Rafael Vahanyan represents an entire era in world chess

This is how international chess master Rafael Vahanyan was described during an event dedicated to his 60th anniversary held at the National Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet after Al.

Spendiaryan in Yerevan. Rafael Vahanyan is truly a famous chess player who has become a two-time Olympic champion and double world champion in teams. Starting in the late 1970s, Rafael Vahanyan attracted the international chess community and became popular with his exceptional capabilities. Anatoli Karpov’s evaluation should be mentioned: “It is always hard to play with Rafael Vahanyan because he is a master of making unexpected decisions and unique improvisations. For him, any match is a creation, inspiration and it is like he is in his own world. He doesn’t think a lot about victory because he places importance on the beauty and the spontaneity of the match.” Garry Kasparov, following Rafael Vahanyan, wrote: “These kinds of chess players are born once very hundred years. Vahanyan has brilliant logic and his every move is based on logic. One can be inspired when playing with Vahanyan.” Some people, who have admired Vahanyan’s game and mastery, have also mentioned his “clumsiness”. Turning the match into exercise, Vahanyan hasn’t cared about the outcome and has simply put issues and exercises to the test. In the 1980s, a Russian newspaper wrote about Vahanyan. “He is the Paganini in chess and has some amazing “devil” inside of him…” There have also been many other opinions and many have mentioned that Vahanyan truly is an exceptional person who is able to show resistance even with the most difficult opponent and never loses matches…

“Sometimes I can be weak when I am preparing for a tournament, and then suddenly I can rely on my senses and take a step that I hadn’t thought of. However, chess is a very exact game. You can’t be light-minded and willful…” this is what Vahanyan has written about himself.

Rafael Vahanyan was born in Yerevan to the family of physics teacher Artem Vahanyan. He started playing chess at the age of five, became champion of the USSR championship for schoolchildren at the age of 16 and was recognized as one of the winners at the international youth chess tournament held in Groninghem at the age of 18. After his first achievements, Vahanyan began his raid of victories in world chess that continued until the early 1990s. He is the only chess player that has received the ranking of grosmeister without having a ranking of international master…

A day before the event dedicated to his 60th birthday-anniversary, Rafael Vahanyan was hosted at Yerevan State University where YSU Rector, correspondent-member of the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia Aram Simonyan congratulated the guest and praised his role in the development of Armenian chess. “More and more people are interpreting Rafael Vahanyan’s beautiful matches as they take a glance back. The chess player symbolizes the entire lineup of chess players of the Soviet era,” Simonyan said.

In his speech, President of the Chess Academy of Armenia Smbat Lputyan mentioned that he and many people like him were following Vahanyan’s examples when they were just beginning to get involved in professional chess, and not just from the other legendary Armenian chess player Tigran Petrosyan. Whereas Petrosyan was living in Russia and didn’t visit Armenia too often, Vahanyan was living in Armenia.

“For us, Rafael Vahanyan was a glorious chess player. He had the God-given talent of sensing the position in chess, which many professionals don’t have. I am certain that he still has that God-given talent,” the President of the Chess Academy of Armenia added.

Vahanyan’s father, Artem Vahanyan told the gathered how his son paved the difficult path toward the world of chess. “Rafik was only four years old when I noticed his love for chess while I was playing with one of my friends. I tried him, and it turned out that he knew how to make certain moves in chess. After that, he started getting seriously involved in chess and participated in several competitions, and now he is an international grosmeister and a world renowned chess player. I am proud of him.”

Rafael Vahanyan was awarded the 1st degree medal “For services to the homeland” by RA President Serzh Sargsyan during the ceremony held at the National Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet.

Levon Mutafyan

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