter.com. 31 October 2004. Archived from the original on 7 December 2004. Retrieved 21 December 2011.
  12. ^ [1] Archived 14 November 2004 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ "Chess News – Azmai cleared by Spanish court". ChessBase.com. 22 July 2005. Retrieved 21 December 2011.
  14. ^ "Protest by Georgian women grandmasters". ChessBase.com. 9 June 2004. Retrieved 9 April 2011.
  15. ^ "Kovalyov accusing ECU president and FIDEWorldCup organizer Azmaiparashvili of verbal abuse" – via Twitter.
  16. ^ "All about the Dress Code Scandal in Tbilisi". 19 September 2017.


  • Sosonko, Genna (2006), Smart Chip From St Petersburg: and other tales from a bygone chess area, New in Chess, p. 197, ISBN 9056911694

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