YEREVAN—An international conference on “Chess in Schools” is underway in Yerevan taking place from Oct. 16 to 18. The event has brought together 180 representatives from 30 countries.
President of Armenia Serzh Sarkisian, who is also the President of the Armenian Chess Federation, attended the opening day of the conference. Along with the President, Armenia’s Minister of Education and Science Armen Ashotyan, the President of the International Chess Federation (FIDE) Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, and other notable officials attended the conference and spoke at its opening ceremony.
The speakers said the conference provides a wonderful opportunity to exchange experience and noted that it will help boost further development of chess and contribute to its rise in importance in the educational system.
Later, officials and honorary guests attended the unveiling of a statue of Double World Chess Champion Tigran Petrosyan at Yerevan’s Chess House, which bears the chess legend’s name. The statue, created by the renowned sculptor Ara Sargsyan in 1965 on the occasion of Tigran Petrosyan’s chess triumph, has been kept by the sculptor’s relatives in his house-museum for more than half a century. Ara Sargsyan’s family has decided to donate it to the Chess House on the occasion of the 85th birthday of Tigran Petrosyan.
The Armenian President also attended the opening of a newly-created chess school in Yerevan’s Malatia-Sebastia district. Up to 350 5- to 8-year-old children, as well as alumni representing schools in other administrative districts, can study at the school for free.
“Love for chess is in Armenians’ blood,” FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov said while speaking during the opening of the international conference in Yerevan.
“Recently I was in Mexico,” Ilyumzhinov said. “They showed me their national school curricula and said that they were going to follow Armenia’s example and make chess a compulsory subject in schools. The same is true for Paraguay, Mongolia and Thailand. And it was Armenia who initiated this program,” Ilyumzhinov said.
He noted that for most Armenians, chess is life. “Armenia is the only nation that managed to win three Olympiads within just six years. Even big nations were unable to show such a result,” Ilyumzhinov said.