Armenia & Georgia happy, Ukraine not so much

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
Armenia Georgia UkraineWhile several videos have emerged on the internet showing Armenians and Georgians celebrating and cheering, after their best chess players won gold at the Olympiad in Dresden, Ukraine is less happy. They worry about their best player Vassily Ivanchuk, who refused a doping test, and to make matters worse their Gaprindashvili Cup was broken and its diamond stolen.

It's common knowledge that chess is a pretty big sport in Armenia. Their President Serzh Sargsian is also President of the chess federation, and during the last round and the closing ceremony he accompanied and supported his chess team. But how popular exactly chess is among the "people on the street" becomes clear in this video, showing the arrival of the men's team:


The Georgian women's team also received a warm welcome after returning home. As the Rustavi2 Broadcasting website reports, on November 28 Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili met with the team in the Avlabari Residence. A video shows that he awarded cash bonuses and Orders of Honours to the Georgian women chess players who won the Olympic gold medals four the 4th time.

Georgian TV

The festivities covered by Georgian TV


Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili


Many spectators, including the Olympiad winners...


...including board one and gold medal winner Maia Chiburdanidze (l.)

Receiving the Order of Honour

Receiving the Order of Honour...

Chiburdanidze speaks

...and giving a short, thankful speech of her own

Meanwhile, except for the silver medal won by the women's team, in Ukraine there's not much reason to be happy ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú on the contrary. In the final round in Dresden the men's team, almost sure of a medal and with good chances for gold, got beaten 3?Ǭ?-?Ǭ? by the USA and finished 4th.

Terribly disappointed, board one player Vassily Ivanchuk refused to attend a doping control afterwards. According to current regulations the Ukrainian number one risks a two-year ban from FIDE tournaments. There's not a living soul who would want to be responsible for causing such a situation, but on the other hand, FIDE is desperately trying to become an Olympic sport. It remains to be seen whether this is the end of this story, but let's hope so...

Update 14:41 CET - Stefan L?ɬ?ffler's article (in German) on the Ivanchuk story has now been put online by the Berliner Zeitung.

To make matters worse, the diamond inside the Gaprindashvili Cup, the prize for best combined result won by the Ukrainian team, has been stolen. RussiaToday reports:

Broken cipLeonid Timoshenko, a representative of the Ukrainian Chess Federation, has had a precious diamond he was carrying stolen. He was accompanying a diamond-encrusted cup, which had been won by the Ukrainian National Chess Team in the World-Wide Chess Olympiad in Germany, on a flight from Frankfurt to Kiev.

After landing, Timoshenko saw that his bag had been opened up. The cup, which is named after the famous Georgian chess player Nona Gaprindashvili, was broken and the stone had vanished.

The group carrying the cup had flown through Frankfurt on their way back to Kiev. It was in Frankfurt that they were forced to check the cup into baggage. On the previous flight from Dresden they were allowed to take it onboard as a carry-on piece.

More reports on this issue by Ukrainian media:

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