Aronian at Summer Chess Camp in LA

by ChessBase
6/13/2014 – For some years now the Metropolitan Chess Club has run yearly summer camps in Los Angeles, featuring some very, very strong instructors (like Michael Adams and Viswanathan Anand). This year the world's number two Levon Aronian will be the lead instructor, and the camp will be staged in Glendale, home to one of the richest Armenian communities in the world. Pictorial report.

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Aronian at the 2014 Metropolitan and ACA Summer Chess Camp

While looking to increase interest and develop young talent in the United States, Ankit Gupta, the President of Metropolitan Chess, had decided to run yearly summer camps in Los Angeles, featuring some very, very strong instructors. The first camp was held in August 2011, with GM Michael Adams at the helm. In 2012 and 2013 an even bigger name was convinced to come to Los Angeles: Viswanathan Anand!

For 2014, another top star has been confirmed: Levon Aronian! This summer, Metropolitan Chess will be partnering with American Chess Academy to run the 4th edition of the camp. The camp will take place July 9th-13th at the Glendale Hilton Hotel, in Glendale, CA. Aronian will be joined by several prominent instructors, including GM Melikset Khachiyan, GM Dejan Bojkov, IM Andranik Matikozyan, IM Armen Ambartsoumian (President of American Chess Academy), WGM Tatev Abrahamyan, FM Aviv Friedman, and Jay Stallings (founder and director of the California Youth Chess League).

The idea to invite Aronian developed organically, as Khachiyan (Aronian’s childhood coach), Ambartsoumian, and Matikozyan were very familiar with the Armenian superstar, having known him for many years.

Panorama view of Glendale (scroll to right to view in full)


Selecting Glendale as a location was also very natural, since the city contains one of the richest Armenian communities in the world! Indeed, with a population of about 200,000, it is estimated that 33% of Glendale’s population is Armenian. This makes Glendale the largest Armenian diaspora outside of Moscow, and is home to many Armenian businesses, schools, churches, and organizations. Several Armenians have also sat on Glendale’s city council, and have even served as mayors.


The venue this year will be the lovely Glendale Hilton, a four-star hotel with several meeting/conference
rooms that will be turned into chess classrooms! The location will also be suitable for parents,
as within walking distance are a variety of shops, restaurants, and theaters.

Worth noting is the Americana at Brand, an outdoor shopping center that is considered
one of the finest malls in Los Angeles, located just minutes from the Glendale Hilton

Ardashes Kassakhian, Glendale’s City Clerk, was very enthusiastic about Aronian’s upcoming visit: ”Levon Aronian has become an icon for chess enthusiasts worldwide. But being from Armenia, representing the Armenian national team, and elevating the game to new heights has secured him a particular place in the pantheon of Armenian chess greats alongside such legends as Tigran Petrosian and Garry Kasparov. Glendale has one of the largest populations of Armenians in the United States and Aronian’s visit will truly be a special occasion unlike any other. It is a great honor and we are very excited to welcome our champion to our city!”

Ardashes Kassakhian in a previous Camp with Viswanathan Anand and Ankit Gupta

An important organization located in Glendale is the American Chess Academy, founded by IM Armen Ambartsoumian in 2008. Armen is a FIDE Senior Trainer and has had a long and successful career coaching, dating back to 1991 when he was named First Head Coach of the Armenian National Team. He immigrated to Glendale in 1998 and continued to work as a chess trainer. About a decade later he founded the ACA, which now runs weekly classes in Glendale, as well as afterschool chess programs.

When asked for his thoughts, Aronian had this to say: “Very excited to be going to Glendale, CA in July! Despite being a major Armenian hub, I've never actually been there. Lots of people to meet up with, but I might need to brush up on my 'Armglish'!”. Aronian also mentioned that he was excited to take part in the chess camp and teach alongside his former trainer Khachiyan.

The Griffith Observatory on Mount Hollywood commands a view of the Los Angeles Basin,
including Downtown Los Angeles, Hollywood and the Pacific Ocean

Glendale is just north of downtown Los Angeles

Santa Monica Beach is just a stone's throw (well, 24 miles) from Glendale

Chess players at Santa Monica Beach

The Getty Villa in the Pacific Palisades is an educational center and museum dedicated
to the study of the arts and cultures of ancient Greece, Rome, and Etruria

Huntington Beach, nicknamed "Surf City, USA", is 9.5 miles of perfect sandy beach

The previous camps with Anand each attracted many players, ranging from beginner to FIDE Master, all of whom were eager to learn from the then World Champion. The students were divided up into groups by rating, and a rotating schedule over the course of five days allowed each group to spend time with each instructor. A similar schedule will be in use for this year:

9:30 AM – 12:00 PM Instruction
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM Lunch (provided)
1:00 PM – 3:00 PM Training games and review
3:00 PM – 5:30 PM Instruction
After 6:00 PM Evening Activities

The evening activities include casual blitz and bughouse tournaments, as well as simultaneous exhibtions performed by the instructors – last year Khachiyan decided to try his luck in a 40-board clock (!) simul.

For full details/registration, please visit Metropolitan Chess. For any questions, comments, or concerns, please contact

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