Aronian Tells Chess Federation He will not Play in Azerbaijan

Aronian during last week's tournament in the Netherlands

YEREVAN (ArmRadio)—Armenian Grandmaster Levon Araonian, in an open letter on Thursday, warned the World Chess Federation (FIDE), he would not be able to take part in the federation’s World Championship tournament if it is held in Azerbaijan.

Bulgaria and Azerbaijan have submitted bids to FIDE, which Federation Internationale des Echecs in French, to host the next World Championship Tournament.

“I learned from the media that the Chess Federations of Azerbaijan and Bulgaria had submitted an application on holding the Candidates Tournament of World Championship,” said Aronian in his letter to FIDE Chairman Kirsan Ilyumzhinov.

“I’d like to inform you that the general atmosphere in Azerbaijan and the continuous tensions between our countries make my participation in such a high-level tournament in Azerbaijan impossible,” added Aronian.

“An important event, such as the Candidates Tournament, requires peace of mind and special concentration. No circumstances, if they are not chess-related, should prevent the grandmaster from demonstrating all of his skills. Unfortunately, at this moment no Armenian can find favorable or adequate psychological atmosphere in Azerbaijan, whereas that is something absolutely necessary. In my opinion, all the participants should be in equal conditions, which is impossible in the event the tournament is held Azerbaijan. Security guaranties and any kind of additional support cannot be a remedy,” explained Aronian.

“Taking into account the aforementioned considerations, I would like to inform you that I would be delighted to take part in the Candidates Tournament in any other country. However, my participation in the candidates tournament in Azerbaijan has to be excluded,” said Aronian.

Just last week, Aronian, currently ranked no. 2 in the world, won first place at the prestigious Tata Steel Tournament in Wijk aan Zee, closing in on the world’s no. 1 Magnus Carlsen of Norway.


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  1. right said:

    Right so! ‎
    Finally an courageous Armenian player who sees different kinds of dangers for his/her healt‎ while agreeing to play in Azerbaijan or even Turkey!‎

  2. ARA said:

    Well said Levin- it is filthy over there-real dirty-stay away-they killed women, children and men of our culture and threw many out-they are dangerous and we need u-WELL DONE!

  3. Norin Radd said:

    Azeri journalists themselves are not safe in their own country, how can a brilliant Chess Grandmaster like Aronian feel safe and secure being an Armenian?

    Let’s not forget what happened to Lieutenant Gurgen Margarian when he was a visit participant in the NATO Partnership for Peace program, and this was on FOREIGN soil in Hungary, imagine what these uncivilized goat herders would have attempted on their own soil?

    These animals were even proud of what their fellow Azeri goat herder had done, even those among them that call themselves “intellectuals” actually had the gaul to hail their Azeri murderer a “national hero”:

    Many officials in Azerbaijan have publicly condemned but privately praised Safarov’s actions. Zardusht Alizade, an Azeri political scientist, said that Safarov would have been a national hero, if not recognized as someone who had committed a crime, for which he must be punished. Elmira Suleymanova, the human rights commissioner (ombudsman) of Azerbaijan, declared that Safarov’s punishment was far too harsh and that “Safarov must become an example of patriotism for the Azerbaijani youth.”

  4. Sirvart Garabedian said:

    Very smart move Levon Aroyan, I fully agree with you not to play in a non stable country while they threaten peaceful Gharabagh. Proud of you, GOOD LUCK & GBU EVERY STEP OF THE WAY.

  5. Pingback: Aronian Tells Chess Federation He will not Play in Azerbaijan – Asbarez Armenian News « Russ Bastable

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  7. Hayq said:

    Armenia should host the championships! We have great chess players and a very friendly atmosphere. It will also be a big boost to the fact that we have now made chess part of the curriculum.

  8. Masis said:

    Excellent decision Levon. It would detract from their event.
    It would also make a strong Armenian stance.