Levon Aronian won plenty of golden medals with the Armenia chess team. For many years, Aronian remains its reliable leader, bringing important points to Armenia in team competitions.
Mediamax Sport is delighted to share the conversation with Levon Aronian in this issue of Unforgettable victory series.
I won many things throughout my career, but one victory is very special to me. It is the golden medal I earned in 2012 Chess Olympiad in Istanbul.
Our entire team was so eager to win, I cannot even describe it. I’ve never been that happy.
At certain moment, we had the same amount of points as the Russia team. Every game was important. Their team was phenomenally strong that year.
We had really tough games with the Germany team. My teammate Gabriel lost, Sergey drew, and Vladimir won. I won my game too, as my opponent played very badly. That day I felt so energized, I couldn’t think calmly. I was so active that I missed a good move, but I was able to get it finally and win.
In the last but one round the draw put Russians against the Argentina team that was relatively weak and placed us against the Netherlands team that was quite strong. To be honest, we were taken aback, because that’s not how the things were supposed to be, but we didn’t break. We defeated the Netherlands 3:1 easily and got closer to the final.
There we faced the Hungarian team. Sergey won, and Gabriel and I drew our respective games. Vladimir was still playing with Polgar. We saw that he had a winning position, but made a sacrifice and created a dangerous moment. We were surprised at that, but Polgar probably was also afraid of that situation on the chess board and didn’t change the pieces. In the end, they drew the game. We won and waited to see how Russia would fare. Nothing was clear, we were entangled in calculations, and we still feared, what if…
Sometime later we could finally breathe. We won the Olympiad. Then we decided to celebrate! I drank to the honor of the Russia team, who are so great they keep taking the second place, leaving the first for Armenia.
Many Armenian fans arrived to cheer for us, and my Armenian friends from Istanbul were there too. We were all so happy, it’s difficult to find comprehensible words for that.
I decided beforehand to take a vacation in Jordan after that Olympiad. But I canceled everything, returned the tickets and went to Yerevan with my team. It was a great victory. Those were the best years of our team.
Gohar Nalbandyan talked to Levon Aronian