Asrian at EuroChess 2007
|Born||24 April 1980|
|Died||9 June 2008 (aged 28)|
|Peak rating||2646 (January 2006)|
|Peak ranking||No. 61 (October 2005)|
Karen Asrian (Armenian: ; 24 April 1980 - 9 June 2008) was an Armenian chess player. Awarded the title of Grandmaster by FIDE in 1998, he was a three-time Armenian champion. Asrian was a member of the gold medal-winning Armenian team in the 37th Chess Olympiad.
Asrian started playing chess in 1985, became an international master in 1997 and a grandmaster in 1998. He graduated from the Armenian State Institute of Physical Culture and Sport in 2001.
He won the Armenian Chess Championship in 1999, 2007, and 2008, and the Dubai 2001 and 2004 Tigran Petrosian Memorial tournaments. In 2006, Asrian competed on third board for the gold-medal winning Armenian team at the Chess Olympiad in Turin.
In Armenia he became team champion in 2006 and 2007 with Bank King Yerevan. In Russia he played for South Ural Chelyabinsk in 2006 and 2007 and for the Chess Federation of Moscow in 2008. In the French first division, the Top 16, he played for Bischwiller in 2006/07 and 2007/08.
On 9 June 2008 the Chess Federation of Armenia reported that Asrian had died of a suspected heart attack while driving, which was confirmed the following day. His final Elo rating, in April 2008, was 2630.
On 9 June 2008, the Chess Federation of Armenia reported that Asrian had died of a heart attack while driving. Asrian, feeling ill, pulled his car into a courtyard in the Armenian capital of Yerevan on an early Monday and then lost consciousness. An ambulance crew pronounced him dead at the scene, possibly of a heart attack. A moment of silence was held in his memory before the opening of a speed-chess tournament in Yerevan on Monday, after his death was announced by Armenian chess player Smbat Lputian.
Asrian received an open casket funeral on June 11 in the Tigran Petrosian Chess House. President of Armenia and the Armenian Chess Federation Serzh Sargsyan, Prime Minister of Armenia Tigran Sargsyan, Chairman of Parliament of Armenia Tigran Torosyan, participants of the GM tournament held in Yerevan, and thousands of chess lovers were present at the funeral service.
He was supposed to take part in the Iranian Chess Premier League, shortly before his death. Before the arbiters started the clocks in the first round on Thursday 12 June, there was a minute's silence in honour of Grandmaster Karen Asrian's memory. Ehsan Ghaem Maghami, the leading chess player in Iran and fellow club teammate of Fajr-e-Shams-e-Atieh, gave a speech before the start of the tournament and sorrowfully announced the passing of his good friend Asrian and, on behalf of the Iranian Chess Community, expressed his sincere condolences to Karen's family, friends and the entire World Chess Community.
The Chess Giants Yerevan tournament was named such up until 2008. After the sudden and tragic death of Asrian on 9 June 2008, the same day the tournament began, the Chess Federation of Armenia decided to interrupt the event for a few days, and then rename it to the Karen Asrian Memorial, which will be its name in the future. Compatriot Levon Aronian won that same first Karen Asrian Memorial on 15 June. Asrian and Aronian had both been on the 37th Chess Olympiad gold medal-winning team.