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Levon Aronian

Aronian at the 2011 European Team Chess Championships in Athens
Country Armenia
Born 6 October 1982
Yerevan, Armenian SSR, Soviet Union
Title Grandmaster
Peak rating 2830 (March 2014)
Ranking No. 4 (January 2016)
Peak ranking No. 2 (January 2012)

Levon Grigori Aronian (Armenian: Լևոն Գրիգորի Արոնյան; born 6 October 1982) is an Armenian chess Grandmaster. On the March 2014 FIDE rating list, he was ranked number two in the world and had an Elo rating of 2830, making him the fourth highest rated player in history.

Aronian won the Chess World Cup 2005. He led the Armenian national team to the Gold medals in the 2006 (Turin), 2008 (Dresden) and 2012 (Istanbul) Chess Olympics and at the World Team Chess Championship in Ningbo 2011. He won the FIDE Grand Prix 2008-2010, qualifying him for the Candidates tournament for the World Chess Championship 2012, where he was knocked out in the first round. He was also World Chess960 Champion in 2006 and 2007, World Rapid Chess Champion in 2009, and World Blitz Chess Champion in 2010. In 2015, he won the 3rd Annual Sinquefield Cup.

Aronian has been the leading Armenian chess player since the early 2000s. His popularity in Armenia has led to him being called a celebrity, and a hero. He was named the best sportsman of Armenia in 2005 and was awarded the title of Honoured Master of Sport of the Republic of Armenia in 2009.

Early life and education

Aronian was born on 6 October 1982 in Yerevan, Armenia (then part of the Soviet Union), to Seda Aronova-Avagyan, an Armenian mining engineer, and Grigory Leontievich Aronov, a Jewish physicist. Talking about his background, Aronian stated in an interview, "I feel much more Armenian than Jewish, although there are sides to me which are more Jewish culturally, involving the arts and music."

He was taught to play chess by his sister, Lilit, at the age of nine. His first coach was the Grandmaster Melikset Khachiyan. An early sign of his ability came when he won the 1994 World Youth Chess Championship (under-12) in Szeged with 8/9, ahead of future luminaries Étienne Bacrot, Ruslan Ponomariov, Francisco Vallejo Pons, and Alexander Grischuk.

Aronian holds a diploma from the Armenian State Institute of Physical Culture.

Career

2001-04

2005

2006

2007

Aronian playing Magnus Carlsen at Linares 2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

Team competitions

Levon Aronian
Medal record
Competitor for Armenia
Chess Olympiad
  Turin 2006 Open
  Dresden 2008 Open
  Istanbul 2012 Open
  Calvià 2004 Open

Aronian played for Armenia in the Chess Olympiads of 1996, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, and 2012. He took team bronze medal in 2004 and team gold medal in 2006, 2008 and 2012. In the 2010 Chess Olympiad he won the silver medal for his individual performance on board one. In the 2012 Chess Olympiad Aronian won the gold medal on board one. Aronian was a member of the gold-medal winning Armenian team at the World Team Chess Championship in 2011, where he won the silver medal on board one. Aronian again competed for Armenia in the 2013 World Team Chess Championship, where he won the gold medal on board one.

Elo rating

Aronian broke the 2800 rating barrier in the November 2010 FIDE world ranking with a rating of 2801. He is the sixth player to cross the 2800 rating mark, after Garry Kasparov, Vladimir Kramnik, Viswanathan Anand, Veselin Topalov, and Magnus Carlsen.

Head-to-head record versus selected grandmasters

(Rapid, blitz and blindfold games not included; listed as +wins −losses =draws as of 18 November 2015.)
Players who have been World Champion in boldface

Chess960

Aronian at Mainz 2009

In 2003 Aronian won the Finet Chess960 open at Mainz; this qualified him for a match against Chess960 World Champion Peter Svidler at Mainz the following year, a match which he lost 4½-3½. He won the Finet Chess960 open tournament again in 2005 which earned him a rematch with Svidler in 2006, and won the match this time 5-3 to become Chess960 World Champion.

In 2007 he successfully defended his title of Chess960 World Champion by beating Viswanathan Anand. He lost the title in 2009 to Hikaru Nakamura.

Playing style

Viswanathan Anand called Aronian "a very gifted tactician", and said that "He's always looking for various little tricks to solve technical tasks." In 2011, Boris Gelfand described Aronian as "the most striking player around, with the highest creative level, in terms both of openings and original ideas in the middlegame."

As white, Aronian plays mainly 1.d4. According to Anand, "Though he opens with 1.d4, he treats these positions like an e4-player." Aronian is an expert in the Marshall Attack.

Internet Chess Club

Aronian's handle on the Internet Chess Club (ICC) is "L-Aronian".

Personal life

Aronian has been in a relationship with Australian Woman International Master Arianne Caoili since 2008.

Results Timeline for Chess World Cup

Year 2005 2007 2009 2011 2013 2015
Chess World Cup W 4R A A 3R ??

Notable games

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Position after 17.Qa1

Aronian, as Black, defeats GM Ivan Sokolov (2676) in 19 moves, using 10½ minutes on his clock:

Ivan Sokolov vs. Levon Aronian, Turin 2006 Chess Olympiad; Nimzo-Indian Defence (ECO E35)
[Analysis by A. J. Goldsby]
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 d5 5. cxd5 exd5 6. Bg5 c5!? 7. dxc5 h6 8. Bh4 g5 9. Bg3 Ne4 10. Bxb8!?

10.e3; 10.Be5

10... Qf6!

10...Rxb8?? 11.Qa4+ +−

11. Bg3 Nxc3 12. a3 Bf5! 13. Qd2 Ba5 14. b4? Ne4 15. Qc1 Rc8!! 16. Ra2?! Rxc5 17. Qa1 (see diagram) Qc6!

The threat of back-rank mate is crushing.

18. Qe5+ Kd8 19. Qxh8+ Kd7 0-1

If 20.e3, 20...Rc1+ 21.Ke2 Bg4+! and 22...Qc4#
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