Members young and old of Temecula’s Chess Club came together for a special event where Chess Grand Master Varuzhan Akobian held a lecture on his recent Gold Medal in the 2013 World Chess Championship before engaging the members of the club in a simultaneous exhibition from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 7 at Hillcrest Academy in Temecula.
Akobian is well-known for his numerous victories in the world of competitive chess.
In 2011 he won first place at the National Open in Las Vegas and accepted an invitation to coach the U.S. team in the World Chess Championship in China for the first time.
He earned the distinction of first place nationally once again at the National Open in Las Vegas when he tied for it this past year.
The Chess Grand Master is currently ranked fifth overall in the United States as compared to other skilled chess players with an estimated score of 2700, a numerical value used to determine a chess players ranking which was designed by the World Chess Federation.
Akobian’s most recent award, his gold medal, was earned in 2013’s World Chess Team Championship in Antalya, Turkey.
The chess player said he was among a team of three other individuals who competed in this championship that only allows the 10 best world teams to compete. Those teams for 2013 were Russia, Ukraine, Armenia, Azerbaijan, China, The United States, Turkey, Germany and The Netherlands.
Akobian said that while his team didn’t do as well as he would have liked, he was happy with their performance for the most part.
“We did pretty well,” he said. “We were fourth overall; we lost a couple of matches we should not have lost that cost us the overall medal, but the very positive thing that happened is we defeated Russia again. We defeated them in Istanbul in 2012 and we defeated them at the World Team Championship with a 3 to 1 score.”
Ultimately, Russia won the competition because they beat everyone else after losing to the U.S. Team, but Akobian said he found satisfaction in just beating the team believed to be the best in the world by many individuals.
Before giving this speech, the notably accomplished Grand Master began the evening at 5 p.m. with a show of support for enthusiastic young chess players from Hillcrest Academy when he played against them all in a simultaneous exhibition.
Simultaneous exhibitions occur when one chess player – the exhibitor – challenges an entire group of individuals, playing each of them in rotation until such time as everyone has been beaten or someone has beaten the exhibitor.
The students Akobian played were a group of K-12 students led by Guy Reams, a computer instructor at Mt. San Jacinto College and an amateur chess player.
Reams has been practicing with students both at Hillcrest Academy and Van Avery Prep and is hoping to take the students to a K-12 National Championship in San Diego in several months and the National Open in Las Vegas in June.
However, the K-12 chess instruction sessions are only one part of the project that Reams has created, which is the Temecula Chess Club itself.
Reams devised the club, a recognized affiliate of the United States Chess Federation, with fellow enthusiast Shawn O’Connor because he said it was an easy way of going out and doing what he loved.
“My goal is to bring chess locally to Temecula so I can play it more,” Reams said. “That’s really the only reason that we started it, is so I can play more.”
“And Shawn and me have the same problem, we’re like ‘our wives won’t let us go out to play,’ so we started a chess club,” he said.
The chess club has a number of different tournaments for people of all skill levels and ages planned. Those familiar with the game of chess to those who are only beginners can find a tournament that corresponds with their particular skill level, according to the club founder.
After concluding his simultaneous exhibition with the K12 students who arrived, Akobian then lectured a group of older and more experienced chess players on strategy by using the example of a game he won in less than 28 moves before engaging them in a simultaneous exhibition until the end of the evening.
For more information on the Temecula Chess Club and its planned events, visit www.temecula