American Chess Academy Hosts 1st Annual Open
By Kostya Kavutskiy and Jerry Yee   
October 5, 2011
Varuzhan Akobian, Armen Ambartsoumian, Melikset Khachiyan
IM Armen Ambartsoumian, founder and Head Coach of the American Chess Academy(ACA) , continued his efforts to promote chess this past weekend in Los Angeles with the 1st Annual Open in Glendale, California. The unrated event was held at the prestigious Armenian Society of Los Angeles and drew a turnout of 58 players that included 3 GM's, 5 IM's and a WGM. The high profile players in this group were GM Varuzhan Akobian, GM Melikset Khachiyan, IM Zhanibek Amanov, IM Andranik Matikozyan, IM Jack Peters, IM Timothy Taylor, IM Anthony Saidy, IM Larry Remlinger, and 2011 U.S. Women's Championship runner up, WGM Tatev Abrahamyan.

IM Ambartsoumian's two year search for a venue that could match the usual comfortable hotel settings seen for typical chess events like this one....ended when the Armenian Society of Los Angeles offered its sponsorship in the middle of this past summer, just a few months after the completion of the building's construction and grand opening. The building's beautiful architecture and plush overall design feels like a cross between an upscale luxurious hotel and a private art gallery.

The event coincided with this past week's local celebration of Armenia's 20th anniversary of their Independence Day by Glendale's Armenian community.


1st-3rd: GM Varuzhan Akobian, WGM Tatev Abrahamyan, NM Garush Manukyan 4-1
1st U2200: Craig Clawitter, 2nd: Jay Stallings, Daniel Mousseri
1st U2000: Daniel Lin, 2nd: Ryan Polsky, Spartak Ohanyan
1stt-2nd U1800: Leo Kamgar, Sherif Toma, 3rd: Jackson Stallings, Annie Wang,
1st U1600: Razmik Hambarttsumyan

It was rumored that the President of Armenia, who is a big fan of chess and also the Chairman of the Armenian Chess Federation, was supposed to make an appearance in support of the event. This was the case, but at the last moment the visit was cancelled due to security reasons. The U.S. Secret Service explained to Armen that they would need to evacuate the building and do a security sweep prior to the president's arrival. Seeing as how this would be impossible during a chess tournament, the appearance was cancelled. Nevertheless, the casual event had plenty of excitement!
Garush Manukyan, Tatev Abrahamyan, Varuzhan Akobian
That the tournament was unrated did not stop the top players from trying their best to prove their skills in rapid chess. GM Akobian started out strong with 3/3 but then got scalped for two draws in the final two rounds by IM Zhanibek Amanov and NM Garush Manukyan, who earlier in the tournament defeated GM Melikset Khachiyan.

WGM Tatev Abrahamyan lost to Akobian in round 2 but then won 3 straight, including a last round upset of IM Andranik Matikozyan.


For more on the ACA, see the official website at