BBC World Services made a report about how Armenia, being so small is having a huge success in Chess world winning 2 Olympics in a row. With only about three million population Armenians took over chess titans like Russia (143 million), USA (318 million) and China (1.357 billion). The reason, as anything genius, is simple – Armenian government makes big investments in chess and made chess a part of the curriculum in public schools.
According to a member of Armenian Chess Federation Aram Hajian, investing in chess means investing in creativity and innovation. Mr. Hajian also thinks that we are so successful in chess because we always challenge ourselves and not others.
Grandmaster Tigran Petrosian (Iron Tigran) started the never-ending victorious era in chess for Armenia. He became the World Champion in 1963 and 1966 and was a candidate in 1953, 1956, 1959, 1962, 1971, 1974, 1977 and 1980. Many grandmasters and professionals believe that he was the toughest player to beat in history of chess.
Levon Aronyan with many others continue Tigran’s work, becoming the world champion in different competitions including FIDE Grand Prix 2008-2010. He is a celebrity in Armenia and is loved by the Armenian youth more than stars like Justin Timberlake.
An old proverb says that “Armenians will always find a way”. Since chess is about finding ways, success of Armenians will continue.