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2012 Chess Olympiad: a hero's welcome for the Armenian team

9/12/2012 – When you see the pictures in our report, and especially when you watch the video, you have to think for yourself: if my country had won Gold at a chess Olympiad, would the reception in Moscow, New York, Frankfurt, Paris, Beijing, wherever, have been similarly effusive? The Armenian government and chess fans provided a wonderful reception for their warriors returning from Istanbul.

The 40th Chess Olympiad took place in the Turkish metropole of Istanbul, from August 27 to September 10th, 2012. A record of 158 national chess federations brought teams to Istanbul to participate in this prestigious event, which was won by the Armenian team (in the Open section).

Reception of the Armenian Team in Yerevan

Armenia's President Serzh Sargsyan, who is also the chairman of the Armenian Chess Federation, met the three-time Olympiad champions at Zvartnots Airport in Yerevan. An army of chess fans and gathered there, and greeted with great jubilation. Our players stepped off the plane to the sound of an orchestra playing the national anthem of Armenia. They were the star team that won the title of Olympic champion: international grandmasters Levon Aronian, Gabriel Sargsyan, Tigran L. Petrosyan, Vladimir Akopian and Sergei Movsesian. After the official ceremony the champions, led by Serzh Sargsyan, went to Liberty Square to participate in a gala concert in their honor. The mayor of Yerevan has arranged to give the Square a festive look in honor of the victorious return of our players in the capital.

The "Gold" team of Armenia has participated in Olympiads since 1992, and in the last twenty years has brought home three gold medals. After winning Olympic bronze in 2004 in Spain, the"golden age" of the team began. Our guys were the best in 2006 in Turin, in 2008 in Dresden and now in Istanbul.

Source: Armenpress News Agency

Reception at the Presidential Palace in honor of the Armenian chess team

The President of the Republic of Armenia, Chairman of the Armenian Chess Federation Serzh Sargsyan held a reception in honor of the members of the Armenian Chess Team – three time Olympian Champions. On this occasion, there was also organized an award ceremony at the Presidential Palace. Congratulating all Armenians on the occasion of the victory in the 40th world Chess Olympiad, President Sargsyan said, in part:

“Very few countries have been able to register success like this one in the history of the Chess Olympiads, and that fact fills our hearts with pride. To be more precise, only teams of the Soviet Union, Russia and Armenia won the Olympiads three or more times. The Armenian chess players continue to inspire our society with the faith in its own strength and with self-confidence. They prove with their own example that we can achieve a lot, relying upon our intellect and collective consciousness.

The Armenian Olympiad team at the Presidential Palace in Yerevan

Today, we are glorifying our heroes. They serve as an example not only to the young people but for all. In a way, they symbolize our country, the road our country and our people went down in the past and will go down in the future. When we state that humans are the greatest resource for our development, we mean human qualities just like these ones – strong, competitive in the international field, and patriotic. Great results through small means – that’s what we do, and they prove it for the third time, leaving giants to trail behind.

The President of Armenia, Serzh Sargsyan (right), congratulates Levon Aronian

Thank you, guys, excellent job, I wish you success comparable with your modesty and let the memory of Karen Asrian as your guardian angel, lead you towards new victories.

Source: Public Radio of Armenia

Armenia: the cleverest nation on earth

Armenia – a tiny, poor country of around three million people - has won the chess Olympics twice in a row. In so doing, it has triumphed over giants like Russia, China and the US. Chess is pursued fanatically in many parts of the world, but nowhere more so than Armenia, where its over-the-board stars have become national celebrities. But how has little Armenia created a nation of chess geniuses – is there something in the water? Assignment investigates.

  • Listen now (25 minutes, very worthwhile, with Aronian interview)

Video impressions

Before we proceed to the pictures, which are provided by Arman Karakhanyan from Yerevan, here are video impressions of the arrival of the Armenian team in Yerevan.

Celebrations at Liberty Square in Yerevan

The victorious team travelling to Liberty Square in open limousines

They walk through the square...

... and are greeted effusively by jubilant fans

Winners: Gabriel Sargissian, Vladimir Akopian, Tigran Petrosian, Levon Aronian,
Sergei Movsesian and, holding up the trophy, captain Arshak Petrosian

A musical presentation awaits them...

... with a chess themed dance number on the stage

After that it is the turn of the players to mount the stage

Captain Petrosian speaks, Akopian, Petrosian (no relative) and Movsessian listen

Aronian, Sargissian and captain Petrossian

The hero of board one: Levon Aronian, number two in world rankings

Pictures by Arman Karakhanyan from Yerevan

Recent Chess Olympiad winners

From 1950 to 1990 there were 21 Chess Olympiads, of 18 of which the Soviet Union won Gold. After the breakup of the Communist nation Russia continued their winning streak, until 2002. Since then Gold has eluded, most narrowly in the 40th Olympiad in Istanbul, where they trailed Arminia by just a few tiebreak points. Armenia won Gold three times, Ukraine twice.

1992 30th Chess Olympiad Manila, Philippines Russia 39 Uzbekistan 35 Armenia 34½
1994 31st Chess Olympiad Moscow, Russia Russia 37½ Bosnia Herz. 35 Russia II 34½
1996 32nd Chess Olympiad Yerevan, Armenia Russia 38½ Ukraine 35 USA 34
1998 33rd Chess Olympiad Elista, Russia Russia 35½ USA 34½ Ukraine 32½
2000 34th Chess Olympiad Istanbul, Turkey Russia 38 Germany 37 Ukraine 35½
2002 35th Chess Olympiad Bled, Slovenia Russia 38½ Hungary 37½ Armenia 35
2004 36th Chess Olympiad Calviá, Spain Ukraine 39½ Russia 36½ Armenia 36½
2006 37th Chess Olympiad Turin, Italy Armenia 36 China 34 USA 33
2008 38th Chess Olympiad Dresden, Germany Armenia 19 Israel 18 USA 17
2010 39th Chess Olympiad Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia Ukraine 19 Russia 18 Israel 17
2012 40th Chess Olympiad Istanbul, Turkey Armenia 19 Russia 19 Ukraine 18
2014 41st Chess Olympiad Tromsø, Norway
2016 42nd Chess Olympiad Baku, Azerbaijan


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