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Varuzhan Akobian

Varuzhan Akobian
Akobian in 2017
CountryArmenia (until 2002)
United States (since 2002)
Born (1983-11-19) 19 November 1983 (age 40)
Yerevan, Armenian SSR, Soviet Union
TitleGrandmaster (2004)
FIDE rating2564 (July 2024)
Peak rating2673 (June 2017)
Peak rankingNo. 76 (June 2017)

Varuzhan Akobian (Armenian: Վարուժան Հակոբյան, born 19 November 1983 in Yerevan, Soviet Union) is an Armenian-born American chess Grandmaster. Originally from Armenia, he now resides in St. Louis. He played on the bronze-medal-winning U.S. team in the 2006 and 2008 Chess Olympiads.[1]

Chess career

Akobian, an Armenian American, became an International Master at age 16. In 2001, he moved to the United States and one week after his 20th birthday in November 2003, earned the title of Grandmaster.

He won the World Open tournament in Philadelphia on three separate occasions; he shared first place in 2002 and won it outright in 2004 and 2007. In 2006 he tied for first in the San Marino tournament with a performance rating of 2796.[2] In 2007 he tied for 1st–8th with Hikaru Nakamura, Alexander Shabalov, Darmen Sadvakasov, Zviad Izoria, Victor Mikhalevski, Magesh Chandran Panchanathan and Justin Sarkar in the Miami Open[3] and came equal first in the American Continental Championship in Cali, Colombia.[4] This qualified him for the Chess World Cup 2007, where he was eliminated in the first round. He also took part in the Chess World Cup 2009 and was knocked out by Ruslan Ponomariov in the second round.[5]

In 2007, Akobian was featured on MTV's True Life documentary series, in an episode titled "I'm a Genius".[6]

In May 2014, he was the fifth highest-rated player in the US, with a FIDE rating of 2643.[7] In that month, while playing the U.S. Chess Championship at Saint Louis he tied for first with Gata Kamsky and Aleksandr Lenderman, going to a three players playoff to decide who would become champion. In an Armageddon Game he defeated Lenderman and went on to a Rapid Match against Kamsky that ended 1.5 for Kamsky to 0.5 to Akobian, granting Kamsky the title and making Akobian the runner-up in the 2014 U.S. Chess Championship.[8]

Akobian currently serves as assistant coach for the Saint Louis University chess team.[9]


  1. ^ Varuzhan Akobian player profile and games at
  2. ^ THE WEEK IN CHESS 606 19 June 2006
  3. ^ Crowther, Mark (1 October 2007). "TWIC 673: Miami Chess Open". London Chess Center. Retrieved 21 May 2010.
  4. ^ THE WEEK IN CHESS 663 23 July 2007
  5. ^ Crowther, Mark (15 December 2009). "The Week in Chess: FIDE World Cup Mini-Site 2009". Archived from the original on 20 October 2011. Retrieved 16 December 2011.
  6. ^ "True Life" I'm a Genius (2007), IMDb [unreliable source?]
  7. ^ "May 2014: Standard rating". FIDE.
  8. ^ U.S. Chess Championship Official Site
  9. ^ "SLU Chess Team Player Profiles". Saint Louis University. Retrieved 12 January 2022.
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Varuzhan Akobian
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