Karen Asrian
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Karen Asrian

Karen Asrian
Karen Asrian 2007.jpg
Asrian at EuroChess 2007
Born(1980-04-24)24 April 1980
Died9 June 2008(2008-06-09) (aged 28)
TitleGrandmaster (1998)
Peak rating2646 (January 2006)
Peak rankingNo. 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.[1]

He won the Armenian Chess Championship in 1999,[2] 2007,[3] and 2008,[4] 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.[5]

In Armenia he became team champion in 2006 and 2007 with Bank King Yerevan[6]. 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.[7] His final Elo rating, in April 2008, was 2630.[8]

Tournament records

  • 2003 4th European Individual Chess Championship 8/13
  • 2004 3rd Aeroflot Open 5.5/9
  • 2004 Petrosian Memorial Tournament 6/9
  • 2004 6th Dubai Open 5/9
  • 2004 5th European Individual Chess Championship 8/13
  • 2005 65th Armenian Championship 7/11
  • 2005 4th Aeroflot Open 5.5/9
  • 2005 Karabakh International 4/9
  • 2005 6th European Individual Chess Championship 9/13
  • 2006 66th Armenian Championship 5.5/9
  • 2006 5th Aeroflot Open 5.5/9
  • 2006 37th Chess Olympiad 5/10
  • 2007 67th Armenian Championship 9.5/13
  • 2007 6th Aeroflot Open 5.5/9
  • 2007 7th European Individual Chess Championship 6/11
  • 2008 68th Armenian Championship 8/13
  • 2008 Moscow Open 6/9
  • 2008 7th Aeroflot Open 5.5/9
  • 2008 8th European Individual Chess Championship 6.5/11


On 9 June 2008, the Chess Federation of Armenia reported that Asrian had died of a heart attack while driving.[9] 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.[8]

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.[10]

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.[11]


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.[12] Asrian and Aronian had both been on the 37th Chess Olympiad gold medal-winning team.[13]

Notable games


  1. ^ " ? " (in Russian). Gazeta.ru. Retrieved 2010.
  2. ^ Crowther, Mark (1 November 1999). "The Week in Chess 260: 59th Armenian Chess Championship". London Chess Center. Retrieved 2009.
  3. ^ Crowther, Mark (29 January 2007). "The Week in Chess 638: 67th Armenian Chess Championship". London Chess Center. Retrieved 2009.
  4. ^ Crowther, Mark (28 January 2008). "The Week in Chess 690: 68th Armenian Chess Championship". London Chess Center. Retrieved 2009.
  5. ^ "Olympiad R13 Armenia and Ukraine take Gold". ChessBase. 5 June 2006. Retrieved 2011.
  6. ^ Armenian club championships of Karen Asrian at olimpbase.org
  7. ^ "Grandmaster, Armenian chess champion Asrian dies at 28". MSNBC. 9 June 2008. Archived from the original on 13 June 2008. Retrieved 2008.
  8. ^ a b "Top Armenian GM Karen Asrian dies at 28". ChessBase. 9 June 2008. Retrieved 2013.
  9. ^ "Grandmaster, Armenian chess champion Asrian dies at 28". MSNBC. 9 June 2008. Archived from the original on 13 June 2008. Retrieved 2008.
  10. ^ "Peter Leko leads Karen Asrian Memorial in Yerevan". ChessBase. 14 June 2008. Retrieved 2013.
  11. ^ "Chess in Iran - the Premier League". ChessBase. 17 June 2008. Retrieved 2013.
  12. ^ "Karen Asrian Memorial (2008)". ChessGames.com. Retrieved 2013.
  13. ^ "Asrian Memorial: Aronian catches Leko in the final rounds". ChessBase.com. 15 June 2008. Retrieved 2013.

Further reading

External links

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