IASHI, Romania – This is the first time a woman grandmaster from Armenia scored such a high-level victory: Elina Danielian became Europe’s top woman chess player, winning the European Women’s Individual Championship. The tournament kicked off in Romania’s Iashi (Jassy) on August 9, played in 11 rounds, and finished on August 21. Among 117 players representing nearly 30 European countries, Danielian came out first with seven victories, four draws, and 0 defeats. Her opponents represented the notable women chess players of Ukraine, Russia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and other nations. Elina was born in 1978 in Baku and left Soviet Azerbaijan because of anti-Armenian pogroms.
Melik Khachian, the Armenian-American coach of the US Women’s National Chess Team, shared a similar fate and had to leave Baku in late 1988. He knew Elina from Baku, where she started her chess career attending the classes of an Armenian coach. “The European championship is a hardcore tournament. This was an awesome result. It’s always hard to play against the new generation because they are very motivated. They have stamina. This was an unbelievable challenge,” said Khachian during a Zoom-based communication.
After gaining her notable win, Elina wrote on her Facebook page that she was “so happy to win the European individual women’s champion title.” She continued, “It was a long path to gain it, but my dream has come true. Finally, I fulfilled all my European titles,” and enumerated her previous gains earned at European tournaments: 2001: First European Rapid Champion; 2003 – European Team Champion and 2006 European Club Cup Champion.
The video represents segments from the interview with Coach Melik Khachian.