Armenia men and women teams detailed presentation
Starting today, August 30th, Chessdom.com begins the Chess Olympiad 2010 countdown. Every day until the opening ceremony in Khanty Mansiysk, a women and a men team will be presented on the main page. It will include description of the participants, their recent achievements, interviews, statements, statistics.
More than 30 teams will be featured on Chessdom, as main focus will be top participating nations, favorites, and continental leaders.
To honor the winners of the 2008 Olympiad in Dresden, the first team featured with a review will be Armenia
(Note: Georgia – winners of women section, has not yet announced their team. They will be presented together with the men team when the participants are known. All team roasters that are known are listed at the Chess Olympiad 2010 participants section.)
The Armenian Chess Federation announced the rosters for the men Chess Olympiad immediately after the national championship finished on 31st January. The men’s team, winner of the 2008 Dresden Olympiad, saw only one change as GM Avetik Grigoryan is replacing GM Tigran L.Petrosian. Grigoryan convincingly won the Armenian chess championship, finishing two points superior ahead of Petrosian. Here is the men team of Armenia.
Levon Aronian is born 6 October 1982 in Yerevan. His current rating is 2783, making him the strongest player on the list. Among his latest conquests are the FIDE Grand Prix cycle 2008–2009 (qualifying him for the Candidates tournament for the World Chess Championship 2012) and the 2009 World Rapid Chess Championship.
An early sign of his ability came when he won the 1994 World Youth Chess Championship (under-12) in Szeged with 8/9, ahead of future luminaries Étienne Bacrot, Ruslan Ponomariov, Francisco Vallejo Pons and Alexander Grischuk.
In 2002 he won the Armenian Chess Championship. In the same year he became World Junior Champion, scoring 10/13 and finishing ahead of Surya Ganguly, Artyom Timofeev, Luke McShane, Bu Xiangzhi, Pentala Harikrishna and others.
In 2004 he progressed to the third round of the 2004 FIDE World Championship before being knocked out by Pavel Smirnov. Levon Aronian became part of the international elite in 2005, shooting up to fifth place in the world. In 2005 he was part of a five-way tie for first place at the Gibtele.com Masters in Gibraltar with Zahar Efimenko, Kiril Georgiev, Alexei Shirov and Emil Sutovsky. He was the sole winner of the Karabakh 2005 International “A” Tournament. In the Russian Team Championship, he scored +5 =3 -0 with an Elo performance rating of around 2850. In December he beat Ruslan Ponomariov of Ukraine in the final round to win the World Cup in Khanty Mansiysk, Russia. After a draw in two regular games, Aronian won both Rapid games to win the event and emerge undefeated in seven rounds.
In March 2006 he took sole first place at the annual Linares chess tournament, half a point ahead of Teimour Radjabov and FIDE World Champion Veselin Topalov. In 2006 he also tied for first in the Tal Memorial. The April-July 2006 FIDE rating list ranked Aronian the number three player in the world.
In January 2007 Aronian shared first place at the category 19 Corus chess tournament in Wijk aan Zee along with Veselin Topalov and Radjabov. In May 2007 he defeated World Champion Vladimir Kramnik 4-2 in a rapid chess match.
His 2005 World Cup victory qualified him for the Candidates Tournament of the World Chess Championship 2007, being played in May-June 2007. In this tournament he played GM Magnus Carlsen, and they tied 3-3 in the initial six games, then 2-2 in rapid chess, and finally Aronian won 2-0 at blitz chess. In the finals, he defeated Shirov 3.5-2.5. This qualified him for the final stage of the World Chess Championship 2007, which was played in Mexico. There, he scored only 6 points out of 14, finishing seventh out of eight players.
In January 2008 he won the prestigious Corus chess tournament jointly with Magnus Carlsen, scoring 8/13. In March 2008 he won the Melody Amber blindfold/rapid tournament held in Nice, France, 2½ points ahead of the other nearest competitors. Apart from his first place win in the overall tournament, he also took sole first place in the Rapid section of the tournament (winning by a margin of 1½ points) and shared first place in the Blindfold section with three other chess grandmasters: Kramnik, Morozevich, and Topalov.
Aronian won the Karen Asrian Memorial rapid chess tournament in Yerevan in June 2008. He finished 8.5/14 ahead of Peter Leko.
In March 2009 he won the 18th Melody Amber blindfold/rapid tournament held in Nice, France for the second time, scoring a combined 14 points in 22 games. In the same year he took clear first place with 4 wins 1 draw and 1 loss in the 2nd Bilbao Masters.
Aronian played in the FIDE Grand Prix 2008-2009, and won the Grand Prix with one tournament to go, qualifying him for the Candidates matches for the World Chess Championship 2011. On August 3, 2009 Aronian won the World Rapid Chess Championship. In December 2009, he was awarded the title of “Honoured Master of Sport of the Republic of Armenia”.
The Olympic year 2008 was successful for Aronian in Dresden, where he won the gold medal with the Armenia team (photo report and results here)
Vladimir Akopian is born December 7, 1971. He is also holder of the “Honoured Master of Sport of the Republic of Armenia” title. His carrer started in 1986 when he won the World Under-16 Championship.
In 1991 he won the World Junior Chess Championship and in 1999 he made his way through to the final of the FIDE Knock-Out World Chess Championship, but lost to Alexander Khalifman, 3.5-2.5. In the 2004 event, he was knocked out in the quarter-finals by the player he had defeated in the 1999 semi-finals, Michael Adams.
Early in 2007, Akopian won the Gibtelecom Masters in Gibraltar with a score of 7.5/9 ahead of a group of players tied at 7/9 including Michael Adams.
Akopian was one of the contributing players on the Armenian chess team which won gold at the 2006 Chess Olympiad ahead of second placed China and third placed United States and the 38th Chess Olympiad in Dresden, 2008.
Gabriel Sargissian is born 3rd of February, 1983. Sargissian is the winner of the World Youth Chess Championship (under-14) in 1996 and the European Championship (under-16) in 1998. He won the Armenian Chess Championship in 2000 and 2003. Also, he was victorious at the tournaments of Reykjavik (2006) and Dubai (2006). After this he took the first place at the 37th Chess Olympiad (together with Levon Aronian, Vladimir Akopian, Karen Asrian, Smbat Lputian, and Artashes Minasian). In 2007 he won the Ruy Lopez Festival (Zafra, Spain, March 16-25) finishing with 6.5/7, a point-and-a-half above the rest including in particular super players Ponomariov, Sasikiran, I. Sokolov.
In 2009 he shared first place at the Chicago Open chess tournament.
Arman Pashikian is born July 28, 1987. He was the Armenian Youth Champion in 1997 and 1998, winning also a silver medal in 1999 (under-12) and in 2001 (under-14). He also took the fourth place in the European Championship. In 2003 Pashikian shared the first two places in the Armenian Championship. In 2005 he received the gold medal of the European Youth Rapid Chess Championship.
In 2009 he won the Armenian Chess Championship which gave him a place at the Olympiad team for Khanty Mansiysk 2010.
GM Avetik Grigoryan (born in 1989 and the youngest member of the team) is the 2010 Armenian Chess Champion. Just like Arman Pashikian, the title earned him a place in the Armenian Olympic team.
For more information on the Armenian team, read a full interview with Smbat Lputian here.
Elina Danielian is the leader of the Armenia women Olympiad team for Khanty Mansiysk. Recently she opened her personal website, here is the biography of Danielian as presented there:
“I was born on August 16, 1978 in Baku, Azerbaijan in the former USSR. My father introduced me with chess when I was 5 years old. My first chess achievement came at the age of 7. I took 2nd place in Championship of Baku for girls under 14. During my youth I had chess successes in different youth competitions as well. In 1988, due to well-known history, my family was forced to move to Yerevan.
In 1991, at the age of 13, I became Champion of CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) under 18 in Simferopol, though in fact this was the last USSR Championship, which had a strong participation list and it has always been a big achievement to win such a championship. The desintegration of USSR made the participation of former USSR countries possible in several big chess events such as Youth World and European Championships and of course Chess Olympiad. In my opinion it had a good effect on the chess development in the world. So our country took part in the 30th Chess Olympiad, which took place in Manila (Philippines). That was my first Olympiad, I scored 5 points out of 9 on 3rd board.
Right after the Olympiad I took part in World Championship for girls under 14 in Duisburg (Germany) and I managed to win the title. In 1993 I became World Champion again, this time in category girls under 16, in Bratislava (Slovakia). In the same year, I took bronze medal in European Championship under 20 in Litomysl (Czech Republic).
In 1994 I became vice European Champion under 18, which was held in Chania (Crete, Greece), but my big success was in Chess Olympiad in Moscow (Russia), where I showed high result on 1st board and I fulfilled my WGM-norms and became the 1st Woman Grandmaster in the whole Armenian nation.
In 2001 I had big success, when I won the title of 1st Women European Rapid Champion in Minsk (Belarus). In 2003 I was awarded with the title of International Master and in October of 2003 our team (me, Lilit Mkrtchian and Nelly Aginian) became Womean Team European Champion. I showed fantastic result on 1st board, scoring 7 points out of 9 and I took gold medal on first board and for best performance overall. That was a very big success for our country and I am very proud that I had a big contribution in making our country European Champion.
In the same year, I was nominated for the best Sportsman of the Year and after voting by journalists I became “Best Sportsman of the Year” and I was awarded by the President of Armenia with State Medal “Movses Khorenatsi” for high results, Contribution and Development of chess in Armenia.
Since 2005 in cooperation and support of Mikhail Bagdasarov (businessman, well-known public figure) and Ashot Vardapetian (international chess arbiter) we founded “MIKA” chessclub. In September 2005 we were able to take part with our new club “MIKA” at European Women Club Cup. We reached to 8th place.
Success for “MIKA” team came in 2006, when I together with the legendary Maia Chiburdanidze, Nino Khurstidze, Nelly Aginian could win the title of European Women Club Champion.
In 2007 I had several successes in international tournaments. One of my achievements was my success in Kavala (Greece), where I got my first GM-norm. In October “MIKA” team took bronze medal in European Women Club Cup in Antalya (Turkey). Then in November, Armenians women national team won bronze medal at European Team Championship in Crete (Greece), where I scored 6,5 out of 9 and took silver medal on 1st board.
At the end of 2007, I was nominated in the 10 best sportsmen of the year and I was awarded by the President of Olympic Committee with Medal for Merit and Contribution in National Sport.
I joined the “Hotels.nl” team from Groningen, including some topplayers, in the season 2008-2009. Our team became 2nd in the Dutch National Competition.
In October of 2008 with a rating of 2513, I was on 10th place in FIDE ratinglist. It was the highest ranking in the World ever for an Armenian woman chessplayer.
In 2009 FIDE started to organize Women Grand Prix tournament series and the first tournament of the series was held in Istanbul (Turkey), where I was invited by personal nomination of FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. I am very thankful to Kirsan Nikolayevich for such a big honour, in which I had a big success scoring 8 out of 11, winning silver medal and getting my 2nd GM-norm.
In 2008 a big and happy change happened in my personal life. I got married to Alexander van Pelt in July in Yerevan. Since that period my new residence is in Winschoten, a small beautiful town in the region Groningen, in the north of The Netherlands, but of course I also spend time in Yerevan.”
Read more at Danielian’s official website
Lilit Mkrtchian is one of the most solid second boards for the women section of the Chess Olympiad in Khanty Mansiysk. Lilit Mkrtchian is a silver medal winner in the European Individual Chess Championship in Varna, Bulgaria scoring 8.5/11 points. She also took the bronze medal at the seventh European Individual Championship 2006 held in Kuşadası, Turkey, scoring 7½/11 points.
Among her team event achievements is the European Team Championship in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, in 2003, helping Armenia win the gold medal.
Lilit Mkrtchian participated in the World Women Chess Championship in Nalchik where she reached the quater finals, interview during this event here.
In December 2009, she took tenth position in the list of best sportspeople of Armenia in 2009.
Lilit Galojan is the 2009 Armenian Chess Champion. Among her achievements are 1995: Champion of Armenian girls, Under-12;1997: Champion of Armenian girls, Under-14; 1998: Champion of Yerevan, then of Armenia, Under-16;
1999: Champion of Armenian girls, Under-18; Champion Women Tournament organized by CCHA;2001, 2002: Vice-Champion of Armenia /High League.
Her most recent tournament was the György Marx Memorial
Nelly Aginian is a member of the successful Armenian women’s national team. In 1996, she played in her hometown of Yerevan in her first chess Olympiad. By 2008, she had participated in seven Chess Olympyads with a personal total of 22.5 points from 43 games (14 victories, 17 draws, 12 losses). Since 2003, she has played for four teams in championships. She won the European Team Championship in 2003 in Plovdiv as Armenia’s reserve player. In 2007 in Heraklion, the team won a bronze medal with Nelly Aginian’s victory on the third board valued highly in the last round against a nearly 200 Elo points higher player. The chess club for which she plays is MIKA Yerevan in Armenia, with whom she won the European Club Cup 2006.
In March 2001, Nelli Aghinjan became an International Champion of Women (WIM) and since May 2005, she has the title women Grand Master (WGM).
Anahit Kharatyan is the 2010 Armenia chess champion. Her success came only one year after she finished last in the 2009 Armenia Chess Championship. She is born in 1987 and her current FIDE rating is 2080, but will be a valuable member in the rotation of the team against weaker opposition