Championship of Turkmenistan in rapid and blitz chess: do not underestimate the opponent
The Turkmenistan rapid and blitz championship started on Wednesday in the chess and checkers center of Ashgabat. The tournament was long-awaited, as a long break (as the last three years seemed to be) due to the global pandemic disrupted the schedule of international and, as a result, domestic competitions. And the official rapid and blitz championships have never been held in Turkmenistan before.
The best chess forces of the country gladly responded to this tournament - about fifty men and thirty women, from among whom it is planned to form a team for performances at international competitions. Including at the World Championship, which will be held in December in Kazakhstan. At least that's how it's planned.
Participants of the Ashgabat competitions are people of different professions, nationalities and ages. If the youngest player has not yet turned 7 years old, then the oldest has already stepped over 78. But the surprising thing is that both of them, by the will of the lot, met at the chessboard in the very first round.
Chairman of the Chess Federation of Turkmenistan Vepa Myalikgulyev congratulated the participants of the championship on its opening and granted the right to the head of ORIENT, as the information partner of the federation, to make the first symbolic move, which serves as a signal for the start of the competition.
On the first board, the most experienced chess player Karen Grigoryan from Ashgabat was supposed to play white, and Sanjarbek Avezov from Dashoguz was supposed to play black. And if your obedient servant wanted to make the first symbolic move e2–e4 (the opening of the Spanish game), universally known thanks to Ostap Bender from The Twelve Chairs, then Karen Arkadyevich, having the right to do so, asked to play d2–d4 (Queen's Gambit).
Everyone was confident in the victory of Karen Grigoryan, who once coached the women's national team of Turkmenistan. And Karen Arkadyevich himself, apparently, also intended to pass the first stage without loss. However, the party was not only stubborn, but also tiring. Young Sanjarbek, not wanting to give free rein to the most experienced Karen Arkadyevich, built combinations in such a way as to wear down his opponent. Which is what he ultimately achieved.
– Eh, it was necessary to start the game, like Ostap Ibragimovich Bender, from the Spanish Opening, – I thought. – Although this did not help him in Vasyuki, where he lost all the games to local chess players. And it would be better to tune in to a serious game even with not so experienced opponent.
However, this was not the last lesson for eminent chess players. For the first day of the Turkmenistan blitz and rapid championship continued to amaze everyone – both the organizers and participants, and the fans. At this tournament, new players loudly declared themselves, who demonstrated a good level, playing interesting games against strong opponents. Young and even very young athletes, despite the titles, regalia and experience of older chess players, played with them on an equal footing, and sometimes defeated them.
During the five rounds of the first day, the leaders were determined - both in the men's and women's categories. Five victories each - the absolute result - in the men's category for Yusup Bayramgeldiyev - a representative of the Akhal region, and in the women's category - for Lala Shokhradova from Lebap.
Although her victories were expected, because she is the most experienced chess player, a member of the national team of Turkmenistan, which has been steadily holding the bar at a fairly high professional level for many years.
Men in Turkmenistan have always loved to spend time playing chess battles, and the fact that in recent years representatives of the beautiful half of society have begun to show interest in intellectual games is very pleasing to the sports organizers of the country.
According to the results of one day of the competition, it is too early to talk about the leading regions, but at the moment we can say that the chess players of the mentioned Akhal and Lebap show more stable results.
Based on the results of the first rounds, it is not easy to predict the final results of the championship – there are 10 more rounds ahead, and the situation can change at any moment. Especially in the men's group. But not everything is clear for the women's group either, since there are several strong chess players who can present considerable surprises in subsequent rounds.
For example, in addition to the aforementioned Lala Shokhradova, a participant in the current championship is her younger sister, Leyla Shokhradova, as well as the champion of Turkmenistan Dzhemal Ovezdurdiyeva, famous chess players Gozel Myattaganova, world champion among schoolgirls Annagozel Mekanova.
So there is quite a strong competitive struggle in the women's group, and the tournament situation, like the weather in Ashgabat, can change at any moment.
ORIENT has already written that recently there has been a revival in such a sport as chess in Turkmenistan. So, at the recent Asian Championship, which was held in Delhi, where our compatriots, after a long period associated with the global pandemic, demonstrated a decent level of play in classical chess, as well as in a blitz tournament.
As for the first day of this championship, according to Secretary General of the Chess Federation of Turkmenistan, FIDE master Mergen Kakabaev, the most exciting fight unfolded on the second board between Rauf Yusupov (two-time champion of Turkmenistan among boys under 8 years old, and also under 10 years old) and Shakhrukh Turaev (spot chess master, whose rating is above 2200).
Everyone was expecting that an experienced master would quickly cope with a young athlete, but chess fortune decreed otherwise.
And we asked Secretary General of the Chess Federation of Turkmenistan Mergen Kakabaev to comment on this game.
Thus ended the game between young talent Rauf Yusupov and eminent master Shakhrukh Turaev.
On Thursday - the second day of the Turkmenistan Blitz and Rapid Championship. It, according to observers, will bring more clarity to the standings. Both the championship participants and their fans are thoroughly preparing for chess battles.
Including the smallest, in order, as they say, to comprehend the secrets of "great chess" - figuratively and literally. As in this case...