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The lion and the tiger

Armenia excels at chess. Its top player now has a shot at becoming world champion. How did this tiny country become a giant at the game?

By David Edmonds   December 2009

Grandmaster Levon Aronian: the popularity of the game in Armenia has made him into the country’s David Beckham

View more images from the Armenia chess championships taken by Magnum photographer, Stuart Franklin, who took the iconic images of tanks rolling into Tiananmen Square

Levon Aronian likes to sleep late. But at 11am on a weekday in August this year, his dreams were disturbed by what sounded like people chanting his name. In a semi-conscious state he got up, looked out of the window and saw a large group of people outside where he was staying. “You must win…

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