The 2nd Pan-Armenian Chess Camp and Tournament (PACT -2) was successfully held online from July 26 to August 12, 2021. This highly anticipated tournament ended with a remarkable online closing ceremony, where the winners of the regional semifinals and the finalists were announced.
The closing event was attended by honorable guests from the International Chess Federation (FIDE), the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU)/Armenian Virtual College (AVC), the Armenian Chess Academy, and by several prominent Armenian chess grandmasters. FIDE was represented by Dana Reizniece-Ozola, Managing Director of FIDE and Smbat Lputyan, Chairman of the FIDE Committee of “Chess in Educational System” and founder of the Armenian Chess Academy. AGBU was represented by Dr. Yervant Zorian, AGBU Central Board Member and Founding President of AVC and Salpi Der Ghazarian, the Executive Director of AGBU Toronto. Among the honorable guests were the head coach of the Armenian national chess team, International Grandmaster Arshak Petrosian, two times Olympic champion Artashes Minasyan and European women's chess champion Lilit Mkrtchyan.
The ceremony culminated in the announcement of the winners.
Ten-year-old Arsen Kenian from Syria received a Special Award for Active Participation. Arsen is the champion of Syria under 10 and an active member of the AVC Pan-Armenian Chess Community. All the winners received valuable gifts from AVC.
The PACT tournament was initiated by the AGBU Armenian Virtual College in collaboration with the Chess Academy of Armenia in summer 2020 when the entire world was in lockdown mode. It attracted more than 500 participants from 36 countries and became a great way to connect hundreds of young Armenians with like-minded interests. This year for PACT-2, many previous participants returned back in addition to hundreds of new participants from 18 countries.
Dana Reizniece-Ozola extended her congratulations to the participants and organizers of the tournament. “This is an amazing event that you’ve organized for the second year, gathering so many countries and the representatives of your nation from all over the world. This is a great initiative that I believe is worth to be copied and replicated,” she said.
In their congratulatory remarks, Dr. Yervant Zorian and Smbat Lputyan expressed their satisfaction with the lasting collaboration between AVC, AGBU, and the Chess Academy of Armenia that resulted in several successful programs to the benefit of chess in Armenia and abroad.
“We have created a large online community that already has 810 participants from all around the world. This Pan-Armenian Chess Community will stay open, with various activities, more games, master classes, and more tournaments to come,” said Dr. Zorian.
“I hope that this tournament will become bigger and even more popular and will turn into a real chess festival,” said Smbat Lputyan.
Many participants spoke about the importance of the tournament as an opportunity to meet and connect with Armenian chess players worldwide. “I am very happy to be able to play with Armenian chess players in different countries around the world,” said the winner of the Europe semifinal Dimitrios Levon Zakarian, 13, from the UK.
Following the success of the last year, the organizers of PACT-2 enriched and expanded the program of the event. This year’s tournament was preceded by a week-long chess camp featuring a series of online masterclasses and simultaneous online games.
The young players had a rare opportunity to learn the secrets of chess from four-time Armenian women Champion Maria Gevorgyan and 2020 Armenian Champion Samvel Ter-Sahakyan and demonstrate their skills in a game against grandmasters Anna Sargsyan, Samvel Ter-Sahakyan, and Tigran Harutyunyan.
The tournament was structured in two stages, with four regional semifinals followed by eleven rounds of final games. It was a tough competition for players, with the majority of them being under 20 years old.
The closing ceremony ended with a trivia game, where the participants had a chance to demonstrate their knowledge of chess, history of FIDE and AGBU, and Armenian subjects and win valuable prizes.
Follow this link, to watch the Online Closing Ceremony of the 2nd Pan-Armenian Chess Camp and Tournament: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRyT9lZyKzE