Reports | June 26, 2009 18:13

Armenia beats France 19.5-12.5

France-Armenia rapid matchOn the day that Michael Jackson passed away, the rapid match in Paris between Armenia and France ended in a 19.5-12.5 victory for the Olympic gold medal winners. Tigran Petrossian had the highest score: 6 out of 8. Big pictorial report.

Michael Jackson's marble chess set which was part of an auction which was due to take place in April but was cancelled after a settlement had been reached with the pop star's legal team.

Not that I was big fan of Michael Jackson, but I must say that it's a pretty sad morning. He was weird, but he was also a genius - a word that's used too often, but is more than justified here.

The "King of Pop", a nickname no-one else deserved more, had an enourmous influence on a geneneration, on a decade. He set a new standard for music videos. His album Thriller broke all records (while Off the Wall was brilliant as well). Such a pity we won't get to see him in London!

Enough, enough, this is a chess website. Wednesday and Thursday France played Armenia in a rapid match in Paris. The home team consisted of Vachier-Lagrave, Fressinet, Lautier and Bauer, who met the twice Olympic gold winning Armenian team: Aronian, Akopian, Sargissan and Petrosian.

The match consisted of 8 rounds played on 4 boards at a rate of 15 minutes per game with an increment of 10 seconds for each move. The rapid match, held under the patronage of Bernard Laporte, Secretary of State for Sports, took place at the Hotel Castille in Paris. The winners received € 3000, the losers € 2000.

Journalist Antti Parkkinen provided us with all photos below and shared some interesting details. The event was organized by a private company (owned by French people of Armenian origin) that organizes various events. The playing hall was very small and there was not very much public, but the atmosphere was very friendly.

Vladimir Kramnik, who lives in Paris, was present and made a speech for the Armenian TV, which in fact broadcast the whole event live in Armenia! French TV cameras were only seen during the first day.


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The playing hall in the Hotel Castille in Paris...


...where a small room was easily getting crowded

Vachier-Lagrave vs Aronian

The team's top players meet: Vachier-Lagrave - Aronian

Akopian vs Lautier

Akopian vs Lautier

Petrosian vs Fressinet

Petrossian and Fressinet in a good mood before the game


The Armenian team relaxing between rounds


Fressinet and Lautier talking, Vachier-Lagrave in the background


Gabriel Sargissian, "who taught me how to play chess and tennis" as Aronian wrote in the latest issue of New in Chess Magazine


Joel Lautier, who afterwards stated that he "isn't planning a comeback".


Levon Aronian, the world's no. 4 in the live rankings


Laurent Fressinet, France's number 3 player


Tigran Petrossian, in excellent form in Paris


Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, still only 18 years old


Christian Bauer, France's number 5 (behind Vladislav Tkachiev)


French GM, author and coach Anatoli Vaisser


Fressinet and a cheerful visitor, Vladimir Kramnik


The Armenian team receiving a cheque of € 12,000

All photos © Antti Parkkinen


Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


x y's picture


France without Frenchmen? Ah, one can only dream...

Frits Fritschy's picture

Lajos Arpad,
Check Wikipedia: "Christian Bauer (born January 11, 1977 in Forbach, France)..."

GG's picture

Wow, smashing win for Armenians.

Lajos Arpad's picture

Very nice french names:
Vladislav Tkachiev
Christian Bauer
Anatoli Vaisser

I wonder whether are there still french in France.

GG's picture

Lajos, stay calm, there is one - Vartan Kaprelian lol, the organizer of event.

GG's picture

Lajos, there is one, GM Tigran Gharamian ))

Thomas's picture

Lajos, Christian Bauer has a German(-sounding) name - Forbach is close to the German border, in an area that historically went back and forth between France and Germany.
The other team members (Vachier-Lagrave, Fressinet, Lautier) have 'pure French names', just like absentee Bacrot.
Exactly what is your problem??

Willem's picture

Lautier was born in Canada.

red-white-chess's picture

If you want to know how MJ's song can related to chess anotation see Ian Roger's commentary on Round 9 Oceania Zonal.

vosuram's picture

@Lajos: Ja, all of them speak Russian. However great cultures, including Armenian, do not compete, but mutually enriched.

Lajos Arpad's picture

@Frits Fritsch:
“Christian Bauer (born January 11, 1977 in Forbach, France)…”
I was born in Romania. Does that mean that I am Romanian?

@Thomas: I have no problem, but there is a significant difference between living in France and being French. If anybody says that Bauer is French, Bauer might be offended, because he is German. (I don't know for sure, but his name is German). Bauer is a French citizen, who is actually German. He is not French. I don't have a problem, but I'm curious why is it hard to tell the truth?

For example Fischer was american, because there is no american language and he was born in the US.
In the press Gelfand is "Israeli", not "Jew".
Why is Bauer "French" and not "French citizen"?
"French GM, author and coach Anatoli Vaisser"
This sentence is not true. He is a GM, author and coach, but he is not French.
Kramnik lives these days in France. If someday he will be a French citizen, is he authomatically become French? No problem, that nobody in his family speaks the language? No problem that he has no French traditions?

The word "French" is not a good or bad thing, it's just like being blond. Let's say that there is a village where everybody is blond. A man with brown hair emigrates there. From that moment is he blond, just because he lives in the blond village? This is absurd, isn't it?

Frits Fritschy's picture

I thought I just made a factual correction, but now I see this is terribly important to you.
Let me tell you, when the Swiss army doctor Ullrich Fritschy as part of the (French) napoleontic army came to the Netherlands in 1810, people may not immediately have viewed him as Dutch, even after he decided to stay. I hope you don't mind I consider myself so, after 200 years. Like most people in Alsace-Lorraine (Elzas-Lotharingen) consider themselves totally French. There might even be a few people with Hungarian names who consider themselves Roumanian. And what about the French president...

Vincent's picture

"If anybody says that Bauer is French, Bauer might be offended, because he is German. (I don’t know for sure, but his name is German)"

Yes I think you don't know for sure :) Believe it or not, you can be born in France, have grown up there and have a name which doesn't sound French because of something called immigration.

Did you know the French president has an hungarian name?

WGIFM's picture

It is funny to witness a debate on questions relating to the notions of ethnicity and nationality on this forum. Since none of these notions can be demarcated from each other and defined thoroughly there is no point to provoke a debate on it. I do not tnihk many of us would state boldly, that Shirov is a Spaniard, or Gurevich a Turkish (I do not remember anyone referring to them as representatives of these ethnoses). On the other hand other chess players seem to be more "embedded" in the culture (?) of their host FIDE country, like Karjakin was for years was simply a Ukranian player and not a Russian representing Ukraine.
I think Lajos has his point noting that the notion (and corollary the cultural construction of nationality and ethnicity) of French and Frenchman, or French citizen is not the same. Perhaps Lajos would like to make the article more exact from the point of view of ethnic belonging, but I do not see the importance of that question in this very context.

Nonetheless I see not Lajos but the others being overenthusiastic in refusing the (in this case probably not so relevant, and hardly defiable) distinction between nationality, citizenship, ethnicity etc. Why? Lajos first comment was so simple and innocent. Why to be so touchy in regard of this question?

Thomas's picture

Only Christian Bauer himself can tell, but the very fact that he played on the French team could indicate three things:
1) He is "pure French" and just inherited his German name from centuries ago (as Frits Fritschy does)
2) He may be "mixed German-French", but 'feels' French
3) At the very least, he doesn't care as much as he should (sensu Lajos Arpad).

By Lajos' logic, Robert Fischer would be German, many other US-Americans would be English, Irish, French, Spanish, African, .... and only American Indians would be truly American. Same for Israel .... .

And a 'true story' from someone I know, a certain Antoon Kuijpers (yes, the name is Dutch - he still has a Dutch passport and feels primarily Dutch). In the 1990's, he had a temprorary job in Germany where he met his German wife. Then, about 20 years ago, he got a permanent position in Copenhagen. Their children grew about (mostly) in Denmark, found Danish partners, speak Danish better than either Dutch or German, support the Danish football team against their parents' countries :) , ... . Are they (predominantly) Danish by now, notwithstanding their Dutch name, or not? What about their grandchildren?

Thomas's picture

Small corrections to my previous post: "In the 1990's" should be 1980's - and at the end, "their grandchildren" is of course 'his grandchildren' (third generation - one parent Danish, the other one of 'mixed provenance').
@WGIFM: The main reason I had reacted was because Lajos' closing sentence in his first post ("I wonder whether are there still french in France.") is at least odd and can be easily answered or refuted ... .

Vincent's picture

Yes WGIFM, of course there is a difference between being French or being a French citizen. Spassky has French nationality now and of course he's not a "real" French, just like Shirov in Spain or the examples you mentionned. And it's the same for Tkachiev or Vaisser.

The issue was more to say that Bauer COULDN'T be French because his name sounds German. This is just as stupid as saying someone can't be Danish because he's black.
So why being so touchy? Because this kind of ideas leads to hmm... let's say dubious ideas as: you can't be a real French, German or whatever if you don't have the right name, the right color of the skin and this kind of thing. And to think like that is just pathetic to me.

WGIFM's picture

@ me: just browse in the comments of the post about Karjakin changing federation

me's picture

Where did you get that "Karjakin is just Russian living in Ukraine" part???

Thomas's picture

For what it matters, I am (originally) German [German parents, German as a mother tongue, growing up in Germany, German passport]. Since 1998, I am living in the Netherlands. And I was actually born in the USA (as my father was working there for a year) but 'returned' to Germany when I was 10 days young ... .

Now some explanations/clarifications to my previous post:
1) What the USA and Israel have in common: In both cases the majority of the present population immigrated from elsewhere - one to many generations ago. BTW, I don't blame any present-day American for wars against Sioux, Navajo, ... or slavery - just like I (born in 1967) don't accept personal blame for Holocaust and World War II.
2) To become integrated in any given country, friends and partners matter at least as much as parents IMO - and more than distant family (aunts, uncles, cousins, ...) who live elsewhere and don't speak the country's language.
3) As far as 'refuting' Lajos' initial statement: I simply pointed out that 3 out of 4 players on the French team are French, no questions asked - so "there are French in France".

To throw in another name (somewhat similar story to Christian Bauer): What about GM Robert Ruck? If I read the name for the first time I might think he is German, Austrian, Swiss, maybe American. But I never considered it odd, strange or 'wrong' that he is Hungarian - possibly his (great-)grandparents are of Austrian ancestry and stayed in Hungary after the countries became separated. Looking through the Hungarian top 100, there are not many similar cases, the only other one I spotted is IM Peter Prohaszka - here the 'z' in his name may be a relatively recent addition!?

Lajos Arpad's picture

@Frits Fritschy: I have no problem with You considering yourself Dutch, I think You misunderstood me. It might be because of my bad English. I wanted to say that only the French people are French, only the Dutch people are Dutch. If You write about me that the "Romanian Lajos Arpad" I will be offended, simply because it's not true. It's like saying about a man that he is a woman. An article should be true. Saying about a Russian or Jew from Russia (Vaisser) and about a Russian (Tkachiev) that they are French is not a good thing, because these sentences are probably false.

"There might even be a few people with Hungarian names who consider themselves Roumanian."
Don't worry, I don't consider them Hungarians either.

"And what about the French president…"
He has Hungarian name, S?°rk??zy and has Hungarian ancestors. Ok, what about him?

"French", "hungarian"
"Did you know the French president has an hungarian name?"
I can see your opinion about the French people and about the Hungarian people.

"Spassky has French nationality now"
Very interesting. Spassky is French? Do You know where was he born? What is his mother tongue? Why did he emigrate?

"The issue was more to say that Bauer COULDN’T be French because his name sounds German."
Please, let me know, where did I say that? Didn't I say that I'm not sure about him?

"This is just as stupid as saying someone can’t be Danish because he’s black."
Well, thank You for calling me "stupid". If Your kind calls me "stupid", I'm becoming to feel better and better. And yes, there are no black Danish people. The reason of this is: black people emigrated there a few years ago. They are not Danish, they don't have the same culture.

"And to think like that is just pathetic to me."
Thank You, now everybody can see that, You, a liberalist person calls me stupid and pathetic just because I have a different opinion. That's what liberalism is about: Everybody can have his/her own opinion as long as it's liberalist.

I agree with You. You are right that this is not important here (we are all chess players), the reason behind my comment is:
I've seen on origo (a Hungarian chess portal) two different writings. In English You could read them like this::
"[...]The Hungarian Hoang Thang Thrang[...]" (I'm not sure if I've written her name correctly, she is Vietnamese, and immigrated into Hungary)
"[...]The Romanian Vajda Levente[...]" (he is Hungarian, he lives in the same town as I)
It was a very bad feeling to read the second type of sentence, because it's not true. The bad feeling becomes even worse if You see the first sentence. We might offend some people, because we don't respect their properties.


"By Lajos’ logic, Robert Fischer would be German, many other US-Americans would be English, Irish, French, Spanish, African, …. and only American Indians would be truly American."

You are talking from my heart. European people killed millions of Americans to get their lands. And You know, native Americans are not Indians. Indian for example is Anand, the current world champion.

" Same for Israel …. ."
I didn't understand what you said here. Are You from Israel?

"Are they (predominantly) Danish by now, notwithstanding their Dutch name, or not? What about their grandchildren?"
Yes, probably they are, but You would probably agree that they would be Dutch or German if both their parents would be Dutch or German. I don't see the significance of this story.

"is at least odd and can be easily answered or refuted … ."
Please, I'm very interested.

Vincent's picture

Don't feed the troll...
My mistake.

me's picture

"@ me: just browse in the comments of the post about Karjakin changing federation"

I see nothing else except one user claiming that he is Russian, just like you are doing now.

Frits Fritschy's picture

As usual on forums, things tend to get dragged a bit too far.
Both at my first and my second comment, I just wanted to say Christian Bauer is from Elzas-Lotharingen, a region that is from Carolingian times (805, to be exact) half German, half French - and literally so. I remember spending a holiday there, and people speaking changed in mid-sentence from German to French. Maybe you didn't know this - as far as I know an overwhelming majority of people from that region with German sounding names consider themselves French. I don't know all about it, but I think it's a different case with Hungarian speaking Romanians. I think it is a 95% odds bet that Bauer feels himself to be French.
So, maybe that should be the focal point: how do people feel about their nationality? You don't feel to be Romanian, so you are Hungarian. (Liviu)-Dieter Nisipianu may not feel German, so is probably Romanian. Vaisser just needs a slight change in his surname (like the writer Anatole France) to sound perfectly French, but why should he? If he wants to be French and they accept him, he is. When Anish Giri, from very mixed origin, starts liking "Boerenkool met worst" (reputedly our national dish), he may consider himself Dutch, if he wishes so, but he is quite right if he has a different taste (and still can be Dutch).
I certainly will not immediately combine a factual mistake with theories about black Danes.

Frits Fritschy's picture

Oh and Vincent,
talking about Scandinavians, who's the troll?

Lajos Arpad's picture

@Frits Fritschy: I respect Your opinion, and I disagree. Let's say we agree to disagree.

Elzas-Lotharingen was part of both Germany and France, so, in Elzas-Lotharingen there are both French and German people, who are all citizens of France. Transylvania was part of Hungary for hundreds of years and from 1920 it's part of Romania. In a way the history of Elzas-Lotharingen and Transylvania are similar.
"Maybe you didn’t know this" --> I know this perfectly, because I live in a region which is similar in a way. That's why we should ask Bauer of his nationality and only after the answer can we write that he is French or German. Wouldn't it be more accurate? If he is German he is not happy to be named French.

From today I feel like a god, so everybody has to accept my superior being. Of course, it's not important that my parents are not gods and I don't even know what is a god, but I feel like a god, so I am a god. Just kidding, of course. I'm sure You understand the serious half of my joke.

@Vincent: "Don’t feed the troll…"
Now I am a stupid, pathetic troll. That's exactly what happens when people have nothing more to say, because they are out of ideas. They start to attack the person who are talking with. Just remember: I'm proud that in Your eyes I'm a stupid pathetic throll.

Why do we get so personal? We are supposed to congratulate the Armenian team for their excelent performance. My obviously ironic question is so painful for some people here. I was just pointing to something that is not accurate in the article in my opinion. Am I a heretic because I don't consider Vaisser and Tkachiev? Is that such a big problem? Some opinions seems to be a sin in the eyes of many. Just like in the book "1984".

I have a constructive idea: We have different ideas, that's truly natural. Let's act as intellectuals and stop this pointless debate,

Remco G's picture

@Lajos: Everybody in Europe is living on a bit of land that used to be five different countries in the past, and is a mongrel with ancestors from all over the place. It doesn't matter, we have free travel now.

WGIFM's picture

@ me. Sorry, I cannot catch your point. What proof do you expect me to provide here on Karjakin's ethnic belonging? Scientific and narrative knowledge is of different character, and should not be subordinated to each other, this forum transmits more knowledge of narrative kind.
Actually he is from Krimea, a region of Russian minority in Ukraine.

@ethnicity debate:
I do not think that ethnicity is one's property. It is more idea, a cultural construction by which it is possible to mobilize a group of people and enhance in-group preference and cohesion. This idea is taught and interiorised in many ways and means in societies. As the "structures" (sorry for this stupid reducation) societies differs from each other by time and space, the way how people interpret questions regarding to ethnic belonging and identity vary severly. ?Årp?°d, you should accept that people might have double-identities, and hybridity is very much a constituent of cultural transmission. A German name, or a German cultural background does not necesary imply an exclusive German identity. So is the case of Danish people from Africa. Why do not they have the right to classify themselves as Danish people? How long one have to live in and learn a culture to have the right to claim his ethnic belonging? Just consider the HUngarian national poet Petrovich/ Pet?fi S?°ndor of Slovakian Lutheran mother and Serb father. I do not think, that anyone has the right to question his " Hungarianness".

Vincent's picture

I didn't get the idea with Scandinavians, Frits.
So maybe I'm the troll but I didn't start the provocation saying there were no more French in France because some have foreign names. This kind of idea just makes me sick in 2009. Why not say Obama is not a real American because he has a Kenyan name.
So I think this discussion is useless and probably too long now for chess readers.
So let's say everybody has its own opinion and lets' go back to chess.

Frits Fritschy's picture

Maybe you shouldn't call people names when you don't seem to have the guts to use your full name, like Arpad does.

Vincent Dovillers's picture

Ok you have it now.
Contact me if you want to keep on this discussion at I'll be happy to give you my address and phone number if you think it's necessary to have an opinion.
And let's keep Chessvibes out of this.

Lajos Arpad's picture

@Thomas: very interesting answer.

"1) What the USA and Israel have in common: In both cases the majority of the present population immigrated from elsewhere - one to many generations ago. BTW, I don’t blame any present-day American for wars against Sioux, Navajo, … or slavery - just like I (born in 1967) don’t accept personal blame for Holocaust and World War II."

Yes, that's truly common in those country. In the USA most of the people are emigrants, because the native americans are very few compared to the immigrants. I don't blame the present day USA citizens either for the homicides that were not made by them. However, I blame them for wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and their inhuman acts against palestinians. The "american" tradition of making wars is still alive. And of course, You can't be blamed for the holocaust.

"3) As far as ‘refuting’ Lajos’ initial statement: I simply pointed out that 3 out of 4 players on the French team are French, no questions asked - so “there are French in France”."
I'm sure You understand that my initial statement jokingly pointed to an error. That is why I was very interested to the refutation of an obviously not true statement. GG understood this from the start.

"What about GM Robert Ruck?" If he has Hungarian tradition, he can become Hungarian, just like anybody else. He is not immigrant, probably one of his descendants was, but, I agree with Your point that he is Hungarian. I was just saying that in the region where Bauer lives there are many Germans, so he might be one. That is why there is a possible mistake in the artical. And the other people emigrated now. They are not French, they are imigrants. That's a vey important difference IMO.


"So is the case of Danish people from Africa. Why do not they have the right to classify themselves as Danish people? How long one have to live in and learn a culture to have the right to claim his ethnic belonging?"

In my opinion somebody who has no previous connection with an ethnicity can't be part of an ethnicity. Somebody, who is black, lives in Denmark and previously lived in Africa has no Danish culture, so he/she is not Danish. If a black person lives in Denmark and worked for Denmark all his/her life, his/her parents lived there too, he might be Danish. Looking to the fact that there are no people from the second type yet, IMO there is no black Danish people, possibly with a very very few exceptions. There are many imigrants who are more African than Danish.

About Pet?fi: His family lived in Hungary for hundreds of years, so he had in fact connection with Hungarian culture. The fact that he felt like a Hungarian makes him Hungarian, You are right here. I'm also interested what kind of connection the African people have with Danish culture.

Bauer might be French, but he is possibly not, only he knows. He is a French citizen, but we don't know if he is French, so "French citizen" would have been more appropriate.

Anatoli Vaisser and Vladislav Tkachiev are definitely not French.

"Why not say Obama is not a real American because he has a Kenyan name."
I'm sure that Larry Sinclair knows what kind of American he is. This was a self-goal.

"I’ll be happy to give you my address and phone number if you think it’s necessary to have an opinion."
You can always have Your opinion, but if You decide to share Your opinion with somebody else, You shouldn't call him/her names. You can be right or wrong, but Your style is not acceptable. Why? Because You would be offended if somebody would've said that You are "stupid", "pathetic" or "troll", just because his/her opinion differs from Yours. We are all human beings and the world can become a better place if we all act like human beings. Believe me, I didn't brake the law just by not agreeing with You.

Gens una sumus.

Squeaky Toy's picture


you just showed that you don't know what you are talking about :

being french has nothing to do with the name or when you acquired the citizenship, France is a traditional imigration country, that is how France had been built, like the USA for exemple. Since most of french people dont have a french name, we dont consider the name and the roots as discriminative, it is just : if you feel french than you are french, that's it.

if you say to jennifer lopez she is not american because she has a spanish name she ll be offended, the same as if you say to an alsacian like Bauer he is not french he too will be offended.

So it sounds like your hobby is to offence people because maybe you dont have anything else to do in your life (ie huge messages posted) ?

GG's picture

Lajos, one can be a French of Armenian origin, or a Russian of German origin, and so on. Do we always need to mention that? Can you imagine an article entitled - "American president of Kenyan origin Obama received today the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov, of Armenian origin.
Maybe we really need to create special words for making this people Armenorussians and Americanokenyans?

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