The question is what does this kind of politic have anything to do with chess? Do chess players really care about this? I personally see no anomosity between the Armenians and Hungarian team members other than they both obviously want to win.

Armenia v Hungary matchup in Olympiad’s deciding round
08.09.12 | 08:27

Armenia has [un]luckily avoided its regional arch-rival Azerbaijan on ten match days of the current World Chess Olympiad in Istanbul, Turkey, only to run into its newfound ‘diplomatic foe’, Hungary, for the last round of play that will decide the winner of the tournament.

After easily disposing of the Netherlands 3-1 on Friday evening, the Armenian quartet has 17 points and shares the lead with China and Russia before the last, eleventh day of play scheduled for Sunday.

A victory in Round 11 may have a ‘gold’ value for any of the above-mentioned teams, and again, fortunately or unfortunately, Armenia (as the tournament’s official website has it) will play Hungary that has become the bitterest foe for the South Caucasus nation on the international arena in recent days in an unfolding row over a controversial extradition decision by Budapest.

On August 31, Hungary handed over to Azerbaijan a convicted murderer who hacked a sleeping Armenian army officer in Budapest in 2004 and was serving a life sentence in a Hungarian jail. The man, Ramil Safarov, was pardoned by Azeri President Ilham Aliyev and promoted in his military rank shortly after arriving home.

This angered Armenia that severed its ties with Hungary, accusing the latter of striking a secret deal with Azerbaijan. Anti-Hungarian sentiments in Armenia have been strong since then, despite the call from President Serzh Sargsyan — incidentally also the head of the Armenian Chess Federation — not to burn Hungarian flags and insult Hungarians otherwise during protests.

Both Armenia and Hungary have strong chess teams and have met during almost all major international tournaments in the past. Armenia beat Hungary in the last match of the two nations played as part of the 2011 World Team Championships. Armenia went on to win the tournament then.

Led by FIDE’s current number one player Levon Aronian Armenia already won World Chess Olympiads twice in the past – in 2006 and 2008.


Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
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