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Top Armenian GM Karen Asrian dies at 28

6/9/2008 – We have received word that one of Armenia’s leading grandmasters, Karen Asrian, died today. Apparently he suffered a heart attack while driving a car. Karen Asrian won the title of Armenian champion three times. He also earned a gold medal at the 2006 Olympiad held in Turin. His final rating, in April this year, was 2630. A terrible loss.
 

Karen Asrian, 1980–2008

Karen Asrian was born on April 24, 1980. He won the national Armenian Championship in 1999, 2007 and 2008, and the tournaments of Dubai 2001 and Stepanakert 2004. In 2006 he won a gold medal at the Chess Olympiad in Turin as a member of Armenian team, playing on board three.

Asrian had a solid playing style, refusing to take much risk on board. Combined with good endgame technique this made him an excellent team player. His highest rating was 2646 (in January 2006), his final rating 2630.

MSNBC reports that Asrian, apparently feeling ill, pulled his car into a courtyard in the Armenian capital, Yerevan, early Monday and lost consciousness. An ambulance crew pronounced him dead at the scene, possibly of a heart attack. A moment of silence was held in his memory before the opening of a speed-chess tournament in Yerevan on Monday, after his death was announced by Armenian player Smbat Lputian.


Karen Asrian in 2003, aged 23, at the European Championship in Silivri, Turkey


In 2004 in Astana with his friend GM Darmen Sadvakasov


On the right, analysing with Sergey Tiviakov and Rafael Vaganian in the 2005 European Team Championship in Göteborg


The team from Armenia celebrating their victory at the Olympiad in Turin: Akopian, Asrian (holding the flag), Sargissian and Aronian.


Karen Asrian, 2635, playing for Southern Ural Chelyabinsk at the 2007 Russian Team Championship


A recent portrait of Karen Asrian by Frits Agterdenbos (ChessVista)

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