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.