20 March 2016

Armenian Candidates

For this next post in the 'Chess in School' (CIS) series, I should return to the subject of chess software for children, introduced in Connecting Children with Chess (February 2016). Instead I'll digress once more, this time because of the ongoing 2016 Candidates Tournament in Moscow.

What's the connection between CIS and the Moscow Candidates? It's a country: Armenia. A few years ago I featured a video about Chess as a Compulsory Subject (March 2012), which explained, 'Armenian schools are introducing chess as a compulsory subject'. Wikipedia's Chess in Armenia informs,

Teaching of chess in schools • In 2011, the Ministry of Education of Armenia made chess part of the primary school curriculum along with such standards as math and history for children over the age of 6. Chess is compulsory for second, third and fourth graders. Over $1.5 million was spent on the program. The inclusion of chess in schools was generally received positively by the public, but some parents claimed that their children's school program was already complicated and overloaded. Grandmaster Smbat Lputian argues that "bringing chess into schools is the best way to build the future."

See also Armenia makes chess compulsory in schools (theguardian.com; November 2011). Fast forward to March 2016. The Chess Federation of Armenia tells us, The President of Armenia, president of the Armenian Chess Federation Serzh Sargsyan attended the official ceremony of opening of the FIDE Candidates Tournament (chessfed.am):-

The opening speeches were delivered by the Russian Deputy Prime-Minister Arkady Dvorkovich, FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, President of the Russian Chess Federation Andrey Filatov, and Dmitry Peskov, Chairman of the RCF Board of Trustees and press spokesman for the President of Russia. In his speech FIDE president thanked President Sargsyan for his great efforts in organizing the event. President of the RCF Andrey Filatov also thanked President Sargsyan and Armenian Chess Federation for such a wonderful present to all chess fans round the world.

The opening ceremony was dedicated to the 25th anniversary of Armenia’s independence. Along with other eight acclaimed contenders, the leader of the Armenian chess game Levon Aronian will also participate at the tournament, which will take place in the capital of the Russian Federation on March 10-29.

I'll extract a few talking points from that:-

  • 'The President of Armenia, [also] president of the Armenian Chess Federation, Serzh Sargsyan'
  • 'thanked President Sargsyan for his great efforts in organizing the event'
  • 'leader of the Armenian chess game Levon Aronian'

The following photo is from the same announcement.

President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan with GM Levon Aronian

Now you know why GM Aronian was nominated by the organizers to play in the event. After the eighth round (with six still to be played) Aronian is tied for the lead with GM Karjakin.

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