Levon Aronian was the pioneer of Chess960. In 2006 and 2007, he won the first two world championships in Mainz, organized privately at the time. Aronian’s affinity for the chess variant, in which the players navigate uncharted waters from the very first move, is obvious. Among the super grandmasters, the Armenian is considered the most creative, the true freestyler. “The world is a better place when Aronian plays chess,” former world champion Garry Kasparov said of him.
Aronian’s imagination, taste and love of beauty are not only evident in his games. Music and art connoisseur Aronian also expresses his creativity through his clothing. His footwear has sparked many a debate among observers, while his shirts push the boundaries of conservative dress codes. Tournament outfitter Frank Rudolf, fashion designer from Hamburg, and Levon Aronian will enjoy each other’s company.
Aronian was born on October 6, 1982 in Yerevan, the son of a mining engineer and a physicist. He learned the game from his sister Lilit as a child. He won his first world championship at U8 level, his first major victory, which was to be followed by many more.
Aronian has won more or less everything, only the biggest victory has so far eluded him. In the world rankings, Aronian has come dangerously close to Magnus Carlsen, his highest rating of 2830 is one of the best ever. He has been among the world’s top ten for almost 20 years.
Levon Aronian was a candidate for the World Championship five times. Each time he was not only one of the favorites in the Candidates Tournaments, the winner of which challenges the World Champion. Aronian, with his wealth of ideas, was always regarded as the player most likely to pose a threat to Magnus Carlsen in a world championship match. But he has not yet been granted such a world championship match.
Nevertheless, he is a fan favorite and a favorite of chess interviewers. His playful charm and smiling mischievousness make Aronian one of the most sought-after interview partners wherever he appears.
This will hardly be any different at the WEISSENHAUS Freestyle Chess G.O.A.T. Challenge. Everyone involved can look forward to seeing an Aronian in top form, who is one of the vast majority of top grandmasters who appreciate Chess960 – also as a training tool for Chess1 or regular chess: “Chess960 is good for your chess,” says Aronian. “If you engage with what you see in front of you and look for original solutions instead of familiar patterns, you broaden your horizon.”
FIDE title: Grandmaster
World Champion: Levon Aronian has held all World Championship titles except the classical one. In 2009, he won the Rapid World Championship, and in 2010, he won the Blitz World Championship. In 2006 and 2007, he won the privately organized Chess960 World Championship.
World Cup Record: As the only player, Levon Aronian has won the FIDE World Cup twice, in 2005 and 2017.
Chess Olympiads: Aronian led the Armenian national team to gold medals at the Chess Olympiads in 2006 (Turin), 2008 (Dresden), and 2012 (Istanbul). He also led them to the title at the 2011 Team World Championship.
Rating Record: His highest Elo rating of 2830 was achieved by Aronian in March 2014. This makes him the fourth-best player in the all-time world rankings.
Armenian Sports Hero: Aronian has received a number of awards in his home country of Armenia – Best Athlete of Armenia (2005), Honorary Master of Sports of the Republic of Armenia (2009), Order of Saint Mesrop Mashtots (2012).