AGBU Unites Diaspora and Homeland with First Pan-Armenian Chess Tournament and All-Star Closing Ceremonies

AGBU Press Office
55 East 59th Street
New York, NY 10022-1112
Website: 

 
  
PRESS RELEASE
  
Tuesday, 

AGBU Unites Diaspora and Homeland with First Pan-Armenian Chess Tournament and 
All-Star Closing Ceremonies

The Republic of Armenia has long been distinguished as a nexus for chess 
supremacy, with its national preoccupation with the game, large share of world 
champions, including Olympic winners and over 70 grandmasters (GMs), and, 
recently, the integration of Chess into its core public school curriculum. This 
June, it took that passion a step further with the launch of the first Pan 
Armenian Chess Tournament (PACT), hosted by the AGBU-sponsored Armenian Virtual 
College (AVC) in association with the Chess Academy of Armenia. 

The virtual journey took place between June 8 and 26, 2020, despite, and, to a 
large extent, on account of the global pandemic. As millions of Armenian 
students and chess players found themselves in lockdown mode and looking for 
ways to connect with fellow Armenians with likeminded interests, AVC was in an 
ideal position to step up and organize both the tournament and the all-star 
virtual closing ceremonies featuring 23 celebrated grandmasters from around the 
world. 

During the ceremonies, GM Tigran L. Petrosian, a two-time Chess Olympic champion 
made inspirational congratulatory remarks, saying: "It was a brilliant idea to 
unite all Armenian chess enthusiasts from around the globe. I think the 
organizers have performed an important service with this virtual tournament. It 
gave me the opportunity to meet my colleagues and friends, whom I have been 
missing so much. I wish these young players all the best and hope that they will 
achieve new goals, titles, and we will have new winners." GM Lilit Mkrtchian, 
European Women's Team Champion extended her congratulations from Germany, 
remarking that she hoped that even when the pandemic was over there will be 
another online tournament organized. 

GM Smbat Lputian, Founder and President of the Chess Academy of Armenia, also 
expressed his great satisfaction to all the stakeholders involved. "We were 
happy to create such a warm and collegial environment, which united Armenians 
from communities geographically distant from each other. I am thankful to all 
those who contributed into its realization. Honestly, I am so glad to be with 
all of you here, I am pleased that we are one family and that we hearten each 
other today."

Soon after the announcement of PACT, 520 interested players signed up, 
representing 36 countries and five regions-from the Americas, Armenia and 
Artsakh to Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Asia and Oceania. The tournament 
was structured in two stages: five regional semi-finals; and three rounds of 
final games leading to the PACT champion titles. Between games, players were 
given access to renowned Armenian chess champions via the AVC multi-media 
interactive chess courses.

Dr. Yervant Zorian, the founding president of AVC, a member of the AGBU Central 
Board, and mastermind behind this multi-regional virtual undertaking, explained 
the vision: "The idea of creating this innovative tournament was not only to 
discover new talent from across the Armenian world, but, more important, to 
create a dynamic online global community of chess loving students. AVC will 
continue to leverage its virtual platform and experienced community coordinators 
to offer them skill-building and interpersonal bonding activities. 

Among the diverse competitors, Armenia's players met their match among 
formidable peers ranging in all ages, with 428 players under the age of 20. 
Notably, winners were no older than 16. The youngest, a semi-finalist, was age 
nine. 

Among the finalists, Third Prize was taken by 16-year old Tigran Arzumanyan of 
Goris in Armenia's Syunik province, Second Prize went to 14-year old Kirk 
Ghazarian of Coto de Caza, California, USA, and First Prize was awarded to 
Sargis Sargsyan of Vanadzor in Armenia's Lori province. An official certificate 
was conferred upon each winner, signed by GM Smbat Lputian, the president of the 
Chess Academy of Armenia and Dr. Zorian, as president and founder of AVC. In 
addition, winners received valuable monetary rewards in the form of virtual gift 
cards. 

The semi-finalists from the Americas included (1st) Kirk Ghazarian, age 14 
(USA); (2nd) Suren Ghazaryan, age 15 (Canada); (3rd) Ethan Boldi, age 13 (USA). 
From Europe: (1st) Daniel Karapetyan-Hakopyan, age 13 (Spain); (2nd) Dimitrios 
Levon Zakarian, age 12 (UK); and Henrik Serobyan. Middle East and Africa: (1st) 
Kevork Yeghian, age 16 (Syria), (2nd) Edward Iskanderian, age 14 (Lebanon); 
(3rd) Arsen Kenyan, age 9 (Syria). Armenia: (1st) Sargis Sargsyan, age 16; (2nd) 
Tigran Arzumanyan, age 16); (3rd) Menua Hakobyan, age 12. Asia and Oceania: 
Shahan Abu Sayeed, age 9 (India). 

A semi-finalist from Aleppo Kevork Yeghian, an AGBU-AYA scout representing the 
Middle East/Africa region, echoed the sentiments of many of the young 
participants, saying, "I am really happy for the chance to participate in the 
competition and get acquainted with other chess lovers from different places."

The closing ceremonies were capped with a surprise live "blitz" match between 
European Women Team Champion Elina Danielyan versus Russian Women's Rapid 
Champion Karina Ambartsumova. Other commentators included U.S. Women's 
Vice-Champion Tatev Abrahamyan and U.S. Vice-Champion Varuzhan Akobian. 

In his congratulatory remarks, AGBU Armenia President Vasken Yacoubian summed up 
the broader implications of the successful tournament. "Chess helps develop the 
individual on many dimensions, but it has also become sort of our national 
trademark. Every nation has its features and virtues, and over the decades, 
chess has become the trademark of both the Armenian Nation and Armenia. And this 
has a big meaning. It's clear that we, as Armenians, have the great possibility 
of producing champions, who become our national heroes and bring pride to the 
people. This pride helps unite people, and in unity is strength-which is the 
AGBU motto. That is why AGBU is so keen on supporting the game in all its forms. 
Since 2007, we have been involved in the Chess Olympiad in Armenia's schools, 
and we will continue to do so along with new initiatives such as the 
Pan-Armenian Chess Tournament."

For more information and to view the closing ceremonies, go to 
https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://youtu.be/D6lSINT-6Rs__;!!LIr3w8kk_Xxm!_zZnse5p8HIBoEP8Gp0WUdtS89263M3VQBoYWv8dkMfDHbL3Rg_h_yfuVrHx3A$
 . To explore AVC online chess courses, visit 
https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_j3TbN0Ipu0__;!!LIr3w8kk_Xxm!_zZnse5p8HIBoEP8Gp0WUdtS89263M3VQBoYWv8dkMfDHbL3Rg_h_yergwcvJg$
 

The Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) is the world's largest non-profit 
organization devoted to upholding the Armenian heritage through educational, 
cultural and humanitarian programs. Each year, AGBU is committed to making a 
difference in the lives of 500,000 people across Armenia, Artsakh and the 
Armenian diaspora.  Since 1906, AGBU has remained true to one overarching goal: 
to create a foundation for the prosperity of all Armenians. To learn more visit 

 .

You may also like

AGBU Unites Diaspora and Homeland with First Pan-Armenian Chess Tournament and All-Star Closing Ceremonies

AGBU Press Office
55 East 59th Street
New York, NY 10022-1112
Website: 

 
  
PRESS RELEASE
  
Tuesday, 

AGBU Unites Diaspora and Homeland with First Pan-Armenian Chess Tournament and 
All-Star Closing Ceremonies

The Republic of Armenia has long been distinguished as a nexus for chess 
supremacy, with its national preoccupation with the game, large share of world 
champions, including Olympic winners and over 70 grandmasters (GMs), and, 
recently, the integration of Chess into its core public school curriculum. This 
June, it took that passion a step further with the launch of the first Pan 
Armenian Chess Tournament (PACT), hosted by the AGBU-sponsored Armenian Virtual 
College (AVC) in association with the Chess Academy of Armenia. 

The virtual journey took place between June 8 and 26, 2020, despite, and, to a 
large extent, on account of the global pandemic. As millions of Armenian 
students and chess players found themselves in lockdown mode and looking for 
ways to connect with fellow Armenians with likeminded interests, AVC was in an 
ideal position to step up and organize both the tournament and the all-star 
virtual closing ceremonies featuring 23 celebrated grandmasters from around the 
world. 

During the ceremonies, GM Tigran L. Petrosian, a two-time Chess Olympic champion 
made inspirational congratulatory remarks, saying: "It was a brilliant idea to 
unite all Armenian chess enthusiasts from around the globe. I think the 
organizers have performed an important service with this virtual tournament. It 
gave me the opportunity to meet my colleagues and friends, whom I have been 
missing so much. I wish these young players all the best and hope that they will 
achieve new goals, titles, and we will have new winners." GM Lilit Mkrtchian, 
European Women's Team Champion extended her congratulations from Germany, 
remarking that she hoped that even when the pandemic was over there will be 
another online tournament organized. 

GM Smbat Lputian, Founder and President of the Chess Academy of Armenia, also 
expressed his great satisfaction to all the stakeholders involved. "We were 
happy to create such a warm and collegial environment, which united Armenians 
from communities geographically distant from each other. I am thankful to all 
those who contributed into its realization. Honestly, I am so glad to be with 
all of you here, I am pleased that we are one family and that we hearten each 
other today."

Soon after the announcement of PACT, 520 interested players signed up, 
representing 36 countries and five regions-from the Americas, Armenia and 
Artsakh to Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Asia and Oceania. The tournament 
was structured in two stages: five regional semi-finals; and three rounds of 
final games leading to the PACT champion titles. Between games, players were 
given access to renowned Armenian chess champions via the AVC multi-media 
interactive chess courses.

Dr. Yervant Zorian, the founding president of AVC, a member of the AGBU Central 
Board, and mastermind behind this multi-regional virtual undertaking, explained 
the vision: "The idea of creating this innovative tournament was not only to 
discover new talent from across the Armenian world, but, more important, to 
create a dynamic online global community of chess loving students. AVC will 
continue to leverage its virtual platform and experienced community coordinators 
to offer them skill-building and interpersonal bonding activities. 

Among the diverse competitors, Armenia's players met their match among 
formidable peers ranging in all ages, with 428 players under the age of 20. 
Notably, winners were no older than 16. The youngest, a semi-finalist, was age 
nine. 

Among the finalists, Third Prize was taken by 16-year old Tigran Arzumanyan of 
Goris in Armenia's Syunik province, Second Prize went to 14-year old Kirk 
Ghazarian of Coto de Caza, California, USA, and First Prize was awarded to 
Sargis Sargsyan of Vanadzor in Armenia's Lori province. An official certificate 
was conferred upon each winner, signed by GM Smbat Lputian, the president of the 
Chess Academy of Armenia and Dr. Zorian, as president and founder of AVC. In 
addition, winners received valuable monetary rewards in the form of virtual gift 
cards. 

The semi-finalists from the Americas included (1st) Kirk Ghazarian, age 14 
(USA); (2nd) Suren Ghazaryan, age 15 (Canada); (3rd) Ethan Boldi, age 13 (USA). 
From Europe: (1st) Daniel Karapetyan-Hakopyan, age 13 (Spain); (2nd) Dimitrios 
Levon Zakarian, age 12 (UK); and Henrik Serobyan. Middle East and Africa: (1st) 
Kevork Yeghian, age 16 (Syria), (2nd) Edward Iskanderian, age 14 (Lebanon); 
(3rd) Arsen Kenyan, age 9 (Syria). Armenia: (1st) Sargis Sargsyan, age 16; (2nd) 
Tigran Arzumanyan, age 16); (3rd) Menua Hakobyan, age 12. Asia and Oceania: 
Shahan Abu Sayeed, age 9 (India). 

A semi-finalist from Aleppo Kevork Yeghian, an AGBU-AYA scout representing the 
Middle East/Africa region, echoed the sentiments of many of the young 
participants, saying, "I am really happy for the chance to participate in the 
competition and get acquainted with other chess lovers from different places."

The closing ceremonies were capped with a surprise live "blitz" match between 
European Women Team Champion Elina Danielyan versus Russian Women's Rapid 
Champion Karina Ambartsumova. Other commentators included U.S. Women's 
Vice-Champion Tatev Abrahamyan and U.S. Vice-Champion Varuzhan Akobian. 

In his congratulatory remarks, AGBU Armenia President Vasken Yacoubian summed up 
the broader implications of the successful tournament. "Chess helps develop the 
individual on many dimensions, but it has also become sort of our national 
trademark. Every nation has its features and virtues, and over the decades, 
chess has become the trademark of both the Armenian Nation and Armenia. And this 
has a big meaning. It's clear that we, as Armenians, have the great possibility 
of producing champions, who become our national heroes and bring pride to the 
people. This pride helps unite people, and in unity is strength-which is the 
AGBU motto. That is why AGBU is so keen on supporting the game in all its forms. 
Since 2007, we have been involved in the Chess Olympiad in Armenia's schools, 
and we will continue to do so along with new initiatives such as the 
Pan-Armenian Chess Tournament."

For more information and to view the closing ceremonies, go to 
https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://youtu.be/D6lSINT-6Rs__;!!LIr3w8kk_Xxm!_zZnse5p8HIBoEP8Gp0WUdtS89263M3VQBoYWv8dkMfDHbL3Rg_h_yfuVrHx3A$
 . To explore AVC online chess courses, visit 
https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_j3TbN0Ipu0__;!!LIr3w8kk_Xxm!_zZnse5p8HIBoEP8Gp0WUdtS89263M3VQBoYWv8dkMfDHbL3Rg_h_yergwcvJg$
 

The Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) is the world's largest non-profit 
organization devoted to upholding the Armenian heritage through educational, 
cultural and humanitarian programs. Each year, AGBU is committed to making a 
difference in the lives of 500,000 people across Armenia, Artsakh and the 
Armenian diaspora.  Since 1906, AGBU has remained true to one overarching goal: 
to create a foundation for the prosperity of all Armenians. To learn more visit 

 .

You may also like