KOLKATA, India – “My dear friends and supporters, I am thrilled that I performed well in India’s Calcutta and won the blitz tournament,” wrote chess grandmaster (GM) Levon Aronian on his Facebook page. Armenia’s top chess player participated in a top blitz tournament in India on November 17-21, finishing with a score of 11.5 out of 18. As GM Arjun Erigaisi, the rising start of Indian chess, attained an equal score, the competitors had to engage in playoff games.
Aronian and Ergaisi first tied in two additional tiebreaker matches, but the Armenian GM won the final match known as Armageddon. Despite tough competition, Aronian clinched the victory in the Tata Steel Blitz India Tournament. He noted on his Facebook page that he dedicated his victory to Armenia, to all compatriots who fell in the battlefield for Artsakh and Armenia and to all who live and struggle for the Armenian nation.
“Levon Aronian likes being in Kolkata. He might be liking it just a bit more now,” wrote India’s Sportstar, reporting about his victory.
Due to his participation in this prestigious tournament, Aronian was not able to play in the European Team Championship held in Slovenia’s Catez ob Savi on November 11-21. There, Armenia’s national squad consisted of GMs Gabriel Sargissian, Haik Martirosyan. Robert Hovhannisyan, Samvel Ter-Sahakyan, and Hovhannes Gabuzyan. After eight rounds, Armenia remained undefeated, scoring an equal number of four victories (against Belgium, Israel, France, and Serbia) and draws (Germany, Norway, Azerbaijan, and Spain). Before the final match, Armenia even appeared at the top of the chart. A draw with Ukraine in the last game could suffice to win the European tournament. Unfortunately, two of the Armenian GMs (Sargissian and Martirosyan) lost their games, and the other two (Hovhannisyan and Ter-Sahakyan) tied. Armenia ended up being seventh in the final chart. The women’s team was 11th with four victories, two draws, and three defeats.