HomeCommunity NewsChess as Community-Building Gambit? ... Check!

Chess as Community-Building Gambit? … Check!

While public safety officials from GPD and GFD did their best, students from the American Chess Academy ultimately reigned victorious in the Battle of the Badges.

Glendale’s police, firefighters and municipal officials display the skills to keep the city humming every day, but in one hallowed game of strategy they recently were defeated across the board — the chessboard.
Dot818, a Glendale-based technology-building and AI company, recently hosted its inaugural Battle of the Badges chess competition, at which city staff and public safety officials matched up against local students from the American Chess Academy.
While the municipal workers put their best pieces forward, they were ultimately no match for the Glendale academy students who came out as the victors of the competition.
Mayor Elen Asatryan, who was in attendance, poked fun at the performances of city staff in the April 27 games.
“I think a lot of egos are bruised today from the police department to firefighters to our city manager,” said Asatryan jokingly.
All kidding aside, however, Asatryan highlighted her appreciation for the event for fostering a community-building opportunity, “especially bringing young people together with professionals and creating that atmosphere of not just competition, but interaction,” she said at the event.
The president of dot818, David Tonoyan, decided to offer this competition to create connectivity between residents and public safety officials and bolster a sense of community. Because Glendale has a sizable a Armenian population and chess is a big part of of Armenian culture, Tonoyan thought an event centered on chess would be the perfect way to accomplish this.
“Glendale truly is a Jewel City, and I don’t see a future version of a prosperous Glendale that doesn’t have the Glendale Police Department and the Glendale Fire Department as its main pillars, holding the weight of the city,” Tonoyan said during the event.
Hoping to make this event an annual tradition, Tonoyan joked that the officers and firefighters can come back for revenge next year, as the organization plans to expand participation to even more city departments, organizations and businesses.
Pareli Allahverdi, events manager at dot818, estimated that around 150 community members came in and out of the event last Saturday, saying she was pleased with the enthusiastic crowd.
“This was such a successful event. I had such good feedback,” said Allahverdi, adding that firefighters who did not participate this year told her the event “was so good and so fun that they want to actually learn how to play chess and so they can participate next year.”
During the event, Asatryan also presented Armen Ambartsoumian, president and founder of the American Chess Academy, a mayor’s commendation for outstanding dedication to community service and for his initiative in helping to organize the event. Tonoyan too received a mayor’s commendation.
“If it wasn’t for you, the kids would not be here and the concept would not be here,” Asatryan said of Ambartsoumian.

First published in the May 4 print issue of the Glendale News-Press.

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