Welcome
Login:   Pass:     Register - Forgot Password - Resend Activation

Turkish Class Forums / General/Off-topic

General/Off-topic

Add reply to this discussion
In Tiny Armenia, ...
1.       si++
3785 posts
 10 May 2010 Mon 10:11 am

Michael Mainville

Most Armenians trace the country’s passion for chess back to a  1963 match between legendary Armenian player Tigran Petrosian and  Russia’s Mikhail Botvinnik. For nearly two months fans gathered daily in  Yerevan’s Opera Square as each move was relayed via telex from Moscow.   Petrosian went on to beat Botvinnik, prompting countrywide  celebrations. (AFP Photo)

Most Armenians trace the country’s passion for chess back to a 1963 match between legendary Armenian player Tigran Petrosian and Russia’s Mikhail Botvinnik. For nearly two months fans gathered daily in Yerevan’s Opera Square as each move was relayed via telex from Moscow. Petrosian went on to beat Botvinnik, prompting countrywide celebrations. (AFP Photo)

In Tiny Armenia, Thinking Man’s Sport is King and Grandmasters Are Stars

Yerevan, Armenia. With matches dissected on the nightly news, its masters treated as sports stars and victories celebrated like national holidays, chess is the king of games in Armenia.

Tiny, isolated and impoverished, ex-Soviet Armenia has emerged as a superpower in the chess world, storming international tournaments and rising up the rankings.

As its national team prepares for the international Chess Olympiad this September in the Russian city of Khanty-Mansiysk, the chess-mad country is in the kind of frenzy of anticipation most countries reserve for the football World Cup.

“Armenians are absolutely crazy for chess,” said Ludvig Sharoian, one of dozens of men playing blitz matches on a spring day in Armenia’s House of Chess in central Yerevan. “When your country is good at something, of course people are going to be very supportive. And Armenians are very good at chess.”

Despite its population of only 3.2 million, in recent years Armenia has managed to outdo traditional chess powerhouses such as Russia and the United States and emerging giants China and India.

Its national team has won gold at the last two international Chess Olympiads, in 2006 and 2008, after taking bronze at the previous two. Armenia has 30 grandmasters, the rank awarded to more than 1,000 top global players, and three players in the top 100, one less than the United States.

Armenians have been playing chess for centuries, since its earlier form, chatrang, was introduced when the region was part of Sassanid Persia, and the game was heavily promoted when Armenia was part of the Soviet Union.

Players and fans here said this alone did not explain the country’s passion for the game, though. The key to understanding why Armenians love and excel at chess, they said, is a 1963 world championship match featuring the country’s most prominent player, the legendary Tigran Petrosian.

Petrosian faced Russian Mikhail Botvinnik in the match, and as each move was made it was relayed by telex from Moscow and displayed on a giant board in Yerevan’s central Opera Square, where thousands gathered day after day to analyze the moves.

After 22 games played over nearly two months, Petrosian scored a decisive victory, prompting massive celebrations and an outpouring of nationalist pride.

“That was what started it all. It was a fantastic example for the development of chess in Armenia,” said Armenia’s national chess team coach, Arshak Petrosian, no relation to the legendary player.

Chess quickly became a national obsession, and enthusiasm for the game has only grown in the decades since.

Grandmaster Levon Aronian, currently ranked No. 5 in the world, is the closest Armenia has to a modern-day Petrosian. Instantly recognizable to Armenians, the 27-year-old has been dubbed the country’s David Beckham and his career is as closely followed here.

He even added a touch of tabloid-style scandal to the chess world through his relationship with chess master Arianne Caoili, a Philippines-born Australian who has appeared on reality television show “Dancing with the Stars”. Their relationship caused waves in the insular world of international chess four years ago after a rival grandmaster became jealous of Aronian dancing with Caoili and punched the Armenian during an after-tournament party.

On a break from training for the upcoming Olympiad, Aronian said one of the reasons Armenians excel at chess is they are individualistic and drawn to one-on-one competition instead of team sports.

“From my childhood, I would see people playing backgammon on the streets,” he said. “Everyone is crazy about playing board games. We love to compete against each other in mind games.”

The country’s recent chess victories are also feeding a new generation of fans and players, Aronian said.

“When you’re successful internationally, that helps attract more people to chess,” he said.

Chess great Garry Kasparov, who is half Armenian, has also been an inspiration to many young players in the country, Aronian said, even though he represented Russia after the break-up of the Soviet Union.

Strong government support is another factor in Armenia’s rise to the top of the chess world. The country’s chess players receive a salary from the state of about the average national wage, on top of their substantial earnings from prizes, and the government has set up sophisticated training programs for young players.

Chess is included in the country’s physical education curriculum, and nearly half of the country’s schools offer after-school chess programs. President Serzh Sarkisian, who doubles as head of the country’s chess federation, has even proposed making chess an obligatory part of the national school curriculum.

Petrosian said he expected the country’s next generation of players to be as good, if not better, than Armenia’s current grandmasters.

“Chess is going through a very big boom right now, and Armenia is only going to get better,” he said.



Agence France-Presse

Add reply to this discussion




Turkish Dictionary
Turkish Chat
Open mini chat
New in Forums
Rahatsız
denizli: I probably ... something. I was talking about a ... son. The response ...
Bilen?
gokuyum: Bilen means "the one who knows"
Combining -leş, -tir, -il etc ...
tunci: just wanted to correct one thing , il-- this suffix is not r...
E to T
tunci: You are right. It should be without ... ...
Grammar
S.S.K. La: Positive+ negative= negative. Negative+ negative= positive. (Just to m...
Bilen?
tunci: -en /an is subject ... Cevabı bilenler sussun. ...
m-doublets
S.S.K. La: Ok, first of all, the m-doublets are not meant to give the meaning of ...
e to t lutfen
john250: yardimin ... teşekkur ederim
Journey of the pearl mullets in Turkey&acu...
harp00n: Quoted from AA. ...
Grammar Textbook
qdemir: The e-book format is now USD 6.99 at ... Buy it till Wednesday, May ...
Grammar Textbook
qdemir: ...
100. Yıl
harp00n: ...
Random Pictures of Turkey
Add thumbnails like this to your site
Most liked