Armenia Takes on World Losing by a Point

A heroic comeback by the Petrosian team in the final two rounds fell a point short. Anand-Kasparov was one of several short draws in the final round. Vaganian had the only win of the round–an impressive bind against Adams. Gelfand–once Petrosian’s star pupil–battled hard for the full point against Bacrot to no avail.

MOSCOW (Combined Sources)–In what commemorated the 75th anniversary of the late Armenian world chess champion Tigran Petrosian–a dynamic tournament–Armenia vs. the Rest of the World team–began on June 10 in Moscow and ended on June 15–with the World Team defeating the Petrosian Team 18.5 to 17.5.

The tournament matched the best of Armenia against a team of international stars. Each of the six team members played everyone on the other team for a total of 36 games.

The best of Armenia’s powerful chess players made up the Armenian team–1999 World Championship runner-up Vladimir Akopian–feared Bundesliga warrior Rafael Vaganian–and experienced international Smbat Lputian. Tiny Armenia has the second-highest number of players participating in the 2004 FIDE world championship in Libya this month–seven. The rest of the Armenian team either had 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–named Petrosian (no relation). His wife Sofia is the daughter of Armenian chess Grand Master Arshak Petrosian–who is also his trainer and will be the coach of the Petrosian team in Moscow.

The World all-star team was composed of Anand–Svidler–Adams–Bacrot–Vallejo–and van Wely.

It was a valiant effort–but the Petrosian team fell short by the thinnest possible margin at the end. After looking overmatched in the first half–the "friends of Armenia" squad didn’t lose a game in the final two rounds and almost climbed back from a four-point deficit. It was a great match–and it was fitting that the Petrosian Memorial was a team event. Tigran Petrosian consistently put up phenomenal scores in team events throughout his career. An incredible six times he got the best score in the Olympiads playing for the USSR over a 20-year span.


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