diagonal: Vaganian got an invitation to play in the forthcoming International Grandmaster Tournament at the 50th Jubilee edition of the Biel Chess Festival 2017!
It doesn't happen every day that a veteran player, aged 65, got a chance to battle some (super)grandmasters of today in a closed tournament. Vaganian will face Harikrishna, Navara, Bacrot, Pono, Moro, Leko, and Yifan You. On the other end of the scale, he will be challenged by the two young Swiss players Nico Georgiadis and Noel Studer.
Accomplishments and tournament wins (selection):
1st-3rd for the Niemeyer tournament in the European Junior Championship in 1968-69 at Groningen (but second on tie-break).
Vaganian played 10 times in the USSR Championships, and his best results were <in 1989 at Odessa when he was crowned sole National USSR Champion> and in 1975 when he was equal second.
His maybe most prominent international wins dates from official tournaments:
Biel Interzonal (1985)
Montpellier Candidates (1985)
<Winner Interzonal in Biel 1985>. Vaganian arrived clear first, in a field including Polugaevsky, Seirawan, Ljubojevic, Andersson, Sax, Torre, or young Short (in total 18 players).
In the following <Candidates' Tournament in Montpellier 1985>, Raf Vaganian took joint first place, with Arthur Yusupov and Andrei Sokolov, but lost his pre-semifinal match to A. Sokolov by 2-6 in Minsk in 1986 (the eventual winner of the Candidate's final did not have the status of a Challenger as usual, he 'only' got the right for a match against Anatoly Karpov who had been seeded directly into that extra-final).
In 1988, Vaganian qualified again for the Candidates', but in the 1/7- finals (Karpov seeded), he lost to Portisch narrowly by 2½-3½ in St. John, Canada.
Won or shared the victory in <Vrnjacka Banja 1971> (as IM ahead of Stein in a pretty strong field including also Ivkov, Ljubojevic, Matulovic, Janosevic, Damjanovic, and Benko; Rafael Vaganian thus was awarded the GM title for this victory), Valencia 1974, Kragujevac 1974, Sant Feliu 1975, <Rome (Banco di Roma) 1977> (joint), Sao Paolo 1977, Kirovakan 1978, <Las Palmas (8th edition) 1979>, <Manila (Marlboro) 1981>, <Hastings 1982-83> (14 players, Vaganian 2.5 points ahead of the rest), <Moscow International 1982> (joint with Tal), <Tallinn (Keres Memorial) 1983> (joint with Tal again, 16 players incl. Petrosian), Lvov 1984, (joint with Dorfman), <Nimzowitsch Memorial (50th Anniv of his death), Naestved 1985> (joint with Browne and Larsen), <Sochi (Chigorin Memorial) 1986>, <Leningrad International (70th Anniv of October Revolution) 1987> then a prestigious win, today rather overlooked, Marseille (closed) 1987, Copenhagen Open 1987, Esbjerg, North Sea Cup 1988 (joint with Kupreichik, ahead of Larsen), <Reykjavik Open 1990> (joint with a bunch of players), Toronto (closed) 1990, <Moscow International 1991>, Porz Open 1991 (joint), Ter Appel (Cloister) 1992, <Reggio Emilia 1992/93>, Ter Appel (Cloister) 1993, World Open, Philadelphia 1994 (joint, Serper won on tie-break), <Reggio Emilia 1994/95>, <Aeroflot Open, Moscow 2004> (joint, Rublevsky won in a three-way-tie).
<With the Soviet Union in the Olympiads of 1984 and 1986 two team gold medals plus an individual gold medal in 1986> as well as a team silver medal in 1978. He played at board 5 in the match USSR vs the Rest of the World in 1984 (Vaganian lost to Ribli 1.5-2.5). A member of the winning USSR team at the European Team Chess Championships in 1980 and 1983. Six times, a member of the Armenian Team in the Olympiads with a bronze medal for the team ranking in 1992 and in 2004, plus <a gold medal for the best individual performance at board 3 in 2004>.
Highest nominal Elo rating: 2670 in the year 2005. <Highest ranking no. 3= of the world in 1986 (January-June)>, after wining the Biel Interzonal in 1985, and co-winning the Candidate’s tournament the same year.