Armenia, China, Russia, and U.S. in the Lead at Chess Olympiad

ISTANBUL, Turkey (A.W.)—With two rounds to go, Armenia shares the lead with China, Russia, and the U.S. at the Chess Olympiad currently underway in Istanbul.

The Armenian team during Round 6 (Photo by Arman Karakhanyan)

Armenia defeated Germany 2.5-1.5 in the 9th round to climb to the top of the standings with 15 points. The U.S. in turn defeated number one seeds Russia 2.5-1.5, while China demolished the Philippines 3.5-0.5.

In Round 10, which will take place on Sept. 6, Armenia will play the Netherlands, Russia will take on Argentina, while China and the U.S. will face off in the toughest match of the day.

Armenia has emerged victorious from seven out of nine matches so far. It has only lost to China and drew its match against Russia.

Organized by the International Chess Federation (FIDE), the Olympiad is the most prestigious team competition in the chess world.

The top-seeds are Russia, Ukraine, Armenia, Hungary, Azerbaijan, China, and the U.S., respectively.

The Armenian national team is represented by Levon Aronian, Sergei Movsesian, Vladimir Akopian, Gabriel Sargissian, and Tigran Petrosian.

Armenia won the 2006 and 2008 Olympiads, and came in seventh in 2010.

A number of Armenian chess players are representing other countries. Most notable among them are Varuzhan Akobian on the U.S. team and Krikor Sevag Mekhitarian on the Brazilian team.

Lilit Mkrtchyan from the Armenian women’s team at the Olympiad (Photo by Arman Karakhanyan)

Women’s section

The Armenian women’s team is sixth after nine rounds. China leads with 16 points, and Russia is second with 15. Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Poland, and Armenia are 3-6 respectively, all with 14 points.

The women’s team representing Armenia is comprised of Elina Danielian, Lilit Mkrtchian, Lilit Galoian, Maria Kursova, and Anna Hairapetian.

Several other Armenians in the women’s section are representing other countries. Natalia Khoudgarian, for example, heads the Canadian women’s team.

The Olympiad consists of 11 rounds, and will conclude on Sept. 10.

The Armenian Weekly has been providing up-to-the-minute results on its Facebook page, and detailed coverage on its website.


  1. I know Turks are a lot smarter and calculating than ‘Azeri’TatarTurks.

    But just the same: hopefully the entire Armenian chess contingent locks their hotel rooms at night and blocks them with a chair or something.

    Also, hopefully they always travel in groups.

    Some Turks love murdering Armenians and then posing for photographs with Turkish police officers who ‘arrest’ them. Even TSK soldiers who are of Armenian descent are not safe from murder in Turkey.

    Please be careful out there guys and ladies.

    • Remember the countless DNA discussions? We don’t look that much different Armenians and Turks. And certainly those differences won’t stand out unless the team walks around Istanbul with the Armenian flag draped around them. Considering Turkey’s trying to make Armenia seem like the side who is against reconciliation post-2009 protocols, I’d be shocked if anything negative happened to the Armenian chess team. But I suppose being extra cautious never hurts.

    • highly unlikely they’d be walking around with RoA flags draped over themselves: chess players are generally brainiacs – not given to emotion. they are introverts.

      you are correct: lookswise they would not stand out. But in the city, they’d walk around at the minimum in twos, so they’ be speaking Armenian – that’s how they’d stand out. And certainly in the hotel, people know where the Armenian team stays.

      There are many ordinary people in Turkey who just hate Armenians. All it takes is one crazy nobody to cause major harm.
      [Cab driver attacks woman for being an ‘infidel’] (12 October 2011 / TODAY’S ZAMAN, İSTANBUL )

      {The woman attempted to get out of the cab, but the driver tried to prevent her from doing so and said: “You will burn in hell. You are an infidel,” before suddenly taking a swing at her and then leaving her in the middle of the street, according to the report.}

      and yeah, a passing Turkish lawyer stopped to help.
      but like we said: it is better to be extra careful.

    • RVDV,

      What are you talking about? Turks are tatar-mongols, and if any of them resemble Europeans it is because they have Greek or Armenian genes in them. Vice-versa can be said in certain cases, but by and large we are racially very different. I have seen countless Turks and Azeris with narrow eyes, which is a testament to their ancestry. While about more than a quarter of the Armenian population is light-skinned and much more “Aryan” than many southern Europeans even. This is especially prevalent in the worldwide diaspora where it is common to see blonde and blue-eyed Armenians. And it is not because they have mixed with others, but the opposite, they have less Turko-Mongol genetic make-up. It is preposterous for you to claim that there are genetic similarities between us. We are not just culturally and religiously but racially different from these invaders. Never forget that.

    • Tigran:

      appearance wise, most residents of modern Turkey do not look anything like – let us say – Uygurs of China.

      Seljuk Turks ‘arrived’ at the edge of Armenian Highlands about 1000 years ago.
      Even in one generation (25 years), say a child that has a Caucasian mother and an Asian father (quite common in USA), will have an unmistakable appearance that is neither Asian nor Caucasian, but a fusion of two (in most cases).

      If you look at Pres Gul for example, it would be very hard, if not impossible, to tell what ethnos he belongs to. And of course Mustafa Kemal, with his blue eyes: where did he get those blue eyes ?

      Having said that, I personally do not put much weight in DNA. The science is there, but only at the level it’s currently at.
      I believe there are layers way beyond DNA that determine national characteristics, over and above appearance, that science has not discovered yet.

      For me, the clear evidence of that is in diametrically opposite behaviour of people at large in Azerbaijan and Armenia during the NKR war. (and even now).
      Supposedly Armenians and inhabitants of Azerbaijan share similar DNA. But clearly, the behaviour of people was nothing similar.
      And of course the behaviour cannot be explained away by conditioning: both counties were under the behaviour modification regime of the Soviet Union for about 70 years; about three generations.

      So what explains the difference ?

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