Our Yerevan office informs us that on April 18, 2008 the AZG newspaper published an article about an AGBU sponsored initiative in Armenia:
AGBU SPONSORS INTERMURAL CHESS CHAMPIONSHIP
To promote a love of chess among schoolchildren and identify talented young people – this is the main goal of the Second Republican Intermural Chess Championship. In this mission the Republic of Armenia (RA) Chess Federation is supported by RA Education and Science Ministry and the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU).
During yesterday’s press conference at the Chess Academy, underscoring the important role of chess in the upbringing and mental development of the new generation, acting RA Education and Science Minister Levon Mkrtchian said that programs are being worked out to include chess in the secondary school education program. The schools have accepted the initiative. Instead of the third lesson of physical training the schools will have one lesson of chess training weekly. This issue is still in the phase of development. Levon Mkrtchian expressed gratitude to the Chess Federation and the AGBU for organizing the chess Olympiad and involving the secondary schools of the republic in it.
As Ashot Ghazarian, Director of AGBU Armenian Representation, said the organization has made a donation of $20,000 (USD) in support of the Intermural Chess Championship. As a first phase, 415 schools from all the regions of Armenia have already received 1400 chess boards. 60 winners of the first phase of the tournament will receive chess encyclopedias as gifts. In the third phase all the winners of the regions and all the winners of the final fourth phase will receive computers.
Speaking about the second republican intermural chess tournament, which started in February, Smbat Lputian, Director of the Chess Academy and Vice President of the Chess Federation, said that 18,000 schoolchildren participated in the first two phases of the tournament. According to Lputian the holding of the tournament in the regions has raised great enthusiasm and excitement among the participants. As compared with last year’s tournament, this time it is more organized. In the first three phases the struggle is among individuals. As a result of these three phases teams will be made up which will play against each other in the finale that is scheduled for May 28 in Yerevan. Yerevan will have 3 teams, Gyumri and Vanadzor will have 2 teams each, other regions will have one team each. Each team will include three boys and one girl.
The organizers of the press conference expressed hope that the cooperation will continue for the sake of the future development of chess and will prepare ground for the organization of other events in the future.
It is also worth mentioning that a similar article appeared in the Hayastani Hanrapetutiun newspaper.