Armenia beats France 19.5-12.5
On 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 ‚Ç¨ 3000, the losers ‚Ç¨ 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
The team's top players meet: Vachier-Lagrave - Aronian
Akopian vs Lautier
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 ‚Ç¨ 12,000
All photos ¬© Antti Parkkinen
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