Chess: Aronian says will not compete in Azerbaijan-hosted tournaments

Chess: Aronian says will not compete in Azerbaijan-hosted tournaments

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Armenian grandmaster Levon Aronyan, FIDE’s current number two player, says he won’t compete in international tournaments held in Azerbaijan. The warning comes before international chess’s governing body is to decide on the venue for a candidates’ tournament.

In a statement on Thursday to the FIDE presidency, Aronian explained the reasons behind his decision, saying that the permanent tensions that exist in the relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia and the general atmosphere in the neighboring country make his participation impossible.

“A responsible and important tournament like the one expected to determine the world’s champion requires tranquility and concentration from participants. No factor unrelated to chess should prevent a grandmaster from demonstrating all his abilities. A favorable moral and psychological atmosphere is highly important, but no Armenian in Azerbaijan, unfortunately, can enjoy such an atmosphere,” Aronian said, stressing the importance of ensuring equal conditions for all participants.

“I hope you will take my considerations into account while discussing the venues of the tournament at your board session,” the Armenian chessman said in his letter to FIDE.