WASHINGTON – The existential war against Artsakh is galvanizing Armenians of all ages to come together and provide help in all kinds of ways. High school junior Arshak Avetisyan has come up with a unique approach. He has put together a series of four online fundraiser chess tournaments under the auspices of St. Mary Armenian Apostolic Church of Washington D. C. The first took place on October 31, and the remainder are planned for November 14, November 28 and December 14. The proceeds are going to be sent to Armenia Fund to provide humanitarian assistance to the victims of aggression.
Arshak turned to chess as his tool to help, he said, because “chess has always been a big part of my life. I know that chess is a universal language. It unifies people. And this is a time when everybody should unify and contribute to help Artsakh.”
Arshak was born in the United States, but both his parents were born in Yerevan and came to America in the early 2000s. All his relatives still live in Armenia, including his grandfather. Arshak said that though his parents are not chess players, his grandfather is a very good one.
On one of the family visits to Armenian, Arshak said, “One summer my grandfather brought the chess board and said let’s play a game. We started from there. That whole summer we did that together. Afterwards, when I went to America, we would Skype and play. Playing chess over Skype were some of the favorite moments of my childhood.”
Arshak started when he was only five-years old, and then, he said, “I just started to find the beauty in it. At around 9 or 10 years old, I started asking for more chess lessons. My grandfather played a huge role in my playing chess.”
The first tournament, which took place on October 31, raised over $3,000 through its entry fees. The majority of the 46 participants were from various parts of the United States, including Texas, Florida, New York and the Washington region, but there were also people from Germany, Catalonia, Spain, Russia and Armenia. Language was no barrier, for as Arshak said, “Even if you and I don’t speak the same language, we can communicate well about chess.”