Person of day   -  6 OCTOBER 2021

LEVON ARONIAN

LEVON ARONIAN

Levon began to play chess fairly late when he was 9. In fact, he was taught how to move pieces by his older sister. His talent became evident quickly enough- when he was just 12, Levon became the world youth champion. That was his first title. 

Aronian went on to win multiple youth championships. His most important success was in Goa in 2002, when Levon became the world U20 champion. By this time, his family had moved from Armenia to Germany and the title of “Chess Prince” convinced the grandmaster to stick with chess as a career. 

In the mid-Noughties, Aronian began to achieve major milestones at international tournaments. The first stage of his adult career culminated in victory at the 2006 World Cup in Khanty-Mansiysk, after which the grandmaster was invited to play in candidates’ tournaments. Unlike most players, Aronian used his chance: after receiving his invitation to elite tournaments, he began to win them on a regular basis. He has won the best tournaments of our age, in Wijk aan Zee, Linares, the Tal Memorial and Bilbao. In 2009, Levon won the FIDE Grand Prix series before the end of the tournament.

Aronian is an excellent team player who has played for Armenia since 1999, when the team won the European championship. Playing at the first board, Aronian has led the team to victory at three Olympiads and one world championship. He is one of the few players whose rating has surpassed 2800. Victory at the 2015 super tournament in St Louis showed that Levon has overcome a small crisis in his career. 

Aronian plays with his own distinct style. He is a remarkably content chess player who is exceptionally strong in dynamic positions. He is a recognised master of rapid chess (he won the tournament in Monaco three times), blitz of which he is the world champion, and Fischer chess, due to two victories in Mainz. 

Levon had a successful 2017. In April, at the GRENKE Chess Classic super tournament in Germany, Aronian came first, overtaking world champion Magnus Carlsen. In June, he won a super tournament in Norway’s Stavanger, defeating Magnus Carlsen, Sergey Karjakin and Vladimir Kramnik in individual matches. In August, he won a tournament for rapid and blitz chess in St Louis. Finally, in September, Levon Aronian won his second World Cup in Tbilisi, defeating Chinese grandmaster Ding Liren in the final. 

In January 2018, Aronian won a traditional tournament in Gibraltar, defeating Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in the play-off. Levon did not play well in the candidates tournament in Berlin in March, but he overcame his decline and in August, he split 1st-3rd place with Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana at the Sinquefield Cup.