YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–The FIDE world champion Anatoly Karpov awarded gold medals to the team of Armenian chess-players who earned championships in the recent World Jr. Chess Olympiad in Istanbul. Gabriel Sargssian won first place and Levon Aronyan–Varuzhan Hakobian and Tigran Petrossian placed second. Aronyan also won a blitz competition held at the end of the Olympiad and was awarded $500; his teammates Hakobian and Sargssian placed third and fourth and were awarded $300 and $200 respectively.
However–the chess team did not return home without experiencing some discrimination. At the competition–the Armenian national anthem was not performed and the national flag was not hoisted in honor of the winners–the head coach of the Armenian team–Vladimir Hayrapetian told Noyan Tapan. In fact–the national anthems of second and third place Ukraine and Georgia were not performed either.
"But it did not affect us in any way–we had our flag in the gymnasium under which we had our pictures taken," the coach said.
Before returning home–the Armenian team and coach Hayrapetian visited the residence of the Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople and were received by the Patriarch’s locum tenens Archbishop Mesrop Mutafyan–who congratulated the young Armenian chess-players upon their brilliant performance in Istanbul and wished them more successes in the future.
On the team’s return to Zvartnots airport in Yerevan–the young champions were met by the minister of interior and national security and chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Armenian Chess Federation.
The chairman of the Armenian Chess Federation–Vanik Zakarian called the victory of the Armenian team–"natural." According to him–there are at least four or five promising junior chess players in Armenia in addition to the junior chess team. The chairman of the Chess Federation strongly believes that the future of chess in the republic is perspective if only the youth "do not engage themselves in other businesses at the same time and consistently compete in chess."
In regards to the discrimination–Armenia will submit its opinion in the form of a statement by the Foreign Ministry–Presidential Spokeswoman Gassia Abcarian said. Previously–the Turkish Football Federation demanded that the participation of the football star Yuri Djorkaeff–who is half Armenian–in the match between Turkey and the World Team dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the Turkish Republic be prohibited.
Abcarian found inadmissible the intervention of the Turkish powers in election of the Armenian patriarch of Constantinople and his locum tenens. She mentioned that Turkey is an OSCE member–therefore–Armenia expects other OSCE member-states to express their attitude towards Turkey in that connection.
The presidential spokeswoman’said that the aforementioned incidents do not promote mutual trust between the two countries