Armenia welcomes the World Champions

World Chess Team Championship concluded yesterday in Ningbo, China

The World Chess Team Championship 2011 concluded yesterday in the New Century Grand Hotel Ningbo, China. The team of Armenia won the tournament and took the gold medal home. FIDE President obviously had a good feeling when he granted the Armenians with a wildcard for Ningbo. Armenia is also twice winner of the World Chess Olympiad (in 2006 and in 2008).

Alexander Kentler, columnist for “Sports Daily”, highlights that the Armenians’ successes are no longer surprise to anyone. With the guiding star of the ninth world champion Tigran Petrosian, who dethroned Mikhail Botvinnik in 1963, chess became the country’s national sport. Serzh Sargsyan, President of the Republic, is also heading the Armenian Chess Federation and recently chess lessons were introduced into the curriculum in all schools.

The players never have to be persuaded to come under the national flag, Alexander Kentler added, they are ready to give up everything for the sake of playing for the national team. It is no wonder that there are many strong players in the country, with the leader Levon Aronian being rated among the three strongest players in the world.

Armenia World Champion 1

This year the team was strengthened with GM Sergei Movsesian. Sergei, like Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian, was born in Tbilisi, present-day Georgia. For many years he played for Slovakia, but finally settled in his native Armenia and immediately scored a superb result for the team.

Vladimir Akopian, Gabriel Sargissian and the national champion Robert Hovhannisyan complete the strong and reliable roster.

The hosting country China took silver medal with 13 match points, while the 2010 Chess Olympiad winner Ukraine claimed bronze with 12 points. Russia was in good position to overtake the bronze, but they lost to the lower-rated India in the final round.

Final standings: 1. Armenia 14 (22.5) 2. China 13 (22.5) 3. Ukraine 12 (19.5) 4. Russia 10 (21) 5. Hungary 10 (19.5) 6. USA 10 (18.5) 7. Azerbaijan 9 (19) 8. India 7 (15.5) 9. Israel 5 (13) 10. Egypt 0 (9)

The President of Armenia and President of Armenian Chess Federation Serzh Sargsyan met the world champions at the international airport “Zvartnots” on their return from China. Photos courtesy of the President’s Press Office.

Armenia World Champion 2