11, 2008

Speech by President Sargsyan on the occasion of the gold victory of the men’s national chess team at the World Chess Olympiad

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Dear Compatriots,

I congratulate all of us on the occasion of the brilliant victory of the Armenia’s national team at the World Chess Olympiad.

It is a celebration for all of us, for me it’s a triple celebration. I would like to speak as the President of Armenia, as the President of the Armenian Chess Federation and as a chess devotee, who was waiting yesterday, just like everybody else, for our team to win. I am confident that had there be such a chance all the Armenians would have gathered in Dresden to support our guys. This sense of national unity is, probably, our greatest victory.
It is difficult to become the champion; it is even more difficult to defend the title. For fifteen days we were holding our breath and following the battles unfolding on the chess boards in Dresden. Right before our eyes another unforgettable page of the Armenian chess history is being written. The Armenian chess players through their splendid performance, talent and will power proved once again that our country is a chess superpower.

Dear Compatriots,
Here you see members of the team which defended the honor of our country and our colors. It wouldn’t be too much to say that we see here celebrated sons of our nation. Any country in the world would be proud to have such a team, even the largest and the most powerful ones. However, this celebration, the second in a row, they have brought just for us.
Today, I recall the fervor with which you greeted the winners of the Turin World Chess Olympiad two years ago. I recall the excitement at the Opera’s courtyard. I remember how joy and tears of the fans came together when the members of our gold team appeared on the stage. Karen Asrian was among them, and today too he should have been here. This victory is also his victory.
On that day we promised you new victories. The promise was fulfilled. We are witnessing a new victory which proved that the previous one was only natural, it proved the gold standard of our chess school.
Through its talent and resolve, Armenia’s national team has been able to subdue the teams which are considered to be stronger and have a higher rating.
All the international commentators unanimously noted the team spirit of our players. Every member of our national team is an exceptional individual, however together they are a team:
one willpower,
one goal,
one flag.
The flag which was waving in Dresden in honor of our defending champions, the flag which will also be there at the next Olympiad.
We can and must achieve team victories.

Dear Compatriots,
You have already made a huge step forward, you have already wiped out the stereotype that we are a nation of individuals and can win only individually. You have been able to win as a team in the game of individuals.
We should rely on this victorious force of unity in all the spheres of our life. When we are together we can overcome any obstacle. This has been proved by our millennia long history, and today it is proved by the guys of our national team. We are together once again, we are united in our victory and in our joy. Victory and unity – these are eternal values.
In sport nobody is exempt from mistakes and slip-ups. There was a painful slip-up. However this is the difference between the champions and the others: the true champions are able to find enough strength at the crucial moment to come up with their best qualities – cold-bloodedness, purposefulness, and the unwavering belief in the ultimate win.
That unwavering belief engulfed and took in the whole Armenian nation and up to the last move in the last game, up to the last minute we believed in our guys, in their genius, in their invincibility. Our hearts were with them, and they knew it, they felt it.

Dear Compatriots,
Now you see in front of you those who not only today but also tomorrow will be the role models as the Armenians and the Armenian athletes. These people are the heroes of today’s Armenia: patriotic, gifted and victorious. Our society needs this type of heroes.

I am confident that today, in this hall and in front of TVs there are children who are making their first steps in chess playing, those who are Levon Aronians and Vladimir Hakopians, Gabrieal Sarkissians and Artashes Minasians of tomorrow, just like the Olympian champion Tigran Petrossian junior carries the name of the first Armenian world champion Tigran Petrossian.

On behalf of all of us I want to thank our chess players, the head coach of the team Arshak Petrossian, the Armenian Chess Federation and all those who have to a different extent brought their contribution to the common cause. Thank you for this great holiday.

It is always gratifying to win, but it is twice over so to win in the oldest and the most intellectual game of all. This is not arrogance; we have something to be really proud of. And today we are really proud.
Well done, guys, we are proud of you.

Long live the Armenian chess playing!
Long live the Armenian nation!
Armenia, forward!

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