Akobian began learning chess in Mongolia, where the winters were so harsh that his father forbade him and his sister from going outside. Instead, his father taught Akobian chess. Akobian knew from the beginning that he was different from the other chess players around him, and realized that he would do whatever it took to become a Grandmaster. He did just that, and achieved his GM title when he was twenty years old. After receiving the Samford Chess Fellowship, Akobian won three World Open tournaments, in 2002, 2004, and 2007. He was also the 2003 US Junior Champion. Akobian was then featured on MTV’s “True Life” documentary in the episode “I’m a Genius.” In 2014, Akobian was the runner-up US Champion, having lost to Gata Kamsky in the rapid tiebreak.
Akobian admires and mirrors the style of former World Champion Tigran Petrosian. Akobian is an excellent positional player, who follows in the footsteps of Petrosian with his expertise in the French Defense, one of Petrosian’s most popular openings as Black.