Azat Artsakh - Repubic of Nagorno Karabakh
March 22, 2004


In spite of all the efforts of Azerbaijan to hinder the organization
tournament, on March 8 the International Chess Tournament started in
Stepanakert devoted to the 75th anniversary of the 9th champion of the
world Tigran Petrossian. Ten grand masters from Switzerland, Poland,
Latvia, Russia, Iran and Armenia participated in the tournament. From
March 8 to 17 Artsakh was in the center of attention of the
chess-players of the world. Not only those present but also the
visitors of the web site, whose number was over 30 thousand, could
witness the events of the tournament. March 17 was the day of the
ceremony of official closing of the tournament with the participation
of NKR prime minister Anoushavan Danielian, members of the government,
participants of the tournament. During the ceremony the guests watched
a film about the tournament. The guests and participants were
presented with souvenirs. The medal "Gratitu! de" was conferred on the
tenth champion of the world Boris Spassky for his contribution to
development of chess in Artsakh. The first referee of the tournament
Anatoly Bikhovsky announced the names of the winners. The winner of
the international chess tournament in Stepanakert became Karen Asrian
with 6 points of the 9. The second place was taken by the
representative of Poland Bartolamei Manea with 5.5 points, and Gabriel
Sarghissian took the third place. During the closing ceremony NKR
prime minister Anoushavan Danielian thanked in the name of the NKR
president, the National Assembly and the government all those people
who contributed to organizing and holding the tournament. He
especially thanked Boris Spassky, the tenth chess champion of the
world. The prime minister announced that the tournament will become
traditional and the participants and guests of the tournament will be
invited to take part in the next tournament. The tenth champion ! of
the world addressed the participants of the tournament who ! witnessed
interesting games during 9 days and expressed regret for one of the
participants who had to stop his participation in the last round for
certain political reasons. "It seems to me that this tournament became
a kind of political "shooting gallery". I am not an expert in this
field and cannot state who is right and who is wrong. I did my duties
concerning chess. I don't know whether I managed to be useful but next
time if I come to Karabakh we will not meet similar difficulties and
the tournament will go on in a calmer and more favourable situation,"
said Boris Spassky. Swiss champion Yanik Peletier who won the sympathy
of the audience, confessed that he arrived in Artsakh as a chess-player
and not as someone who is interested in politics. At the end of the
ceremony grand master Karen Asrian answered our questions. The young
chess-player mentioned that this is his third victory. "I often visit
Karabakh because my fathe! r was born here and we have many
relatives. I am glad that this time I arrived as a chess-player and
succeeded. I will say that the tournament was held on a high level due
to the NKR authorities and the leadership of the Armenian academy
"Chess" whom I thank," added Karen Asrian. Stepanakert parted with the
participants of the tournament with the anticipation of meeting again
next year.