Chess: Armenia (and friends) versus the World

Armenia (and friends) versus the World

Chessbase News, Germany
June 9 2004

08.06.2004 What do Lputian, Akopian, and Vaganian have in common?
Easy one. Why put Kasparov, Leko, and Gelfand on the Armenian team with
them? We’ll tell all. They will face a World all-star team of Anand,
Svidler, Adams, Bacrot, Vallejo, and van Wely in a spectacular team
event starting June 10 in Moscow.

Team Petrosian takes on the World

The Petrosian Memorial – June 10-16 – Ararat Park Hyatt Hotel,
Moscow, Russia

In this year of the 75th anniversary of the 9th world champion’s birth
there has already been one Petrosian Memorial tournament and later in
the year there will be another. But the one that everyone is likely to
remember best starts Thursday in Moscow. With two days to go before
the first round we haven’t seen any official website for the event,
but we’ll be bringing you reports and games.

It’s a Scheveningen-format team tournament that matches the best of
Armenia against a team of international stars. Each of the six team
members will play everyone on the other team for a total of 36 games.
Best of all, it’s classical chess. (Although Tigran Petrosian was
legendary in casual blitz, we’re sure he would approve.)

The Petrosian team is manned by the cream of Armenia’s powerful
chess crop. 1999 World Championship runner-up Vladimir Akopian, feared
Bundesliga warrior Rafael Vaganian, and experienced international Smbat
Lputian. It’s worth noting that tiny Armenia has the second-highest
number of players participating in the 2004 FIDE world championship
in Libya this month, seven. (Russia has 19.)

The rest of the team is made up of players with connections to Armenia
or Petrosian himself. Garry Kasparov’s mother is Armenian and he has
always been claimed by that chess-mad nation. Peter Leko married
an Armenian, one named Petrosian no less! (No immediate relation,
sadly.) His wife Sofia is the daughter of Armenian GM Arshak Petrosian,
who is also his trainer and will be the coach of the Petrosian team
in Moscow.

Then comes Israeli Boris Gelfand, who is not about to change his
name to Gelfandian to fit in. The lanky GM was the top student of
Petrosian’s school back in the early 80’s before Petrosian’s untimely
demise in 1984 at the age of 55.

The World team is a powerful line-up with one player each from India,
Russia, England, Netherlands, France, and Spain. In the 2002 Russia
versus the World rapid tournament Akopian and Gelfand were on the
World team. But Armenia comes first! Vishy Anand was also first board
for the World team in that event. When will India be ready to take
on the World so he can play for the home team?

The tournament was to have ended exactly on Petrosian’s birthday on
June 17, but had to be compacted due to the FIDE world championship
getting underway in Tripoli the next day. So there won’t be any rest
days in Moscow. The three Armenians plus Adams, Vallejo, and Bacrot
will immediately head to Libya after the final round.

Kasparov’s team may look outrated but actually the teams are
perfectly equal! Both have an average rating of 2705. No doubt the
Armenians would benefit from playing in Yerevan instead of Moscow,
but the appropriately named Ararat Hotel might serve as compensation!
Mount Ararat, the resting place of Noah’s Ark in legend, is actually
in Turkey, but most Armenians look to it as an ancestral symbol.

In normal pairings it’s #1 vs #6 on day one with the clash of the top
boards left for the final day. That would mean first round pairings
of Kasparov-van Wely, Leko-Vallejo, Gelfand-Bacrot, Akopian-Adams,
Vaganian-Svidler, Lputian-Anand, colors to be determined.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

Emil Lazarian

“I should like to see any power of the world destroy this race, this small tribe of unimportant people, whose wars have all been fought and lost, whose structures have crumbled, literature is unread, music is unheard, and prayers are no more answered. Go ahead, destroy Armenia . See if you can do it. Send them into the desert without bread or water. Burn their homes and churches. Then see if they will not laugh, sing and pray again. For when two of them meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a New Armenia.” - WS