Lev Aronian: I Won't Play In Azerbaijan

  • SonofPearl
  • on 02.02.12, 14:40.

Armenian GM Lev Aronian, currently ranked #2 in the world and recent winner of the 2012 Tata Steel tournament has issued an open letter to FIDE making it clear that if Azerbaijan is chosen as the host country for the 2012 Candidates tournament, he feels unable to participate due to continuing tensions between the two countries.

So there is certainly a possibility that for the second candidates series in a row, a major player with winning ambitions will be absent from the event.

To: FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov
FIDE Presidential Board Members

Dear Mr. President
Dear Presidential Board Members

I learnt from the media, that the Chess Federations of Azerbaijan and Bulgaria had submitted an application on holding the Candidates Tournament of World Championship.

I’d like to inform you that general atmosphere in Azerbaijan and continuous tensions between our countries make my participation in such high ranked tournament in Azerbaijan impossible. A responsible and 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 case of holding the tournament in Azerbaijan. Security guaranties and any kind of additional support cannot be a remedy.

Taking into account the above-mentioned considerations, I inform you that I would be delighted to take part in Candidates Tournament any other country, but my participation in the candidates tournament in Azerbaijan has to be excluded.

I hope you will take into account these considerations while discussing the issue of the tournament venue at the Presidential Board Meeting.

Thank you in advance and best regards,

GM Levon Aronian

The eight players expected to take part in the 2012 Candidates tournament are:

  • The loser of the Vishy Anand v Boris Gelfand world title match in 2012
  • The top 3 in the 2011 World Cup (Peter Svidler, Alexander Grischuk, Vassily Ivanchuk)
  • The top 3 players not already qualified (Magnus Carlsen, Lev Aronian, Vladimir Kramnik)
  • A nominee from the hosts (minimum 2700 Elo on the Jan 2012 list)

If the event is awarded to Azerbaijan and Lev Aronian declines to participate then his place will be taken by the player with the next highest average rating on the July 2011 and January 2012 rating lists, which appears to be Sergey Karjakin.


Photo by Fred Lucas.

18167 Aufrufe 137 Kommentare
10 Stimmen


  • vor 4 Jahre


  • vor 5 Jahre


    Unfortunately, here it comes again: politics interferes with the most noble human activities.

    Aronian's position is definitely understandable and gets my empathy, especially as it's argumented seriousely and leaving politics aside.

    From the other hand, FIDE (GENS UNA SUMUS) can't conduct its activities based on political circumstances, and any sportsman has to know how to compete in more or less hostile environment (given his personal security is guaranteed by the organizers)

    Thus, I believe the best way is to take Aronian's letter to be one of - but definitely not the major - factor in taking decision where to hold the tournament.

  • vor 5 Jahre


  • vor 5 Jahre


    Bulgaria will give you perfect organization, security and fairness to all of you. Come to play here and everyone will be happy.

    (Topalov would play, but I personly want to see M.Carlsen as world champion. He deserves it.)

  • vor 5 Jahre


    and it's ur "wise" answer 4 my comment . I showed u a fact and u wrote just a empty words . relax . . .

  • vor 5 Jahre


    Gotta do what you gotta do I guess. 

  • vor 5 Jahre


  • vor 5 Jahre



    He is a prof wrestler (judo) , he is Azerbaijanian in amenia , and he won 1 place in european competiton and Azebaijan himne was songed in yerevan . and if aronian is believing himself , he ll participate this competition in Land of the fires !

    and aronian showed that he is just a coward. . 

  • vor 5 Jahre


    This is exactly why all of the races/ethnicities need to be mixed.  Marry outside your culture and race.  It is also better for the genes. 

  • vor 5 Jahre



  • vor 5 Jahre



    The very first humans have lived in Africa, so technically that's where your ancestors lived as well, so why don't you just go to Africa? ;) In any case, stop whining please, no one likes crybabies.

  • vor 5 Jahre


    Hi everyone, As a Turk we have close relations with Azeri s more than Armenians to say the least.. But i will stay neutral, i believe one player's effect on where the games are going to be played is a sad notion. If Aronians comments will change the tourneys place it will be a great shame for to the Azeri Chess Fed. However, I honestly like Aronian i think he is a briliant player and would love to see him trash Carlsen and be no:1 :) in my opinion he has made his decision as a professional , i do believe at his level total concentration is absolute therefore, any mis behaviours in Azeris will effect his play. I personally wont want to play in a country where i think i will be in danger (even this might not be the case) , so i believe the country should not be changed (eventhough it will not be the same without Aronian) , but respect Aronians decision not join. i know this solution would not please anyone but a middle way has to be found
  • vor 5 Jahre



    I'm not even going to descend to your level by starting this childish argument about 'my land, your land'. My sincere advice to you would be: grow up and stop being hateful.

  • vor 5 Jahre


    I agree with Lev Aronian on this. I hope they can find a different place to play. I wish him the very best.

  • vor 5 Jahre


    Hey Edward Glyver if someone has to go that must be u. Just run away from our lands! Don't be funny making me laugh.

  • vor 5 Jahre


    It would be nice to know who the voting members of FIDE really are and how the decision is being made. Perhaps there is a board, high leadership, but hopefully the players have a representation and voting rights as well. As long as the majority is agreeing about a decision there should be no argument. That is how democracy is supposed to work. Except democracy does not work all the time.

  • vor 5 Jahre


    Ah shut up, AgirlfromArmenia and Berd1915. Stop crying, referring to Sumgait 1988 and denigrating Azerbaijan. Armenians aren't any better, stop acting like you're saints and the others devils. It's because of people like you that there is a war. Problems are on both sides and they are not going to be solved if people close their eyes for their own misdeeds and point the finger to the others. We're an adult chess community trying to discuss the problem chess faces in a grown-up way, but all you do is whining.

    And Bern1915, if you don't want to be neighbours, just move somewhere else. No one is forcing you to stay there.

    I find it disgraceful that chess events don't take place because of the politics. I certainly understand Aronian's point, but seeing he's one of the best players, FIDE won't grant Azerbaijan any Candidates Tournament as long as Aronian is in circuit, which I find unfair. Azerbaijan is one of the leading chess countries and shouldn't be deprived from her right to organize such a tournament. It's not the fault of the Azerbaijani Chess Federation that hostilities exist, but they are the ones who suffer from it.

  • vor 5 Jahre


    Armenians and Azerbaijanians should solve their problem between them. You guys are neighbours for crying out loud. Communicate and stop hijacking the game inorde to highlight your problem.

  • vor 5 Jahre


    Greece is the perfect place!!!

  • vor 5 Jahre


    I'm agree with u Berd1915.Azerbaijan is very "hospitable" country.

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