IM (1988); GM (1991); World U16 Champion (1986); World U18 Champion (1989); World Junior Champion (1991); Armenian Champion (1996 & 1997); vice-World Champion (FIDE) (1999).
Vladimir Akopian (Վլադիմիր Հակոբյան) was born in Baku in what is now the Republic of Azerbaijan.
<Youth and Junior> Akopian won the World Under-16 Championship in 1986, the World Under-18 Championship in 1989 and the World Junior Championship in 1991, the latter occurring in the same year he became a Grandmaster.
<National, Regional and Continental> He won the South Caucasus Men's Championship in 1986, the Armenian Chess Championship in 1996 and 1997. He placed =2nd (12th on tiebreak) at the 13th European Individual Championship (2012), scoring 8/11 and thereby qualifying for the 2013 World Cup.
<World> In 1999 he defeated Maia Chiburdanidze, Rogelio Antonio Jr, Evgeny Bareev, Kiril Dimitrov Georgiev, Sergei Movsesian and Michael Adams in the earlier rounds of the FIDE knockout world championship in Las Vegas but lost to Alexander Khalifman in the final match 3.5-2.5. He was given the title of Vice Champion of the World. In the 2002 World Championship Knockout Tournament held in New Delhi and Tehran, Akopian was seeded directly into the second round but was beaten by Aleksej Aleksandrov. At the FIDE World Championship Knockout Tournament (2004), he defeated Jose Gonzalez Garcia, Utut Adianto, Alexander Moiseenko, Michal Krasenkow before he was defeated in the quarter-finals by the player he had defeated in the 1999 semi-finals, Michael Adams. He qualified for the FIDE World Championship Tournament (2005), but forfeited his first round to Gary W Lane in a walkover after his no-show. He fared better at the World Chess Cup (2007), defeating Anton Filippov, Ehsan Ghaem Maghami and Vladimir Malakhov before losing to Alexey Shirov in round 4. He also qualified to play in the World Cup (2011), and again lost in a walkover, this time to Parimarjan Negi due to a broken leg incurred before the start of the tournament. He lost to Ngoc Truongson Nguyen in the first round of the World Cup (2013), and exited the contest.
Akopian's tournament victories include the U.S. Open of 1991 (shared with US GM Michael Rohde), =1st at Niksic 1991; 1st at Beersheba in 1992, 3rd at Ubeda 1999; =1st with Alexey Kuzmin at Dubai 1999; =1st (=8-10th after a blitz tiebreak in which he declined to participate) at the World Open at Philadelphia 1999 ; =2nd behind Gregory Kaidanov at Calcutta 2000; 1st at the 4th Enghien les Bains in 2001, =1st with Zhong Zhang at the US National Open in Las Vegas in 2001, 1st at the 5th International Open in Bavaria in 2001, =6th with 6/9, half a point behind the 5 co-winners at the Aeroflot Open Group A in 2004, =1st (5th on tiebreak) at the Aeroflot Open (2005), =2nd behind Pavel Eljanov at the Amsterdam Chess Tournament (2005); =5th, half a point behind the 4 joint leaders at the Aeroflot Open (2006), =8th at the Isle of Man 2006, 1st at the 5th Gibraltar Chess Festival (2007), and =2nd at the 4th FIDE Grand Prix (2009). He scored 6.5/9 in the 14th Dubai Open (2012), placing 5th, a half point behind the 4 co-leaders. Soon after, in May 2012, he won the Albena Open (2012) in Bulgaria with 7/9, on tiebreak ahead of Ivan Cheparinov, Tigran Levonovich Petrosian, Tamir Nabaty and Karen H Grigoryan. In November 2012, he came =3rd with 7/9 at the Chigorin Memorial (2012). He started 2013 with a par-for-rating 6.5/9 - a point from the lead - at the 15th Dubai Open. In October 2013, he scored 6.5/9, half a point behind 11 joint leaders at the Chigorin Memorial (2013).
Akopian started 2014 with a par-for rating 6/9 at the powerful Bronstein Memorial (2014). He followed up with 6/9 at the 16th Dubai Open Chess in April, 6/9 at the Grand Europe Cup Albena 2014 in June and 6/9 at the Grand Europe Cup Golden Sands immediately afterwards, again in June. He finished 2014 with a par-for-rating 6/9 at the powerful Qatar Masters (2014). September 2015 saw a similar par-for-rating 6/9 at the Abu Dhabi Chess Festival. In December 2015, he scored a rating enhancing 6/9 at the Qatar Masters (2015) which returned him to the world's top 100 for the first time since April 2015.
Akopian has played in various national team championships and has been a mainstay on Armenian chess teams for many years, racking up an impressive list of achievements:
<National Team Championships> He has had a spectacular run in the Russian Team Championships, including winning team gold and individual silver playing for Ladya Kazan in 2002 <and> ShK Tomsk-400-Yukos in 2004, before moving to play with Ural (Sverdlovsk). There he won team and individual silver in 2005, team gold in the Russian Club Cup (2006), team silver and individual gold in the Russian Team Championship (2007) and team gold and individual bronze in the Russian Team Championship (2008). He has also played in French and Spanish Team Championships, the Serbian League and most recently in 2012, the Chinese League (2012).
<European Club Cup>: His inaugural appearance in the ECC in 1995 was auspicious, helping his team Yerevan to a gold medal. He played for Yerevan once more in 1997 before taking a 5 year break from this competition, returning in 2002 to play for Ladya Kazan. Although he won individual gold with SK Alkaloid Skopje in the European Clubs Cup (Men) (2003), he moved on to play with South Ural Chelyabinsk in 21st European Club Cup (2005), his team placing 4th. In the European Club Cup (2006) and the European Club Cup (2007) he played for Ural (Sverdlovsk), scoring team bronze and team silver respectively. In Euro Club Cup (2008), he played for CA Magic Mérida, scoring individual silver, and then played for MIKA Yerevan in the European Club Cup (2009) and in the European Club Cup (2010), winning team silver in 2009.
<European Teams Championship> He has represented Armenia in the European Team Championships of 1992, 1997 (winning team bronze), the 15th European Team Championship (2005), the European Team Chess Championships (2007) (winning team silver), the 17th European Team Championship (2009), the European Team Championship (2011) (winning individual bronze) and in the European Team Championship (2013).
<Olympiad> He played in the Chess Olympiads of 1992 (winning team bronze medal), 1994, 1996 and 1998, in the Bled Olympiad (2002) (winning team bronze), the 36th Olympiad (2004) (team bronze), the 37th Chess Olympiad (2006) (team gold), the Olympiad (2008) (team and individual gold), in the Chess Olympiad (2010), the 40th Chess Olympiad (2012) (team gold and individual silver for board 3) and in the Chess Olympiad (2014) held in Tromsø.
<Rest of the World> In 2002 he played in the Russia - The Rest of the World (2002) match in Moscow, representing the World team and in 2004, he played in the Armenia - The Rest of the World (2004) match, representing the home team.
<World Team Championship> Akopian also played for Armenia in the World Team Chess Championships of 1993, 1997 (team bronze medal), 2001 (team bronze medal), the World Team Championship (2005) (team bronze medal) and the World Team Championship (2010). He was a member of the gold-medal winning Armenian team at the World Team Chess Championship in 2011. He also represented Armenia on board 3 at the FIDE World Team Championship (2013).
Akopian was in the world's top 100 from January 1991 until May 2015, reaching his peak ranking of #11 in the world in January 2003. He returned to the top 100 in January 2016. His peak standard rating was 2713 in July 2006 when he was ranked world #16 and again in October 2007 when he was world #18.
In 2004 Akopian was Peter Leko 's second in the Kramnik - Leko World Championship Match (2004) in Brissago and in 2005, he worked in Qatar helping the country's best chess players, in particular GM Mohamad Al-Modiahki and his wife, former women's world chess champion Zhu Chen. Akopian was awarded the Khorenatsi medal in 2006 and in December 2009, he was awarded the title of "Honoured Master of Sport of the Republic of Armenia".
Sources and references
Armenian Chess: http://armenianchessplayers.blogspo...; Chess Network Company Biography of Akopian: http://www.chessnc.com/biography/pe...; 365 chess: http://www.365chess.com; 10-way tie at the 1999 world Open: http://www.anusha.com/worldo99.htm
Wikipedia article: Vladimir Akopian
Last updated 1 January 2016