My favorite things Azerbaijan

I am arrived in Baku!  Here goes:

1. Chess player: Garry Kasparov.  Maybe the greatest player of all time?  He is not ethnic Azerbaijani, but grew up in Baku.

Teimour Radjabov.  It is amazing for how long he has gotten away with playing the King’s Indian Defense at the highest levels of chess competition.

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov.  Over the last year, he has had the best results of anyone in the chess world, including Carlsen.  His forcing style resembles that of Kasparov.

Vugar Gashimov.  He was pretty good too, passed away prematurely in 2014.

Cellist and conductorMstislav Rostropovich, born in Baku.  His Bach Cello Suites are perhaps my favorite of all extant recordings.  Here is one (different) YouTube version.  As a conductor he was uneven, but capable of spectacular live performances of Shostakovich.

Pianist: Bella Davidovich, born in Baku, especially her Chopin.

Philosopher: Max Black, also born in Baku.  He edited Frege and worked on problems from Leibniz, such as the identity of indiscernibles.

Note that numbers 1, 5, 6, and 7 on this list were Jews who emigrated to America.


"Note that numbers 1, 5, 6, and 7 on this list were Jews who emigrated to America."

Said the same thing on the post about favorite 1930s Germans.

Any U.S. politician, academic, think tanker, journalist, public intellectual, etc, who values his funding and position will pay appropriate tribute to his masters.

Senators have bill s.720, Tyler has these obeisant asides.

I think that Max Black is known more for being an interpreter of Wittgenstein than for the work you list, for what that's worth.

It seems somewhat problematic to me to list people from the Soviet Union (or even, to some extent, the former Russian empire) who lived in or were born in some part of that country as being a representative of the country when they were not of the local nationality, didn't stay there, and were to a good degree not part of the local culture, and certainly not part of the culture as it is now. It's not exactly like saying that Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt is your favorite Namibian, but also not 100% unlike that.

Jazz musician: Aziza Mustafa Zadeh (pianist and singer), daughter of the equally notable Vagif Mustafazadeh

Perhaps vous etes arrive but you are not arrived. Rather, you have arrived.

Much of Mr Cowen's writing is explained if we assume that he thinks in French. Though how a frogophone could confuse basil with mint is a knotty problem (un problème difficile).

Hasn't Tyler said that he can't speak nor read French? His languages are Spanish and German I believe.

Garry Kasparov is a hero

Outside of chess Kasparov's also bat shite crazy, believing he is a real alternative to Putin, and a believer in the Soviet pseudo-historian who believes history is an order of magnitude bigger (i.e., civilization existed millions of years ago, rather than about 10k years ago).

Indeed. His thoughts on AI and the like are similarly, um, speculative at best.

Fortunately, his nuttiness is quite benign, especially as compared to Fischer's - though not nearly as endearing as Ivanchuk's.

Ali and Nino should be your favourite Azerbaijani book:

The story of its author is great too:

King's Indian Defense creates an unbalanced position that allows both sides to play for a win. Teimour is obviously imaginative, resilient, and doesn't hesitate to create confusion in an attempt to win. Very entertaining.

A favorite of Fischer and Kasparov. You need to know a lot of theory to play it. I play The Modern instead to avoid that.

Azerbijan is the only country I've visited where the synagogue has (and apparently requires) no security.

The synagogue in the neighborhood I lived in in Philadelphia had no security, or at least not any more than any of the nearby churches or houses or stores did, meaning that they locked the door when no one was there, and might have had a burglar alarm. What sort of security are you thinking of?

Very nice. A My Favorite Things, a What I've Been Reading, and a CWT all in one day.

Wasn't Stalin a native of Baku?

Perish the thought - Stalin was a Georgian, born in Gori.

Depends on your definition. Grew up in modern-day Georgia mostly. Spent a good amount of time in Baku as an agitator / wanted criminal in his early career.

He was born in Gori, Georgia. He did spend some years in Baku at the beginning of his revolutionary career

Rostropovich's performances of the Haydn cello concertos are unabashedly joyful, and a joy to listen to.

Rostropovich's rendering of Shostakovich's 14th is creeeepy. One of my favorite classical recordings.

Quit ragging on the King's Indian Defense.

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