LOS ANGELES—Glendale City Clerk Ardashes Kassakhian welcomed World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand during his recent visit to Southern California. Anand was in Los Angeles by invitation from the Metropolitan Chess Club Camp organized by founder Ankit Gupta. The camp is held in Los Angeles and brings over 100 youth from all over the state and country for a five day chess training camp coached by internationally known coaches and professionals. This was Anand’s second time attending the camp and players had the opportunity to interact with and receive instruction from the World Champion himself.
Kassakhian presented Anand with a souvenir key to the city of Glendale and a special resolution by the Los Angeles City Council introduced by LA City Councilmember Paul Krekorian. Kassakhian congratulated Anand on his numerous successes in the game of chess and his success as the undisputed chess champion of the world since 2007. Kassakhian was accompanied by former Armenian national chess coach and Glendale resident, Armen Ambartsoumian, who is one of the club’s contributing coaches and instructors.
During their meeting Kassakhian thanked Anand for his contributions to the game of chess and wished the champion good luck on his upcoming title defense against Norwegian grandmaster Magnus Carlsen. The championship game will be played in Anand’s hometown of Chennai, India in November. Kassakhian and the World Champion spoke about the strong affinity Armenians have for the game of chess as well as the strong historic ties of Armenians to his hometown of Chennai (formerly Madras), home to one of the oldest Armenian churches in the Asian subcontinent and where the first ever Armenian periodical “Azdarar” was published in 1794.
“It was a true honor and pleasure to meet with Mr. Anand and wish him luck on his upcoming title defense,” expressed Kassakhian. “He is an engaging and caring individual and it was wonderful to see him take time out to work with children who aspire to play at his level one day.”
“Chess can be such an important developmental tool for young minds and we need to encourage and support chess programs in our schools and in local clubs,” Kassakhian added.
Kassakhian expressed to the club organizers of his interest to have similar club events hosted in Glendale where there is an active chess community thanks to the city’s over 70,000 Armenian residents. Numerous chess standouts live and play in Glendale, including U.S. National Team members Varuzhan Akobian and Tatev Abrahamyan.