FM (1996); IM (1998); GM (2002); World U14 Champion (1996); European U18 Champion (1998); Armenian champion (2000 & 2003)
Sargissian was born in Yerevan and learned chess from his grandfather at the age of 6. (a)
<Youth> Gabriel Eduardi Sargissian's first official rating was 2270 in July 1996 when he was thirteen. (1) A few months later, he won the World U14 Championship (2) that was staged at the Cala Galdana in the island of Minorca in Spain's Belearic Islands in the Mediterranean. He gained his FM title for his achievement. Two years later in 1998 he won the European U16 Championship that was played in Mureck in Austria, a year after he put in a reasonably sturdy performance (5.5/9) at the 1997 edition of the event. (3)
<Junior> He participated in the World Junior Championship in 1999, scoring 6/13, and fared slightly better in 2000 when he scored 7/13. In the World Junior Championship of 2001, he improved further with a solid 8/13, placing 12th in a field of 89 players.
<National> He first contested the national championship in 1999, aged 16, and finished outright 5th with 6/11, behind the winner, the late great Karen Asrian, and place getters Levon Aronian, Artashes Navasardovich Minasian and Arsen Yegiazarian respectively. (4) The following year, in 2000, he became the Armenian Champion at the age of 17 years finishing a full point ahead of the field which still contained Asrian and Aronian, (5) and repeated that feat three years later in 2003 at the age of 20, when he took out the championship for a second time. He was joint runner up with Asrian to the winner Ashot Gamletovich Anastasian in the 2005 Armenian Championship after both he and Asrian were leading the tournament, only to lose their respective games in the last round.
<Continental> Sargissian first played in a continental when he participated in the 2nd European Championship (2001) staged in Ohrid in Macedonia, but did not make the cut to qualify for the FIDE World Championship Knockout Tournament (2001/02). He placed 5th after a tiebreaker playoff in the 3rd European Individual Championship (2002), thereby qualifying to play in the World Championship tournament in 2004 (see below). (6) He was =8th, with 8/13, at the 5th Individual European Chess Championship (2004), but either failed to qualify for the World Cup 2005 or was unable to attend. He made the same score at the 6th European Individual Championship (2005) but the tiebreak went against him and consequently he missed the cut for the World Cup. Sargissian scored 7.5/11 at the European Individual Championship (2007), again missing the cut for the World Cup by tiebreak. He broke his losing streak in this event at the European Individual Championship (2008) when he scored 7.5/11, this time the tiebreak working in his favour to enable him to qualify for the World Cup in 2009. He again missed qualification for the following World Cup (in 2011) by tiebreak with his 7.5/11 at the European Individual Championship (2010) and repeated his tale of woe at the next event at the 13th European Individual Championship (2012), where he again scored 7.5/11, again missing qualification to the World Cup. His fortunes were reversed in the European Individual Championship (2014) where his 7.5/11 was sufficient to qualify for the World Cup 2015. He also scored 7.5/11 at the European Individual Championship (2015) and would have qualified for the World Cup 2015 had he not already done so in 2014.
<World> He first chanced his arm in the World Championship cycle when he contested the Parnormo Zonal in 1998 at the age of 15, scoring 5/11, 2 points off the lead. (7) He participated in one world championship tournament, the FIDE World Championship Knockout Tournament (2004), where he was paired against Sergei Tiviakov in the first round, but bowed out after a bitter struggle that was resolved by an Armageddon blitz tiebreaker. He qualified for the World Cup (2009) via his good result at the EICC 2008 (see above) and was paired against Li Chao in the first round. This was also a bitterly fought match, with the standard match drawn 1-1, the two sets of rapid game tiebreakers each tied 1-1, with his opponent winning the blitz tiebreaker.
Sargissian's score of 7.5/11 at the European Individual Championship (2014) secured him the qualification to compete in the World Cup (2015) where he defeated Mateusz Bartel in the first round, but lost to Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in the second round.
<1996-2001> Sargissian's first major international event was the Yerevan Open in 1996 where the 13 year old scored a respectable 5.5/11. (8) His first serious result in a non-championship event appears to have been =5th at the Linares Anibal open in January 2000, a point behind the co-leaders Sergey Dolmatov and Lajos Portisch, and a half point behind Sarunas Sulskis and Marat Dzhumaev. In May 2001, he was =3rd behind the co-leaders Arsen Yegiazarian and Baadur Aleksandrovich Jobava in the category 10 Rr19 'Nona-60' International in Georgia.
<2002-2005> In February 2002, Sargissian participated in the powerful and fiercely competitive Aeroflot Open, scoring 5.5/9, a point behind the five co-leaders of the event. He was =2nd with 6.5/9, a point behind the leader Baadur Jobava, in the Dubai Open 2003. His best win until then came when he took clear first with 7/9 at the Abu Dhabi Chess Festival in 2003. Late in 2004, he was =3rd behind Pavel Smirnov and Vassily Ivanchuk at the Tigran Petrosian Memorial tournament. In early 2005, the Gibraltar Open was a successful outing for Sargissian, who scored 7/10 to finish half a point behind the co-leaders in the event. The powerful Aeroflot Open (2005) event in the following month was a similar success rating-wise, if not on the leader board, with Sargissian finishing with 5.5/9, a point from the lead.
<2006-2008> Sargissian won the XXII Reykjavik Open (2006) with 7/9 on tiebreak ahead of co-leaders Ahmed Adly, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Igor Alexandre Nataf and Pentala Harikrishna, respectively. A month later he won the 8th Dubai Open (2006) with 7/9, again on tiebreak, this time ahead of Sergey Fedorchuk and Tigran Levonovich Petrosian. 2007 started with 2nd behind Pavel Eljanov at the category 14 Corus Group B (2007) followed by a rating-neutral 5.5/9 at the 6th Aeroflot Festival (2007) and a brilliant win at the Ruy Lopez Masters where he steamrollered the opposition to win with 6.5/7, 2.5 points clear of Ruslan Ponomariov and Julio Ernesto Granda Zuniga. In June 2007, his participation in the 7th N.K.Aratovsky Memorial Open yielded 6/9, half a point from the lead, and in the next month he placed =1st with 8/10 at the Politiken Cup (2007), but ultimately placed 3rd on tiebreak behind Michal Vladimirovich Krasenkow and Emanuel Berg.
<2009-2011> After a mediocre start in 2009 at the Moscow Open and a par-for-rating 5.5/9 result at the Aeroflot Open (2009), Sargissian won the Chicago Open in May 2009 and placed a short 3rd at the Politiken Cup in July, half a point behind co-leaders Boris Avrukh and Parimarjan Negi. Sargissian started 2010 with a solid 5.5/9 to place =7th at the Aeroflot Open (2010) and followed in July with =1st with 7/9 at the 2nd Rethymo International Open in Greece and =3rd behind Adam Tukhaev and Abhijeet Gupta later that month at the 19th Karvala International Open, also in Greece. Sargissian started 2011 with =4th at the category 17 Tata Steel Group B (2011), a point behind the co-leaders Luke McShane and David Navara, and half a point behind 3rd placed Zahar Efimenko.
<2012-2015> He won the 21st Annual Chicago Open in 2012 half a point clear of the field and went on to a clear win at the 4th International open tournament of Rethymno in Greece, also half a point clear of the field. Early in 2014, he placed =4th at the David Bronstein Memorial 2014 tournament staged in Belarus, half a point behind the three co-leaders, Baadur Jobava, Sergei Fedorchuk and Mikhailo Oleksienko. In May 2014, he won the 23rd Chicago Open 2014 with 7/9. He was =1st (3rd on tiebreak behind the winner Pentala Harikrishna and runner up Laurent Fressinet) at the powerful Isle of Man Masters (2015) event held in October 2015.
Team events (9)
<National representative> Sargissian has been a team player par excellence for his country through the years. He was a member of the Armenian team that won the first Junior Olympiad in 1998. (10) He first played in an Olympiad at the 34th Olympiad in Istanbul in 2000, aged 17, when he was inducted as the second reserve. He has played in every Olympiad since then and has accumulated an impressive array of medals including an individual gold (for board 3 in 2008), 3 team golds (37th Chess Olympiad (2006), Olympiad (2008) & Chess Olympiad (2012)), and two team bronzes (Bled Olympiad (2002) & 36th Olympiad (2004)). His overall games tally for the Olympiads to date is +34 =36 -8 for 66.7%.
He has also been a solid team man in the World Teams Championships in which he has participated, namely in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2015, winning team gold in the World Chess Team Championship (2011), team bronze in the FIDE World Team Championship (2015) and individual bronze in the World Team Championship (2010) for board three. He played board three for Armenia at the European Team Chess Championship (2007) and the 17th European Team Championship (2009), board four at the European Team Championship (2011) and European Team Championship (2013) and board two at the European Team Championship (2015). The highlights of these European Team events for Sargissian were team silver in 2007 and 2015, individual gold in 2009, individual silver in 2011 and individual bronze in 2015. His results in the 2015 European Team
<Continental Leagues> Sargissian played board 4 for the Spanish CA Linex Magic Mérida team in the European Club Cup (2007), winning team gold. He moved to the MIKA Yerevan team from 2008 until 2011, his best results being team silver in European Club Cup (2009) and individual 4th for top board in European Club Cup (2011). He played board four for the UAE's Al-Ain Chess Club "A" team in the 1st Asian Club Chess Cup in 2008, helping his team to win gold.
<National Leagues> Sargissian played top board for MIKA Yerevan in the Armenian League in 2008 and 2009, helping his team to win gold on both occasions. He first played in the Spanish Team Championship in 2000, (11) but did not play in the league again until 2005. He also commenced in the Bundesliga and the French Top 16 in 2005, playing in both, and in the Spanish League, through to 2006. He then played in the Bundesliga in 2007 and 2009, the Spanish League in 2007, 2008, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015, and in the Belgian Interclubs competition in 2008. He played in the Chinese League in 2011 and in the Serbian League in 2012.
He finished 3rd-10th with an outstanding 9/10 at the massive Aubervilliers Rapidplay open in 2000 that fielded 817 players, half a point behind the co-leaders Krum Georgiev and Andrei Shchekachev. (12)
Rating and ranking history
Sargissian entered the world's top 100 for the first time in October 2003, remaining there until October 2004. He re-entered the top 100 in April 2005 and has remained there to date. His highest rating to date was 2702 in December 2015 when he was rated #43 in the world. His peak ranking to date was world #40 in October 2007 when he was rated 2673.
Sargissian, along with the rest of the victorious Armenian Olympiad team, was awarded the Medal of Movses Khorenatsi by the president of the Armenian Republic for outstanding achievement in the sphere of sport. (13 & 14 ) In late 2009, he, along with the rest of the Armenian team, was awarded the title of Honoured master of sport of the Republic of Armenia (15) and in 2012 he received the award of the Order of Honor of the Republic of Armenia. (16)
Sources and references
Data for this bio that is otherwise unattributed was extracted from the FIDE database. Footnoted data was retrieved from other sources, as presented.
(a) http://www.tatasteelchess.com/news/...; (1) http://www.olimpbase.org/Elo/player...; (2) Wikipedia article: World Youth Chess Championship; (3) http://chessfed.am/en/champions-cat...; (4) http://www.365chess.com/tournaments...; (5) http://www.365chess.com/tournaments...; (6) http://www.mark-weeks.com/chess/zon...; (7) http://www.365chess.com/tournaments... (8) http://www.365chess.com/tournaments...; (9) http://www.olimpbase.org/playersac/... - results in the Team events section are derived from this source unless otherwise footnoted; (10) http://chessfed.am/en/champions-cat...; (11) http://www.365chess.com/tournaments...; (12) http://www.theweekinchess.com/html/...; (13) http://www.armchess.am/news06-6.htm; (14) http://www.president.am/en/medals/18/; (15) http://www.armchess.am/news09-12.htm; (16) http://www.president.am/en/orders/7/
http://www.bidmonfa.com/sargissian_...; Wikipedia article: Gabriel Sargissian