Azerbaijan is located on the Western shore of the Caspian Sea at the South East extremity of the Caucasus. The government is a constitutional Republic. In ancient times Northern Azerbaijan was known as Caucasian Albania. The area was the site of many conflicts involving Arabs, Kazars, and the Turks. After the 11th century, the territory became dominated by Turks and eventually was a stronghold of the Muslim religion and Islamic culture. The territory of Soviert Azerbaijan was acquired by Russia from papers is through the Treaty of Gulistan in 1813 and the Treaty of Turkamanchai in1828.
After the Bolshevik revolution, Azerbaijan declared its independence from Russia in May 1918. The Red Army reconquered the territory in 1920 and was annexed to the Soviet Socialist Republic in 1922. It was later re established as a separate Soviet Republic on 5 December 1936. Azerbaijan declared its independence from the Soviet Union on 30 August 1991.
According to modern etymology the name Azerbaijan derives from that of Atropates, a Persian Ruler under the Achaemid Empire who was later reinstated as the ruler of Media under Alexander the Great. Atropates ruled over the region of Atrophene. The name Atopates itself is the Greek transliteration of an Old Iranian compound name with the meaning Protected by the Holy Fire. Over time the name has evolved to present day Azerbaijan which means land of fire in Modern Persian.
The earliest evidence of human settlement in the territory of Aazerbaijan dates back to the late Stone Age and is related to the Guruchay Culture of the Azykh Cave. Early settlements included the Scythians in the 9th century BC. Following the Scythians, Iranian Medes came to dominate the area to the South of the Aras. The Medes forged a vast empire between 900-700 BC.
Azerbaijan is home to the first known fireplace and one of the ancient protocol human inhabitants in human history that date back to 700 000 to 500 000 years ago. The Azikh cave is also the largest cave in Azerbaijan covering 8 thousand square metered is one of the earliest human sites.
In 1879 the Nobel brothers, founders of the Nobel Prize set up their oil company in Azerbaijan as the Nobel brothers Petroleum country. Much of their wealth came from the oil industry of Azerbaijan.
It is believed that the prophet Zoroaster, the founder of Zoroastrism was born in Azerbaijan.
Baku was once a very important commercial centre on the Silk route, the trading passage on the way to China.
The literacy rate in Azerbaijan is estimated to be 99.5 percent.
The official language is Azerbaijani which is spoken by 92 percent of the population as a mother tongue. It belongs to the Turkic language family. Russian and Armenia are also spoken.
Now for chess reports!
The open team of South Africa played Romania. We lost 3.5 with Watu holding a good draw against the well known and grandmaster Mihail Marin. Watu in fact had a spatial advantage but it was good enough to win. Watu played aggressively as is his forte. Kenny on board one was out prepared by his opponent who made a move order nuance and gained the exchange. Donovan van den Heever found himself under pressure on the queen side and centre with no of his queenside pieces developed. Daniel played fifteen year old grandmaster Deac Bogdan who proceeded to beat him in an endgame. The game was objectively drawn but Deac didn’t want to draw and pressed hard against Cawdery.
South Africa has a relationship with Romania. In 2003 as Grandmaster Grigori visited South Africa upon my request and stayed with us for three months. He shared his insights with me and told me that until South African players start to play main lines we will always be on the backfoot.
In the women’s section the ladies went down 3-1 against the United Arab Emirates. Denise on board one had a spatial advantage on the queenside but then started opening up the kingside to her detriment later. Jesse February lost on time in an objectively better position. Lauren Van Niekerk essayed the Hedgehog but lost due to the fact that her pieces were mostly on the back rank. Anzel on board two played a good game when she early on sacrificed a pawn for development and then went onto attack the uncastled king. Well played by the experienced campaigner.
I will look at the other results in the morning report. In round three the ladies play Zimbabwe and the men play Myanmar.
Enjoy the evening.
Reporting live from Baku, Azerbaijan
Dr Lyndon Bouah