Armenian convicts participating in first online World Chess Championship — Karen Andreasyan watched the match


Four convicts being held at “Armavir” and “Hrazdan” Penitentiary Institutions, including Robert Sargsyan, Narek Hovakimyan, Igit Grigoryan and Armen Goroyan, are representing Armenia at the first on-line World Chess Championship “For convicts”, in which 43 teams from 31 countries are participating.

Minister of Justice Karen Andreasyan, along with founding President of the Chess Academy of Armenia, four-time champion of Armenia, chess Grandmaster Smbat Lputyan and Head of the Penitentiary Service of the Ministry of Justice Sergey Atomyan, took part in the opening ceremony of the Championship, and they talked to convicts before the beginning of the match and wished them good luck in the competition.

During a conversation with journalists, Minister Andreasyan mentioned that this is an extraordinary example when imprisoned people can return to society through chess. “Chess connects everyone in the world, it is a sport, it is an art; chess is also the pride of Armenia, and even though our victory in this Championship is symbolic, it will be very important for our team and for our State,” Karen Andreasyan said and emphasised the need for expansion of the programmes for ensuring employment for persons held at penitentiary institutions.

The Minister attended the event with a tie gifted by the Minister of Justice of Italy and made by Italian convicts. “Italy is doing everything it can so that convicts find their way to their families, to society and to their State, not become isolated or forgotten by the society. Today, we are also trying to achieve that goal through chess, and for this I express gratitude to personally Mr Lputyan and to the Chess Academy of Armenia,” Karen Andreasyan stated.

Founding President of the Academy Smbat Lputyan considered the first on-line World Chess Championship a big event and emphasised that the International Chess Federation (FIDE) is following this series of tournaments very carefully. He also informed that preparatory works were carried out with the convicts for almost six months and, in this context, expressed gratitude to the Ministry of Justice and the Penitentiary Service for the unobstructed and effective cooperation.

Head of the Penitentiary Service Sergey Atomyan wished good luck to the Armenian convicts and addressed words of gratitude to the President of the Chess Academy of Armenia for giving the Armenian convicts the opportunity to take part in such a global event. Sergey Atomyan also attached importance to the ensuring of employment for persons held at penitentiary institutions and mentioned that the purpose is to return convicts to a social environment as soon as possible through jobs, cultural, sport, spiritual and other employment.

Let us inform that the results of the World Chess Championship will be summed up on 14 October.

Let us also remind that during the “Chess for Freedom” international demonstrative tournament held on 11 May 2021, the team of convicts of Armenia won the honourable third place in a competition with the convicts of Russia, the USA and Spain.