[imagefield_assist|fid=3573|preset=frontpage_200x200|lightbox=true|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=200|height=200]By John Henderson,
Director of Chess Content, ICC
Congratulations to IM Levon Altounian (Arizona), who beat Damir Studen (Georgia), 1.5-0.5, to win the 2010 US State Champion of Champions title hosted live on the Internet Chess Club.
Altounian now goes forward to claim a spot in next month's US Championship sponsored by the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis.
In his youth, Altounian was an incredibly strong Armenian junior player in the early 1990s. He was the U.S.S.R Junior Team Champion in 1991 and the Armenian Junior Champion from 1992-1993 and, as his country's representative, tied for tenth place in the 1993 World Junior Championship.
Lev is a 6 time California State champion (1996-2003) and has continued this streak by becoming both the 2008 and 2009 Arizona State Champion. He is currently among the top 40 chess players in the country and is highly respected as a player with a profound understanding of the game by the country’s best players. He also qualified to play in the 2002 US Championship in Seattle.
He is also one of the most successful coaches in Arizona. Shortly after his arrival to the state in 2002, the school where he taught, Castlehill Country Day School, became the 2003 National K-5 Champions. He has coached numerous state champion teams as well as individuals among all age groups. He also coached Landon Brownell who became the 2006-2007 National Individual Champion.