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#41 Yervant1

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 01:40 PM

Why Armenia Is More Likely to Engineer Super-Children Than China





By Brian Merchant
Posted Image
Image: Aarondn93 via Flickr

Seems like everybody's talking Chinese genomics and the art of engineering genius babies these days. But the nation that's more likely to breed a generation of super-smart, problem-solving kids isn't the global economic giant currently engaging in a complex, sinister-sounding genetics program—it's Armenia, a tiny landlocked nation, pop. 3,000,000, that's still mired in the shadow of a devastating genocide. And it's going to do it with chess.
First, let's look at China's alleged plan. Vice recently ran an uber-popular interview with evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey Miller, who believes that the Beijing Genomics Institute is essentially looking for a way for China to breed more intelligent children. Super babies, if you will. And it's the largest such effort in the world. More specifically, BGI Shenzen has "collected DNA samples from 2,000 of the world’s smartest people and are sequencing their entire genomes in an attempt to identify the alleles which determine human intelligence."
If they're successful in finding them, Miller believes it could pave the way for embryo screenings that would eventually help boost the IQ of children by 5-15 points per generation, in aggregate. But after the article went viral, there was some significant pushback from the scientific community. Many scientists say IQ is too complex, too reliant on the interplay of genes and environmental factors, to "engineer" for, given our current capabilities. Slate's Will Oremus collected quotes from a number of skeptics who shared this view, including Hank Greely, director of Stanford’s Center for Law and the Biosciences.
“I think it’s pretty clear that intelligence—if it even exists as an entity, which remains controversial among psychologists—involves a boatload of genes and genetic combinations, all of them substantially mediated through the environment," Greely told Slate. "The chances that genetic selection is going to lead to really substantial increases in human intelligence in your lifetime are low.”

Santiago Munné, who runs Reprogenetics, a private lab that does preimplantation genetic diagnosis—a process where an embryo is screened for disease-causing mutations, and sometimes, for physical characteristics like sex and hair color—doesn't think China can pull it off, either.
“IQ is controlled by probably more than 1,000 genes, so there is no point even trying to control for that,” he told Oremus. Miller nonetheless feels that if you do enough screenings and weed out enough genes related to intelligence, you'll increase the net intelligence slowly but surely.


“ "The chances that genetic selection is going to lead to really substantial increases in human intelligence in your lifetime are low.”

But there's probably a better, less terrifying and Gattaca-reminiscent way to make an entire generation of kids smarter with already extant technology and no hint of scary eugenics: Make playing chess mandatory in school.
Armenia is the only nation in the world where chess is a compulsory part of school curriculum, thanks to a $3 million initiative passed in 2011. Beginning two years ago, chess has been a mandatory in the third and fourth grades—students play chess two hours a week every week for two years. Part of the program's aim is to improve children's logic and reasoning skills. But, as with China's more sci-fi approach, part of the aim is to engineer a generation of smarter, savvier children.
Armenia's education minister Armen Ashotyan recently told Al Jazeera that "Chess develops various skills - leadership capacities, decision-making, strategic planning, logical thinking and responsibility. We are building these traits in our youngsters. The future of the world depends on such creative leaders who have the capacity to make the right decisions, as well as the character to take responsibility for wrong decisions."
And, of course, there is a decent body of scientific evidence that suggests that learning and playing chess can actually raise a child's IQ—no test tubes required. University of Sydney professor (and chess grandmaster) Dr. Peter Dauvergne has long argued that chess has significant educational benefits, and that a raised IQ is chief among them.
He synthesizes the research supporting his claim in a 2000 article, "The Case for Chess as a Tool to Develop Our Children's Minds." Elsewhere, the Kasparov Foundation has compiled compelling arguments that chess improves cognition, boosts intelligence, and enhances problem-solving capabilities in "the Benefits of Chess in Education."
The Armenian psychologist keeping a close eye on the chess program agrees. "Ruben Aghuzumstyan has been researching the impact of chess on young minds since last year," Al Jazeera reports, and he says that "preliminary results show that children who play chess score better in certain personality traits such as individuality, creative thinking, reflexes and comparative analysis."
That is encouraging news, because there's still little consensus around whether chess is actually unique in its educational benefits—whether it's any more effective than more traditional math or logic problems. But there's no doubt that it's an intellectual boon for children. And it's definitely more fun.
Susie Hunanyan, the elementary school student profiled in the piece, looks forward to her routine chess lessons, and even aspires to be a grandmaster. "I like chess lessons a lot," she said. "My grandpa taught me how to play chess. But now that I learn chess in school, I am better at it than he is."
The question is, will she be better than him at everything else, too? It stands to reason. The concerted push to engage the nation's youths may yet beget a generational rise in IQ—which is really fascinating to consider, especially alongside China's sci-fi futuretech. While China may be paving the way for genetically-optimal brainiacs in giant genomics labs, Armenia is modifying its youth's intelligence the old fashioned way—with smart policy and good education. As such, Armenia's actually more likely to boost its youth's IQ than China—using gaming technology that's been around for over a thousand years.
{C}
By Brian Merchant

#42 Yervant1

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 08:42 AM

WHY CHESS SHOULD BE REQUIRED IN U.S. SCHOOLS

Pacific Standard
April 15 2013

It's a game that motivates us to win, but also teaches us how to deal
with defeat.

April 15, 2013~U By Alex Berezow ~U

Rook to B8. Checkmate.

There's nothing quite like the feeling of defeating a worthy opponent
in a game of chess: the ultimate battle of the wits. Of course, it's
not a feeling I have very often, since I'm not very good at chess. On
the other hand, my father is officially an "expert" and my friend is
a "master." In other words, they are both very, very good. To give
an idea of how good, if I was to play 100 games with each of them,
I would win precisely zero.

Worldwide, chess is still a popular game, but it is treated with
particular seriousness in Eastern Europe. For instance, the Bulgarian
National Olympic Committee has been lobbying for chess to be recognized
as an Olympic sport, as has Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, the Russian president
of the World Chess Federation. In September 2011, Armenia made chess
a required subject for all children over the age of six.

(In the DW-TV news clip below, the children are in 2nd grade.)

Indeed, the Armenians may be on to something. One recent
psychology study found that chess was associated with greater
"cognitive abilities, coping and problem-solving capacity, and even
socioaffective development of children." Of course, because it was
a cohort (observational) study, the link could be due to some third
factor or the possibility that smart, mature children are more inclined
to play chess in the first place.

In the above video, the math/chess teacher says, "Chess trains logical
thinking. It teaches how to make decisions, trains memory, strengthens
will power, motivates children to win, and teaches them how to deal
with defeat. It's the only school subject that can do all of this."

That is a very interesting insight. Not only does chess help train the
brain, but it also teaches children basic life skills. In our culture,
we hand out trophies to winners and losers-or neglect to keep score at
all-out of some misguided, politically-correct notion that we should
never hurt anyone's feelings. But, in Armenia, schools are teaching
children reality: Sometimes you lose. That's an important lesson,
and it should be taught at a young age.

What makes chess so fascinating is that no two games will ever
play out the same. Checkers-really a game for intellectual wimps
(like me)-has 500 billion billion possible positions, and, in 2007,
researchers reported that a computer has solved the game. (If neither
side makes a mistake, the outcome is always a draw.) But chess is
far more complicated than checkers. It is unlikely that a computer
will ever "solve" the game.

Americans are concerned that our children aren't receiving a solid
K-12 education. Perhaps chess should be introduced into the curriculum
as a fun way to teach logic and memory?

In fact, I should get back to practicing the game. Knowing that there
are seven-year-old Armenians that could run me off the chessboard
without breaking a sweat is a tad humiliating.

http://www.psmag.com...-schools-55241/

#43 Yervant1

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 10:04 AM

16:40 11/05/2013 » Sport
Roudolph Grigorian becomes champion of France


Armenian chess player Roudolph Grigorian won the title of U18 champion of France. He scored 7.5 points out of 9 to solely take first prize at the championship in Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux.
Another Armenian chess player, Gary Giroyan, fell half a point behind the winner to share 2-4th places among 83 participants. Giroyan was fourth on tie-break, armchess.am reported.

Source: Panorama.am
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#44 Yervant1

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 09:09 AM

09:30 13/05/2013 » Sport
Alik Tikranian becomes champion of Netherlands


Armenian chess player Alik Tikranian won the title of the U16 champion of Netherlands. He scored 6.5 points out of 9 to solely take first prize at the championship held in Sneek, armchess.am reported.

Source: Panorama.am
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#45 Yervant1

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Posted 16 June 2013 - 09:20 AM

Armenian student named winner of UNESCO contest

June 14, 2013 | 17:40


A representative of Armenia was named the winner of the UNESCO contest
launched by the Director-General of UNESCO on the occasion of the
International Day of Peace in 2012.

Mher Ghalumyan, a student of the Yerevan State University, was named a
winner in video clip category for his `My Fairy Tale' video.

More than 1,300 young people worldwide between 14 and 25 years of age
participated in this contest. About 400 works were submitted for four
competing categories as follows: essay, photography, video and graphic
arts.


News from Armenia - NEWS.am

#46 Sip

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Posted 16 June 2013 - 01:52 PM

Wow that is certainly very impressive :)

#47 Yervant1

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 09:00 AM

Gohar Tamrazyan becomes champion of Switzerland


9-year-old Armenian chess player Gohar Tamrazyan won the title of U12 champion of Switzerland. The championship was held in Siebnen. Gohar scored 6 points out of 7. Tamrazyan finished third in U16 group, being just half a point behind the winner, Lena Georgescu, armchess.am reported.

Source: Panorama.am
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#48 MosJan

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 10:53 AM

:ap: 9 year old :ap:

#49 Yervant1

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Posted 25 June 2013 - 09:14 AM

Andranik Matikozian becomes champion of Southern California


IM Andranik Matikozian (Armenia) became the champion of Southern California for the fourth time. He had no defeat, scored 5 points out of 7 and finished first at the championship held in Monterey, U.S.
Melikset Khachiyan (U.S.) took second place. He also had no defeat and was only half a point behind the winner.
Chess players from Russia and Mexico also took part in the tournament, armchess.am reported.

Source: Panorama.am

#50 Yervant1

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 09:09 AM

Chess: Arsen Davtyan wins European Youth Cup


Chess player from Armenia Arsen Davtyan scored 8 points out of 9 and became the winner in Boys U8 group at the European Youth Cup held in Ureki, Georgia.
Robert Muradyan took 3rd place in the same group. Shant Sargsyan won silver in Boys U12 group.
Anna Poghosyan took 3rd prize in Girls U8 group, armchess.am reported.


Source: Panorama.am
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#51 MosJan

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 01:57 PM

Bravo !!!

#52 MosJan

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 02:28 PM

Gyumri declared CIS Cultural Capital 2013

Posted Image
Posted ImagePosted Image July 1, 2013 - 16:15 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Armenian city of Gyumri was officially declared the CIS Cultural Capital 2013.
On this occasion, the city’s Vardanants Square hosted a festive concert Sunday, June 30, with the Cultural Capital diploma handed to Gyumri Mayor Samvel Balasanyan.
The program will feature 45 festive events with the official closing ceremony due November 2.
The program has been financed by the CIS Intergovernmental Foundation for Humanitarian Cooperation, Armenian Ministry of Culture and Gyumri Municipality.
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#53 Yervant1

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 07:13 AM

NETHERLANDS' OLDEST MAN SEROB MIRZOYAN IS 107

http://armenpress.am...yan-is-107.html
13:59, 4 July, 2013

YEREVAN, JULY 4, ARMENPRESS: The oldest man in the Netherlands, the
Armenian Serob Mirzoyan became 107. As reported by Armenpress, there
is information about Serob Mirzoyan even in the Wikipedia, in the list
of the oldest people of the Netherlands. His birthday is on July 1.

Serob Mirzoyan was born in 1906 in Diarbekir (Tigranakert). His
family moved from here to Iraq and in 1996 ~V to Amersfoort, the
Netherlands. The holder of the oldest Dutch title Serob Mirzoyan
celebrated his 107th anniversary with his family. The Mayor of
Amersfoort Lucas Bolsius visited and congratulated Mirzoyan.

#54 Yervant1

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Posted 26 September 2013 - 10:37 AM

14:46 26/09/2013 » Sport

Chess: Haik Martirosyan becomes European Champion

13-year-old Armenian FIDE Master Haik Martirosyan won the European champion’s title in the U14 group of the European Youth Blitz Championship held in Budva, Montenegro. Haik suffered no defeat and scored 7.5 points out of 9. 

GM Hovhannes Gabuzyan took bronze in the U18 group. GM Karen Grigoryan took 4th place at the same tournament.

Mane Hovhannisyan also took 4th place in the Girls U10 group.

European Youth Rapid Championship is being held in Budva today, armchess.am said.
 

Source: Panorama.am



#55 Yervant1

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 10:14 AM

CHESS: ARONIAN BECOMES GRAND SLAM WINNER

http://www.armeniano..._aronian_winner
CHESS | 14.10.13 | 12:00

Photo: Manu de Alba/www.bilbaomastersfinal.com

Top Armenian grandmaster Levon Aronian took the first prize at Grand
Slam 6th tournament that finished in Bilbao, Spain, on Saturday.

This is the second Grand Slam title won by Aronian in his chess
career. He first became the winner of Grand Slam, otherwise called
Chess Masters Final, in 2009.

In the round-robin tournament in Bilbao where Aronian's rivals were
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (France), Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan)
and Michael Adams (United Kingdom) the Armenian chess ace finished
with 10 points, without suffering a single defeat.

Adams finished second with 9 points, Vachier-Lagrave and Mamedyarov
placed third and forth with five points each.

 


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#56 Yervant1

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 10:13 AM

16:55 18/10/2013 » Sport

Krikor Sevag Mekhitarian wins chess tournament in Brazil

Armenian GM Krikor Sevag Mekhitarian (Brazil) suffered no defeat, scored 6 points out of 7 and took first prize among 87 participants at the chess tournament held in Mogi das Cruzes, Brazil. 

FM Armen Proudian (Brazil) took 9th place with 5 points, armchess.am reported.
 

Source: Panorama.am


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#57 MosJan

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Posted 16 November 2013 - 01:02 PM

Դավիթ Ասատրյանը՝ Եվրոպայի պատանեկան առաջնության չեմպիոն

Այսօր - 20:51

 

 

Ռուսաստանի Անապա քաքաքում ավարտին է մոտենում բռնցքամարտի Եվրոպայի պատանեկան առաջնությունը:

Մրցաշում Հայաստանի միակ ոսկե մեդալակիր դարձավ Դավիթ Ասատրյանը. 48 կգ քաշային կարգի եզրափակչում Դավիթն առավելության հասավ ռուսաստանցի Մագոմեդգաջի Ասևովի նկատմամբ՝ 2:1 հաշվով:
Հիշեցնենք, որ Հայաստանի ներկայացուցիչներից Վարդան Քոսյանը երեկ նվաճել էր բրոնզե մեդալ՝ 70 կգ քաշային կարգի կիսաեզրափակչում զիջելով ադրբեջանցի Հուսեյն Տավերդիլիին: Մեր մյուս մարզիկներն առանձնակի հաջող ելույթներ չունեցան:



#58 MosJan

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 01:01 PM

New York cigarette law bans tobacco sales to anyone under 21
By The Associated Press
November 19, 2013 - 09:29 am

 
NEW YORK (AP) - Mayor Michael Bloomberg planned to sign landmark legislation Tuesday banning the sale of tobacco products to anyone under the age of 21, making New York the first large city or state in the country to prohibit sales to young adults...

 

 



#59 MosJan

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 01:13 PM

New York Becomes First Major City To Ban Sale Of Tobacco To Young Adults

 

New York (AP) –  Mayor Michael Bloomberg planned to sign landmark legislation Tuesday banning the sale of tobacco products to anyone under the age of 21, making New York the first large city or state in the country to prohibit sales to young adults.

City health officials hope that raising the legal purchase age from 18 to 21 will lead to a big decline in smoking rates in a critical age group. A majority of smokers get addicted to cigarettes before age 21, and then have trouble quitting, even if they want to do so.

The ban has limitations, in terms of its ability to stop young people from picking up the deadly habit. Teenagers can still possess tobacco legally. Kids will still be able to steal cigarettes from their parents, bum them from friends or buy them from the black-market dealers who are common in many neighborhoods.

But City Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said the idea is to make it more inconvenient for young people to get started, especially young teens who had previously had easy access to cigarettes through slightly older peers.

"Right now, an 18-year-old can buy for a 16-year-old," he said. Once the law takes effect, in 180 days, Farley said, that 16-year-old would "have to find someone in college or out in the workforce."

Tobacco companies and some retailers had opposed the age increase, saying it would simply drive teenagers to the city's thriving black market.

"What are you really accomplishing? It's not like they are going to quit smoking. Why? Because there are so many other places they can buy cigarettes," said Jim Calvin, president of the New York Association of Convenience Stores. "Every 18-year-old who walks out of a convenience store is just going to go to the guy in the white van on the corner."

Bloomberg also was to sign legislation Tuesday that will seek to keep the price of tobacco high by prohibiting coupons and other discounts and setting a minimum cigarette price of $10.50 per pack.

Large cigarette companies now commonly offer merchants incentives to run price promotions to bring in new customers.

"For someone who might be trying to quit smoking, it makes it easy for them to buy on impulse," Farley said.

Calvin said the elimination of discounts would further feed the drift away from legal cigarettes, and toward illicit supplies brought into the city by dealers who buy them at greatly reduced prices in other states, where tobacco taxes are low.

Both bills were passed by the City Council late last month. The legislation also prohibits the sale of small cigars in packages of less than 20 and increases penalties for retailers that violate sales regulations.

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#60 Yervant1

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Posted 29 December 2013 - 10:48 AM

Armenia's Hakobyan is world champion

December 28, 2013


Aram Hakobyan (Armenia) won the champion's title in the boys' U12
category of the World Youth Chess Championships 2013 for boys and
girls, which is held in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates.

In the final round, Hakobyan played a draw, as a result, he amassed
9.5 points out of a possible 11 points, and became beyond the reach of
his pursuers.

The tournament will come to an end on Saturday.

Photo and video from the Chess Federation of Armenia official website.

NEWS.am Sport


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