Shakhriyar Mamedyarov is a chess grandmaster hailing from Azerbaijan. Born on April 12, 1985, Mamedyarov has become one of the most prominent chess players in the world. He has established himself as a force to be reckoned with, consistently ranking among the top chess players globally. In this article, we will dive into five interesting facts about this incredible grandmaster, exploring his journey, accomplishments, and unique qualities.
Early Beginnings and Rapid Progress
Shakhriyar Mamedyarov began his chess journey at the tender age of six. His family, especially his father, played a crucial role in nurturing his talent. His father was a chess enthusiast and introduced young Shakhriyar to the game.
Mamedyarov’s progress was nothing short of remarkable. At the age of 12, he earned the title of FIDE Master, and by 16, he had become an International Master. In 2002, at the age of 17, he was awarded the prestigious title of Grandmaster, making him one of the youngest grandmasters in history at that time.
A Three-Time World Junior Chess Champion:
Mamedyarov has achieved exceptional success in his career, starting with his victories as a junior player. He won the World Junior Chess Championship three times – in 2003, 2005, and 2007. This impressive accomplishment remains unmatched by any other player in the history of the championship.
Mamedyarov’s victories in these tournaments helped him establish his reputation on the world stage and set the stage for his future successes.
Reaching the Elite 2800 Club
In 2018, Mamedyarov accomplished another significant milestone in his chess career: breaking into the elite 2800 Elo rating club. This club comprises an exclusive group of chess players who have achieved a FIDE rating of 2800 or higher. Mamedyarov is the first Azerbaijani chess player to achieve this honor, solidifying his place among the world’s chess elite. His highest Elo rating to date is 2820, which he achieved in September 2018.
Remarkable Team Performances
Shakhriyar Mamedyarov has been a key player in Azerbaijan’s national chess team, contributing to numerous successes on the international stage. He has participated in several Chess Olympiads, helping his team secure multiple top finishes.
In 2016, the Azerbaijani team, led by Mamedyarov, won the gold medal in the European Team Chess Championship. This victory marked a significant milestone for Azerbaijan, as it was their first gold medal in this prestigious event.
Unique Style and Famous Sacrifices
Mamedyarov is renowned for his aggressive and tactical style of play. He is not afraid to take risks and often surprises his opponents with creative sacrifices. One of his most famous sacrifices occurred in the 2013 World Team Chess Championship against Russian Grandmaster Sergey Karjakin.
Mamedyarov executed a stunning queen sacrifice, which ultimately led to his victory in the game. This bold move is still remembered as one of the most fascinating sacrifices in recent chess history.
Sibling Success in Chess
Shakhriyar Mamedyarov’s talent for chess runs in the family. His two older sisters, Zeinab and Turkan, are both Woman Grandmasters (WGM). They have represented Azerbaijan in various international tournaments, including Chess Olympiads and Women’s World Chess Championships. The Mamedyarov siblings’ collective achievements make them one of the most successful chess families in Azerbaijan.
Influential Chess Coach
Mamedyarov’s exceptional skills and accomplishments can be partly attributed to his long-time coach, Vladimir Tukmakov. Tukmakov, a Ukrainian Grandmaster and respected chess trainer, has worked with numerous top-level players, including Wesley So and Anish Giri. Mamedyarov’s collaboration with Tukmakov has helped him refine his style and maintain his position among the chess elite.
A Fierce Competitor in the FIDE Grand Prix Series
Shakhriyar Mamedyarov has demonstrated his prowess in the FIDE Grand Prix, a series of prestigious tournaments that determine the challengers for the World Chess Championship title. In 2013, he won the Grand Prix event in Beijing, and in 2017, he secured first place in the Grand Prix series, earning him the right to compete in the 2018 Candidates Tournament.
Performance in the Candidates Tournament
Mamedyarov’s success in the 2017 FIDE Grand Prix led to his participation in the 2018 Candidates Tournament, where he had the opportunity to compete for a chance to challenge the reigning World Chess Champion, Magnus Carlsen.
He finished in third place, just half a point behind the eventual winner, Fabiano Caruana, and Sergey Karjakin. Despite not winning the tournament, his strong performance in this elite event further cemented his status as one of the world’s top chess players.
Chess Ambassador and Philanthropist
Apart from his achievements in the chess world, Mamedyarov is also dedicated to promoting the game and supporting the next generation of players. He frequently participates in chess workshops, seminars, and simultaneous exhibitions, sharing his knowledge and experience with aspiring chess players. In 2019, Mamedyarov established the “Shakhriyar Mamedyarov Chess School” in Baku, Azerbaijan, with the aim of nurturing young talents and popularizing chess in his home country.
Shakhriyar Mamedyarov’s journey in the world of chess is marked by his determination, passion, and exceptional talent. His unique style and dedication to the game have made him one of the most exciting chess players to watch. As he continues to break barriers and achieve milestones, Mamedyarov’s contributions to chess history will not be forgotten.
Mamedyarov’s accomplishments extend beyond his numerous victories and high ratings. His passion for the game, commitment to fostering new talents, and the strong bond he shares with his chess-playing family make him a unique figure in the chess world. With his continuing dedication to the sport, Mamedyarov is likely to inspire future generations of chess enthusiasts for years to come