Vasif Durarbayli: “If we finish in top 10, it will be a success”

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Baku, September 5, AZERTAC

Azerbaijan’s second team competing in the Open Section of the 42nd Chess Olympiad was beaten by India 3:1 in the third round. GM Vasif Durarbayli drew his game on the first board with Indian GM Pentala Harikrishna.

Vasif Durarbayli told the press conference after that game that his opponent was very strong. “My opponent was a strong grandmaster. Everything went according to plan. Unfortunately, Harikrishna did not make any mistakes and the game ended in a draw. I set up a trap for my opponent at the end of the game, but he didn’t fall for it. The first round wasn’t very successful for me either. I made a mistake in the game with a player from Mozambique, and it also ended in a draw although I was a pawn up. The first days have been difficult for me. Since I came here from America, it took a few days to overcome the jet lag.”

The Azerbaijani chess player, who is receiving education in America, said it was difficult to combine the two occupations. “It is not easy to combine studies with chess. Our team captain won’t give me the chance to do my homework, so I have a lot to catch up on after I go back to America.”

Asked about playing on the first board, Durarbayli said, “According to the rating, I am second on the team, but the decision was made that I should play on the top board. I play well against strong opponents and not so well against low-rated players. My goal is to score as many points as I can. If the worst comes to the worst, I should draw my games against strong players.”

Durarbayli touched upon the objectives of the Azerbaijan second team. “In terms of the rankings, we are in 28th place. It is quite realistic to finish in top 20. I would view this outcome as a failure. If we talk of success, we need to finish it top 10.”

The Azerbaijani grandmaster said he had not made up his mind yet regarding his future. “I am studying economics in the USA. I have not decided on my future yet. The studies are taking up a lot of my time. I play chess in my free time. There are strong players there too. Vietnam’s top player is my roommate. There are many grandmasters there. St. Louis is a good place for chess.”

Vasif Durarbayli also spoke about an interesting episode he experienced in the meeting with President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev on the eve of the Olympiad. “During the meeting, when it was my turn to introduce myself, Mr. President asked if I was also a chess player. I said that I was. And he said, ‘You look more like a wrestler’. Some of you may not know this, but I used to go in for judo before. I didn’t go too far in judo. When I drew my game against a player from Mozambique in the first round, I thought that Mr. President must have been right.”

In conclusion, Vasif Durarbayli answered a question about the captain of Azerbaijan’s second team Emil Sutovsky. “Sutovsky has been working with our team “Odlar Yurdu” for several years. We know each other very well. He makes the decisions, but our opinions are also respected.”

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