The nicest way to mark my 100th post on ArmenHES is to congratulate the Armenian Chess team for its landmark victory at the World Chess Olympiad. This is the first time Armenia - and if I am not mistaken, any county - wins a second consecutive Olympiad.
The 38th Chess Olympiad took place in Dresden, Germany, 12-25 November 2008, with more than 150 nations and most of the top world players participating. The Olympiad was composed of 2 sections: the “open section” in which 146 teams participated, and the women’s section where 111 teams competed.
In the open section, Armenia won the first place with a TB1 (tie break) match-points of 19 (2 for wins, 1 for draws, 0 for losses) and a TB4, general game-points, of 31. Israel took the second place with a TB1 of 18 and TB4 of 28. The Unites States took the third place with TB1 of 17 and TB4 of 29.
In women’s competition, Georgia came first with a TB1 of 18 and TB4 of 31, followed by Ukraine with a TB1 of also 18 but TB4 of 30, and the United States was again placed third with a TB1 of 17 and TB4 of 30.5. With a TB1 of 16 and TB4 of 28, the Armenian female team was ranked the 6th which is still pretty good.
Public celebrations have started in Yerevan and will surely go on for several days. Chess is one of the most popular games, sports and pass-times in Armenia, and I guess Armenians are as enthusiastic about chess as Brazilians about football or Indians about cricket.
The positive aftermath of such a historic achievement for the Armenian chess; the feeling of joy and pride – that we all share – is accompanied with some disturbing “side-effects”. The 2 most significant ones are:
1. Political profiteering: Attempts by ruling and non-ruling politicians to be associated with the event. This includes President Serge Sargsian who also heads the Armenian Chess Federation as well as the leaders of opposition.
2. The outburst of nationalism: “Let the world know …”, “We showed the whole world that if …”, “Now, other nations realize that Armenians …” and similar expressions of provincial megalomania betray the real power, the talent, the intelligence, and the humble personalities of the Armenian champions.
The next Olympiad will take place in 2010 in Khanty-Mansiysk, a rich oil boom town in central Russia, and will be followed by the 2012 competition in Istanbul, Turkey.
An interesting interview by Levon Aronian with Berliner Zeitung. He comments on computer-based chess games, being in love, and unfortunately makes some unnecessary misogynist remarks. To read the English translation, please click here.
Picture: The Armenian dream team from left to right: Grandmasters Levon Aronian, Vladimir Hakopian, Gabriel Sargsian, Tigran Petrosian and Artashes Minasian