YEREVAN, Armenia (AP) - Karen Asrian, an Armenian chess grandmaster who was the ex-Soviet nation's reigning champion and won the 2006 Chess Olympiad, died Monday after suddenly losing consciousness, the Armenian Chess Federation said. He was 28. Asrian was ranked 92nd by the World Chess Federation, or FIDE. Apparently feeling ill, Asrian pulled his car into a court yard in the Armenian capital, Yerevan, early Monday and lost consciousness, the Armenian Chess Federation said. An ambulance crew pronounced him dead at the scene, possibly of a heart attack, it said. A moment of silence was held in his memory before the opening of a speed-chess tournament in Yerevan on Monday after his death was announced by Armenian player Smbat Lputian.
Upon learning of his passing, Akopian, Sargissian and Aronian (seen in the picture above with Asrian holding the flag), who were playing in the Chess Giants Rapid in Yerevan, immediately made 10 move draws with their opponents and rushed off to pay respects to his family, highlighting the close bonds Asrian had with his fellow chess professionals. A truly wonderful gesture on their part.
I feel incredibly sad that for a player so young and talented and with still so much more to live for should suddenly just collapse and die.
A black day for Armenian chess.
Rest in peace, Asrian.