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January 18, 2017



The year 2016 has already become history. For Uzbekistan chess, which has seen a boom in its development in recent years, it was marked by bright victories of our compatriots in international competitions.

In early spring, the women’s team of the country, which became a double silver medalist in the Cup of Asian Nations 2016 in Abu Dhabi (UAE), cheered their fans.

Nafisa Muminova, Sarvinoz Kurbonboeva, Irina Gevorgyan, Gulruhbegim Tohirjonova and Sevara Baymuratova led by coach Vladimir Yegin took the 2nd place in the tournament for the standard chess and 2nd in the rapid-tournament of the Asian Nations Cup Open.

Last year, our youngest players earned more awards in the international arena than all the other Uzbek teams of different age categories. First, they excelled at the Asian championships in rapid, blitz and standard, winning in Ulaanbaatar nine medals, four of them gold. Among those became champions were Humoyun Begmuratov in standard games among boys under 6, Nodirbek Yakubboev in blitz and standard among boys under 14, Ortik Nigmatov in rapid speeds among youths under 16 years of age.

Then, on 10 July 2016 in Tehran (Iran), at the Asian Championship among schoolchildren in rapid chess, young players fr om Uzbekistan won two gold, two silver and one bronze medal. The first place went to Humoyun Sindarov (among boys under 7) and Afruza Hamdamova among girls under 7. There, in the blitz, two gold, one silver and one bronze medal were won.

Another children’s team led by captain Akmal Faizullaev participated in August in the international children’s chess tournament named after Mikhail Bоtvinnik among junior teams and showed the best results among the countries of Central Asia and Sukhrobjon Avalboev got awarded with Bоtvinnik Cup as one of the best players on their boards.

At the end of the year, young players made a splash in the world championship among schoolchildren in Sochi, Russia. They earned eight medals – two gold, two silver and two bronze at the standard chess, as well as the one gold and one bronze at the blitz. In addition, Uzbekistan’s national team was awarded a Special Team Award for the 1st place in the team standings.

During the year the chess players of Uzbekistan successfully participated in many international tournaments. THus, the first places were occupied by Tahir Vahidov – in the international rapid chess tournament 4th Sabah MRSM International Chess Championship 2016, Islombek Sindarov – in the international ranking tournament in standard chess Motorgas Open held in the Czech Republic, Bobur Sattorov – in the XVI international tournament Maralsay 2016.

Of particular note is the success of Nodirbek Yakubboev, who became not only the champion of Uzbekistan in 2016 among adults, but also won the bronze of the World Chess Championship among juniors under 14 in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia.

Last year, among those who received the title of International Master was Temur Kuybokarov and Shamsiddin Vohidov, as well as Gulruhbegim Tohirzhonova (the title of Women’s International Grandmaster), Bahora Abdusattorova (Women’s International Master).

But the true development of chess in the country still is less shown in the progress in youth competitions, and more by performances of the leading players of the country in world championships and major international tournaments. In this regard, with regards to the year 2016, we can boast little.

In particular, in September the capital of Azerbaijan, Baku, hosted World Chess Olympiad – the most prestigious team competition in the world, with the participation of 150 male and 140 female teams. Bоth our teams completed the Olympiad with fails – our men finished 39th, while women 22nd. Yet the women’s team could and should have done better, but their leader Nafisa Muminova in the playoffs at the finish of the tournament lost to the chess players from India and Holland, thereby “ensuring” the defeat in these matches and for the whole team. Apparently, placing Muminova, who was not in her best shape, on the first board, the national team coaches made a serious miscalculation, which brought about the final failure.

For a long time we have not seen bright victories in major tournaments of our “star” compatriot, the former world champion Rustam Kasimjanov. Even at the recent Tashkent international tournament of chess stars, dedicated to the 680th anniversary of Amir Temur, wh ere, apparently, he had to “revive old customs” and demonstrate the one time high-class game, Rustam managed to win a single game and share the third-fourth place among… (!) four participants.

It turns out that it is hardly accidental that in the world ranking Kasimjanov steadily occupies the 45th position, which does not adorn the ex-world champion.

…But all this is in the past, in 2016, and new competitions, tournaments and championships are awaiting us in 2017. Hopefully, the new year will be more successful for our players.