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News / From Our Bureaus

Armenia Wins World Chess Title, Ukraine Takes Third

Armenia takes on Hungary at the 8th World Team Chess Championship in China on July 24.
Armenia takes on Hungary at the 8th World Team Chess Championship in China on July 24.
YEREVAN -- Armenia has won the 2011 world team chess championship by edging out China and Ukraine, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

The championship, held in the eastern Chinese seaport of Ningbo on July 15-26, was contested by the national teams of the world's 10 leading chess countries and also included 2009 champion Russia, Azerbaijan, India, the United States, Egypt, Israel, and Hungary.

The Armenian team was led by Levon Aronian, the world's third-ranked player, and it dominated the 12-day tournament by winning five games and drawing four others.

It clinched the title with a draw against Ukraine and also drew against rival Azerbaijan, which finished seventh in the competition.

The Armenian team was made up mainly of players who won two consecutive world Chess Olympiads in 2006 and 2008. Those victories earned them phenomenal domestic stardom.

Chess has been one of Armenia's most popular sports since Tigran Petrosian, a Tbilisi-born Armenian, became a world champion in 1963. The country currently boasts one of the largest per capita numbers of chess grandmasters in the world.

Two of Armenia's three post-Soviet presidents are active chess players who have promoted the game while in office.

Current President Serzh Sarkisian heads the Armenian Chess Federation. He personally supported the national team during its Olympiad triumphs.

Sarkisian's government decided earlier this year to make chess a mandatory subject in primary schools.

The Armenian National Congress, an opposition grouping led by former President Levon Ter-Petrossian, was quick to welcome the "brilliant" victory in Ningbo.

Vanik Zakarian, the honorary chairman of the Armenian Chess Federation, called the championship a "great result." He added that "our team has been considered a major contender in all chess competitions in recent years."

Zakarian said the team championship victory was no less significant than the Olympiad title.

"What makes Chess Olympiads different is that all [countries] compete in them, whereas only the selected best teams take part in the world championships," he told RFE/RL.

Read more in Armenian here
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Comment Sorting
by: Anonymous
July 28, 2011 05:10
armenia always best in chess in the world

by: vartan amirian from: usa
July 28, 2011 07:05
What a great news for Armenian people.We must be proud of our champion heroes.I am sure we will win more championship titles in defferent fields of sports in future.

by: edgar from: yerevan
July 28, 2011 08:03
we are the champions of world.i am proud to be Armenian

by: Thomas from: Canada
July 28, 2011 14:18
RFE/RL, You mention who came first, who came third....what about the second place. Don't you think good journalism wouldn't leave out this "minor" detail?

What? We're are supposed to google the information ourselves?
In Response

by: armen
August 09, 2011 20:10
Or just actually read the first paragraph...

by: Donovan from: PA
July 29, 2011 00:41
"Armenians have been successful in everything they do. There should be an investigation!"
Kurt Vonnegut, "The Bluebeard"

by: Ruzanna from: Yerevan
August 01, 2011 07:38
... in everything they do apart from managing their own country :) - but Vonnegut culd not possibly know this.

by: Vagarshak from: USA
August 01, 2011 10:58
Unbelievable think can happen. On July 31 the prestigious Los Angeles Times writes (author - Bill Cornwall): "In the World Team Championship this year ... Russians were embarrassed to come forth behind the winning Ukraine team and the teams from China and India. Following Russia were Hungary and the U.S."

by: Karina from: US
August 01, 2011 14:32
Go , Armenian, go!