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The Armenian Virtual College in association with the Chess Academy of Armenia hosted the First Pan Armenian Chess Tournament (PACT), held online on June 8-26, 2020. As millions of Armenian students and chess players found themselves in lockdown mode and looking for ways to connect with fellow Armenians with like-minded interests, AVC was in an ideal position to step up and organize the virtual tournament. 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 the AVC interactive chess courses and participated in masterclasses with Armenian chess champions. The three final winners were announced during the online closing ceremony:
• 1st prize - Sargis Sargsyan (16), Vanadzor, Armenia.
• 2nd prize - Kirk Ghazarian (14), Coto de Casa, California, USA.
• 3rd prize - Tigran Arzumanyan (16), Goris, Armenia.
The winners of the semi-final and final tournaments were awarded with certificates and special gift cards from AGBU.
The all-star closing ceremony featured 23 celebrated grandmasters from around the world. The event culminated in a live “blitz” match between European Women Team Champion Elina Danielyan and Russian Women’s Rapid Chess Champion Karina Ambartsumova.
The idea of creating this innovative tournament was not only to discover new talent from across the Armenian world but, more importantly, to create a dynamic online global community of chess-loving students. AVC continues to leverage its virtual platform and experienced community coordinators to offer them skill-building and group-bonding activities.