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Levon Aronian
Photograph copyright © Fred Lucas,  
Number of games in database: 2,493
Years covered: 1993 to 2018
Last FIDE rating: 2767 (2795 rapid, 2843 blitz)
Highest rating achieved in database: 2830

Overall record: +559 -220 =874 (60.3%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 840 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Slav (106) 
    D15 D10 D11 D17 D12
 English (95) 
    A13 A15 A14 A11 A18
 Queen's Pawn Game (92) 
    A45 E10 E00 A41 D00
 Queen's Gambit Declined (81) 
    D37 D38 D30 D39 D31
 King's Indian (79) 
    E60 E63 E61 E90 E62
 English, 1 c4 e5 (75) 
    A29 A20 A25 A21 A27
With the Black pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (331) 
    C67 C84 C78 C65 C89
 Ruy Lopez, Closed (136) 
    C84 C89 C88 C87 C90
 Queen's Gambit Declined (113) 
    D37 D38 D39 D31 D35
 Sicilian (101) 
    B22 B90 B70 B51 B76
 Queen's Pawn Game (66) 
    A45 D02 E00 A46 E10
 Grunfeld (65) 
    D85 D91 D76 D77 D94
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Aronian vs Anand, 2007 1-0
   I Sokolov vs Aronian, 2006 0-1
   A Giri vs Aronian, 2012 0-1
   Shirov vs Aronian, 2006 0-1
   Aronian vs Valerij Popov, 2005 1-0
   Aronian vs Carlsen, 2017 1-0
   W So vs Aronian, 2015 0-1
   Aronian vs A Giri, 2016 1-0
   Aronian vs Caruana, 2015 1-0
   Aronian vs A Volokitin, 2008 1-0

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: [what is this?]
   FIDE World Championship Knockout Tournament (2004)
   FIDE World Championship Tournament (2007)

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Candidates Match: Aronian - Carlsen (2007)
   41st World Junior Championships (2002)
   20th Amber Tournament (Blindfold) (2011)
   Linares 2006 (2006)
   Tata Steel (2012)
   4th FIDE Grand Prix (2009)
   Tata Steel (2014)
   World Cup (2017)
   Tata Steel (2013)
   Gibraltar Masters (2005)
   Tradewise Gibraltar (2018)
   6th European Individual Championship (2005)
   5th Individual European Chess Championship (2004)
   FIDE World Cup (2005)
   Chess Olympiad (2012)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Aronian's Games 4 Study by jakaiden
   Match Aronian! by amadeus
   Match Aronian! by chessgain
   A Players Announced to Fredthebear's Audience by fredthebear
   English: Levon Aronian Collection by chess.master
   Power Chess - Aronian by Anatoly21
   Exchange sacs - 2 by obrit
   Best Attacking games book by Naidistsch by FLAWLESSWIN64
   Book of Samurai's favorite games 3 by Book of Samurai
   Book of Five Rings' favorite games by Book of Five Rings
   Match Carlsen! by amadeus

   🏆 GRENKE Chess Classic
   Aronian vs M Bluebaum (Apr-09-18) 1/2-1/2
   Caruana vs Aronian (Apr-08-18) 1/2-1/2
   Aronian vs Vitiugov (Apr-07-18) 1/2-1/2
   Carlsen vs Aronian (Apr-06-18) 1/2-1/2
   M Vachier-Lagrave vs Aronian (Apr-05-18) 1/2-1/2

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Levon Aronian
Search Google for Levon Aronian
FIDE player card for Levon Aronian

(born Oct-06-1982, 35 years old) Armenia

[what is this?]

Levon Grigorievich Aronian was born in Yerevan and learned to play chess when he was nine years old. He is a former U12 (1994) and Junior (U20) World Champion (2002), became an International Master in 1996 at 13, and became a Grandmaster in 2000 at 17. He has been a Candidate on six occasions: 2007, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2016, and 2018.


<Age> In 1994, he won the World Under-12 Championship in Szeged with 8/9, ahead of future top-ten players Ruslan Ponomariov, Alexander Grischuk, Etienne Bacrot as well as Francisco Vallejo Pons. In 2001, he was runner up in the World Junior Championship with 9.5/13 just behind Peter Acs and went one better in 2002, when he became World Junior Champion, scoring 10/13 and finishing ahead of Surya Shekhar Ganguly, Artyom Timofeev, Luke McShane, Bu Xiangzhi, and Pentala Harikrishna.

<Nationals> He was runner up in the Armenian Championship in 2001 behind Smbat Gariginovich Lputian before improving in 2002 by winning the Armenian Championship.

<Continental> A regular participant at the European Individual Championships since their inception, he came =4th in 2003 with 8.5/13 behind the winner Zurab Alekseyevich Azmaiparashvili, and the joint runners up Alexander Yuryevich (Nenashev) Graf and Vladimir Malakhov in 2004 he came =3rd a half point behind joint leaders Vassily Ivanchuk and Predrag Nikolic and in 2005 he came =3rd, a point behind Liviu Dieter Nisipeanu and a half point behind 2nd place getter Teimour Radjabov.

<World> Aronian took part in the FIDE World Championship Knockout Tournament (2004) in Tripoli, eliminating Magnus Carlsen and Gadir Guseinov before losing his third-round match with Pavel Smirnov. He capped a highly successful 2005 by winning the FIDE World Cup (2005) in December, without loss of a single game. After beating Ali Frhat, Darmen Sadvakasov, Alexander Areshchenko and Francisco Vallejo Pons in the preliminary 4 rounds, he disposed of Mikhail Gurevich in the quarter finals and Bacrot in the semi finals before defeating Ponomariov in the final round. His World Cup victory qualified him for the Candidates Tournament of the World Chess Championship 2007, being played in May–June 2007. In this tournament he played Magnus Carlsen in the Candidates Match: Aronian - Carlsen (2007), and they tied 3-3 in the initial six games, then 2-2 in rapid chess, before Aronian finally prevailed 2-0 in the blitz deciders. In the finals, he won the Candidates Match: Aronian - Shirov (2007) by 3½-2½. This qualified him for the final stage of the championship, the FIDE World Championship Tournament (2007) in Mexico City. There, he scored only six points out of 14, finishing seventh out of eight players, with Viswanathan Anand becoming the World Chess Champion.

Aronian easily won the FIDE Grand Prix 2008–2010, qualifying him for the World Championship Candidates (2011). He was was eliminated from the latter contest in the first round when he fell to Alexander Grischuk in the rapid game playoff 1.5-2.5 (+1 =1 -2) after tieing the classical games 2-2 (+0 =4 -0). Aronian qualified via his rating for the right to play in the World Championship Candidates (2013) that was played in London in March 2013. He was in contention for first for most of the tournament, but he lost some games late in the tournament to place 3rd with 8/14, half a point behind the leaders Carlsen and Vladimir Kramnik respectively. He was seeded into the World Chess Championship Candidates (2014) by rating, as he met the condition that he must first participate in the World Cup (2013), where he defeated Kyrgyzstani IM Mikhail Markov in the first round and Igor Lysyj in the second round but lost to eventual semi-finalist GM Evgeny Tomashevsky in the third round. At the World Chess Championship Candidates (2014) in Khanty-Mansiysk, Aronian was in strong contention for the lead until round 9, but then crashed to score only 3 draws in the last 6 rounds to finish 6th in the final standings.

He qualified by rating for the World Cup (2015). There he defeated Michael Wiedenkeller of Luxembourg in the first round to advance to the second round only to be eliminated from the tournament in the shock of the round when he lost in the first rapid tiebreaker to Alexander Areshchenko. Nevertheless he qualified for the Moscow Candidates Tournament 2016 as the event's wild card entry.


<Classical> At the International Open at Capelle-La-Grande in 2001, Aronian scored 7/9, half a point behind the joint leaders Einar J Gausel and Vladimir Chuchelov . At Lausanne a few months later, he won the Young Masters tournament ahead of Harikrishna. In 2002, he was equal first in the International Open in Bad Wiessee and was also =1st in the International Neckar Opens held in Deizisau in Germany in 2002 and 2003. In 2004, he was =1st in the Reykjavik Open and 2005 proved to be Aronian's most successful year thus far - it saw him gain over 50 FIDE rating points to claim a spot in the top 10 and a 2724 rating on the July list. He was joint first with Zahar Efimenko, Kiril Dimitrov Georgiev, Alexey Shirov and Emil Davidovich Sutovsky at the Gibraltar Masters (2005), outright first at the Karabakh International (2005) and won the World Cup (see above). He went on to even greater successes in 2006: after achieving a modest result in Corus (2006), he won in the last round of Linares (2006) to take first place by half a point ahead of Teimour Radjabov and Veselin Aleksandrov Topalov. Toward the end of the year he shared first place in the Tal Memorial (2006) 2006 with Peter Leko , and then followed up in 2007 with a joint victory with Topalov and Radjabov at the category 19 Corus (2007). The year 2008 started with a great success at Corus (2008) where he shared first place with Carlsen, scoring 8/13, and continued strongly as he came =3rd at Morelia-Linares (2008), and won the FIDE Grand Prix (2008) in Sochi and the 4th FIDE Grand Prix (2009) in Nalchik. Along with his joint second place score in the FIDE Jermuk Grand Prix (2009), Aronian secured his place in the candidates tournament by winning the FIDE Grand Prix series in just three of the four events each player was slated to attend. He also came =2nd behind Topalov at the Grand Slam Chess Final (2008) tournament alongside Ivanchuk and Carlsen with 5/10 and finished 2008 with outright second behind Topalov with 5.5/10 at the Pearl Spring Chess Tournament (2008).

In 2009 he came =2nd with 7.5/13 at Corus a half point behind Sergey Karjakin and alongside Sergei Mushegovic Movsesian and Radjabov, took clear first place with four wins, one draw, and one loss in the Grand Slam Chess Final (2009). In November 2009, he competed in the Tal Memorial (2009), at the time the strongest tournament in history (in terms of average Elo, 2763). He finished fourth with 5/9, and in the final round memorably demolished world champion Viswanathan Anand with the Black pieces in just 25 moves. He was 3rd at Linares (2010) behind Topalov and Grischuk and in September 2010, he played in the preliminary stage of the Bilbao Grand Slam in Shanghai, the Shanghai Masters (2010), against Vladimir Kramnik, Alexei Shirov, and Wang Hao, but could not qualify for the final tournament after losing to Kramnik in an Armageddon game after they drew the tiebreaker match. In November 2010, he finished shared first with Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Karjakin at the category XXI Tal Memorial (2010). He started 2011 with a joint third with Carlsen in the Tata Steel (2011) (formerly Corus) super tournament behind Hikaru Nakamura and Anand, scoring 8/13 with a 2821 performance rating. In November 2011, he came second in the category 22 Tal Memorial (2011) with 5.5/9 (+2 =7 -0 and TPR of 2853) on tiebreak behind Magnus Carlsen, and in December 2011 he broke even at the London Chess Classic (2011) with 4/8 (+1 -1 =6). Aronian started 2012 with his first outright win at Wijk aan Zee scoring 9/13 (+7 -2 =4; TPR of 2891) at the category 21 Tata Steel (2012) and then placed =4th at the category 22 Tal Memorial (2012) with 4.5/9 followed by 3rd at the Grand Slam Chess Final (2012) in October. He finished 2012 with a disappointing 3.5/8 at the London Chess Classic (2012), placing 6th out of 9 and losing his world number 2 ranking.

However, 2013 saw Aronian placing clear second behind Carlsen at the category 20 Tata Steel (2013) event, scoring 8.5/13 and signalling a strong return to form prior to the Candidates Tournament that was held in March 2013. Subsequent to the Candidates, Aronian won the category 20 Alekhine Memorial (2013) with 5.5/9 on tiebreak ahead of Boris Gelfand and then placed =4th at the category 21 Norway Chess Tournament (2013), scoring 5/9. In September he placed 3rd in the category 22 DRR Sinquefield Cup (2013) quadrangular tournament behind Magnus Carlsen and Hikaru Nakamura, falling below 2800 for the first time since September 2010. However, he recovered his form and his 2800 rating in a major hitout in the lead up to the 2014 Candidates by winning the category XXI quadrangular DRR Bilbao Masters (2013) using the "soccer scoring" system wherein his +2 =4 translated into an outright first with 10 points ahead of the 9 points (+2 -1 =3) scored by runner up Michael Adams. Possibly the best result of his career came when he won the category 20 Tata Steel (2014) event with a round to spare, the final score being 8/11, a point and a half clear of the field. He placed 2nd behind Carlsen in the category 23 standard time Zurich Chess Challenge (2014), even after losing his 5th round game to Loek van Wely. Immediately before the standard time event he was =1st with Carlsen in the preliminary Zurich Chess Challenge (Blitz) (2014) which determined the draw. He placed 3rd in the Zurich Chess Challenge (Rapid) (2014), which when combined with the results in the main event provided him with an overall placement of 2nd, again behind Carlsen. His next major event was the Sinquefield Cup (2014), and which produced a relatively poor result by his standards, 5th placement with 4/10. He performed better at the Bilbao Masters (2014), placing 2nd behind Anand on the 3-1-0 scoring system used for the event and at the Petrosian Memorial (2014), where he placed =3rd behind Grischuk and Kramnik.

2015 started poorly for Aronian with a relatively weak performance at Tata Steel (2015), scoring 5.5/13 (+1 -3 =9) and finishing toward the bottom of the field. He played in the category 20 GRENKE Chess Classic (2015), placing mid table. His form later in February did not improve, when despite a strong win in the Zurich Chess Challenge (Blitz) (2015) curtain raiser, he placed =4th (6th and last on tiebreak) at the category 22 standard portion of the Zurich Chess Challenge (2015). A strong second place finish in the second part of the event, the Zurich Chess Challenge (Rapid) (2015), was not enough to put him on the leader board and he finished 4th overall. His woes deepened in June 2015 when he placed last at the category 22 Norway Chess (2015), dropping his rating to his lowest since July 2009, and resulting in him dropping out of the top 10 for the first time since January 2009.

However, he returned to form with a clear 6/9 (+3 =6) win at the category 22 Sinquefield Cup (2015), a full point clear of the four co-runners up including the World Champion Magnus Carlsen, Hikaru Nakamura, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Anish Giri. In December 2015, he placed fourth at the London Chess Classic (2015) with 5/9.

<Chess960> 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 this time he won the match this time 5-3 in an 8-game match to become Chess960 World Champion. In 2007 he successfully defended his title of Chess960 World Champion by beating Anand, but lost the title in 2009 to Nakamura.


Aronian played for Armenia 2 in the 1996 Olympiad in Yerevan, the 36th Olympiad (2004) in Calvia, the 37th Chess Olympiad (2006) in Turin, the 38th Olympiad (2008) in Dresden, the 39th Chess Olympiad (2010) in Khanty-Mansiysk, the Chess Olympiad (2012) in Istanbul and in the Chess Olympiad (2014) held in Tromsø. He helped the team to a bronze medal in 2004 and to gold medals in 2006, 2008 and 2012. In the 2010 Olympiad he won the silver medal for his individual performance on board one and in 2012 he went one better to win gold on top board.


Always a team player, Aronian has played in the German Bundesliga, the Israeli National League, in the Dutch, Spanish and French Team championships, in the European Club Cup as well as the World Team Championship (2005) and World Team Championship (2010). In the Russian Team Championship in 2005, he scored 7.5/9 with an Elo performance rating of around 2850, and in the World Chess Team Championship (2011) he lead Armenia to gold, scoring a personal silver for top board with his 5/8 (TPR 2826). He also won an individual gold playing top board for Armenia in the FIDE World Team Championship (2013). He has played for Armenia in the European Team Championships in 1999 (winning team gold), 2005, 2007 (individual silver), 2009. He lead Armenia to fourth place in the European Team Championship (2011) and in the European Team Championship (2013), winning individual silver and bronze on board 1 in 2011 and 2013 respectively. He won team and individual silver playing board one at the European Team Championship (2015).


In April 2012, Aronian and Vladimir Kramnik, as part of their preparation for the 2013 Candidates Tournament, played a six-game training match in Zurich. The Kramnik - Aronian (2012) match was drawn 3-3 (+1 -1 =4).


Aronian is a worthy successor to Anand in the rapid play versions of the game, and a fierce rival of Carlsen and Nakamura. In May 2007 he won 4-2 in the Kramnik - Aronian Rapid Match (2007). He also won the 2009 World Rapid Championship when he took out the Chess Classic Mainz (rapid) (2009), and then followed up by winning the World Blitz Championship (2010) with 24.5/38, clinching the title with a round to spare. In March 2008 he won the 17th Melody Amber blindfold/rapid tournament held in Nice, France, 2½ points ahead of the other nearest competitors. Apart from his first place win in the overall tournament, he also took sole first place in the Amber Tournament (Rapid) (2008) section of the tournament (winning by a margin of 1½ points) and shared first place in the Amber Tournament (Blindfold) (2008) section with Kramnik, Alexander Morozevich, and Topalov. In March 2009 he again won at the Melody Amber tournament, scoring a combined 14 points in 22 games, and sharing the lead in both sections. In 2011, he won the 20th Amber Tournament (Blindfold) (2011) with 8.5/11 by a clear point and a half, and came second behind Carlsen in the 20th Amber Tournament (Rapid) (2011) section with 7/11 to take the overall prize for the third time. In June 2008, Aronian won the Karen Asrian Memorial (2008) rapid chess tournament in Yerevan, finishing with 8½/14 ahead of second placed Peter Leko. In August 2010, he attempted to defend the World Rapid Chess title, but lost to eventual champion American Gata Kamsky.

In December 2013, he placed =1st at the SportAccord World Mind Games (Men, Blitz) (2013) with 19.5/30. In June 2014, he was =2nd behind Carlsen at the FIDE World Rapid Championship (2014).


Aronian was declared the best sportsman of Armenia in 2005 and in December 2009 was awarded the title of "Honoured Master of Sport of the Republic of Armenia".


Aronian is only one of nine players to officially cross the 2800 boundary, the others being Garry Kasparov, Kramnik, Anand, Topalov and Carlsen, Fabiano Caruana, Nakamura and Grischuk. His highest FIDE rating to date was 2830 in March 2014 when he was ranked #2 in the world, also his highest ranking to date. He was world #2 for a total of 26 rating periods covering 29 months.

After Aronian's round 4 victory over US super-GM Hikaru Nakamura in the Zurich Chess Challenge standard time event on 2 February 2014, his live rating reached a new personal best of 2835.5.


His handle on the Internet Chess Club (ICC) is "L-Aronian". He is married to WIM Arianne Caoili .

Sources and references

Live rating:; Extended interview on WhyChess on 21 Sep 2011:; Wikipedia article: Levon Aronian

Last updated: 2018-03-27 15:42:12

 page 1 of 100; games 1-25 of 2,493  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Ngo Ngoc Quang vs Aronian 0-1321993Wch U12E60 King's Indian Defense
2. E Shaposhnikov vs Aronian 1-0601993Wch U12B55 Sicilian, Prins Variation, Venice Attack
3. Aronian vs A Zabailovich 1-0341993Wch U12B23 Sicilian, Closed
4. A Boldyrev vs Aronian  ½-½451993Wch U12B20 Sicilian
5. N F Nur vs Aronian 0-1341993Wch U12B70 Sicilian, Dragon Variation
6. D Kozlenkov vs Aronian 1-0421993Wch U12C63 Ruy Lopez, Schliemann Defense
7. Aronian vs M Sitnik 1-0411993Wch U12C55 Two Knights Defense
8. A Horvath vs Aronian 1-0561993Wch U12B78 Sicilian, Dragon, Yugoslav Attack, 10.castle long
9. Aronian vs N Das 0-1581993Wch U12D01 Richter-Veresov Attack
10. Aronian vs S Munizaba 1-0381993Wch U12B23 Sicilian, Closed
11. Aronian vs I Khamrakulova 1-0341993Wch U12A45 Queen's Pawn Game
12. Aronian vs P De Bortoli 1-0211994EUch U12 DisneyD01 Richter-Veresov Attack
13. F Langheinrich vs Aronian 1-0301994EUch U12 DisneyB76 Sicilian, Dragon, Yugoslav Attack
14. Aronian vs A Khruschiov 1-0241994EU-ch U12A45 Queen's Pawn Game
15. Aronian vs O Kondarevich  1-0481994EUch U12 DisneyC16 French, Winawer
16. C Mamedov vs Aronian 0-1451994EUch U12 DisneyB78 Sicilian, Dragon, Yugoslav Attack, 10.castle long
17. E Khalilov vs Aronian  0-1331994EU-ch U12A07 King's Indian Attack
18. Aronian vs N Shavtvaladze 0-1411994EU-ch U12B52 Sicilian, Canal-Sokolsky (Rossolimo) Attack
19. Aronian vs H Geanta  1-0411994EU-ch U12C18 French, Winawer
20. G Szabo vs Aronian  0-1291994EU-ch U12B22 Sicilian, Alapin
21. E Kobylkin vs Aronian 0-1491994EU-ch U12D86 Grunfeld, Exchange
22. Aronian vs D Mastrovasilis 0-1161994EU-ch U12B46 Sicilian, Taimanov Variation
23. V Shinkevich vs Aronian  ½-½251994EU-ch U12A05 Reti Opening
24. V Raceanu vs Aronian  0-1431994EU-ch U12D74 Neo-Grunfeld, Nxd5, 7.O-O
25. M El Adnani vs Aronian 0-1221994Wch U12B23 Sicilian, Closed
 page 1 of 100; games 1-25 of 2,493  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Aronian wins | Aronian loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 122 OF 142 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Feb-05-12  Chessmaster9001: I don`t know what some users are trying to do here by bashing the specific country, but hey, keep trying by typing meaningless posts...


Feb-05-12  frogbert: <I would consider a debate on another higher level more interesting. Should FIDE blindly accept the best monetary offer for side to host a tournament/match, or should they be rather choosy about the locations and the ethical standards in that state and let go off some bigger cheques.>

refused, i'd say <any> part of how fide goes about with their business should be up for debate. i just prefer to focus on principles first, rather than approaching the issue locked to single instances like the one people have been discussing here.

<I thought that by asking some poignant, direct question I'll wake him up from his 'diplomatic' stance - but nothing will make him budge...>

solskytz, why would it be better if you could convince me to "choose side"? what i care about is fide becoming a serious organization that does things "properly", instead of treating every issue in an ad-hoc manner. there's a bigger picture to this debate than the specific issue of aronian's participation in the next candidates and an azeri bid for hosting the event. don't you agree?

Feb-05-12  Shams: <[W]hat [I] care about is [FIDE] becoming a serious organization that does things "properly", instead of treating every issue in an ad-hoc manner.>

Yes. This.


I don't want to turn this into a referendum on the World Championship, because they really are two separate issues, but WCC matches are the flagship events for our sport and they are also the most ad-hoc. I can't help but think FIDE would be more normalizable if the WCC were to fade away.

Feb-05-12  Billy Vaughan: <for the sake of the argument, if 4 of these 7 players would have reservations about playing in any given country/location (baku, elista, new york, yerevan, london, where-ever ...) - should fide pay attention? how about 3 of 7 players?>

I see the appeal of a democratic-ish principle where the more people who raise reservations, the more FIDE should listen. I feel that it's incorrect though. Any event where even just one player has to withdraw or be stifled due to very strong reservations is tainted. It's FIDE's duty to ensure reasonable playing conditions for its players in its biggest events. On the other hand, suppose 5 out of 7 players want to play in, say, London instead of in Baku for some flippant reason--for instance, there's a West End musical that they want to see. It's not FIDE's duty to accomodate them in that way.

So I think it comes down to the strength of the reservation, not the number of people.

Safety comes first. I don't think FIDE could entertain a bid from, for instance, North Korea. Access to good health professionals would be a high priority. Translators too. Climate concerns maybe. I dunno, I'd like to hear what other people think before drawing the line on what reservations FIDE should and shouldn't listen to.

Feb-06-12  frogbert: <I see the appeal of a democratic-ish principle where the more people who raise reservations, the more FIDE should listen>

bv, my main point is really more the one highlighted by shams in his previous post; i'm not saying that it should depend on the <number> of players/people who raise concerns - i was mainly trying to illustrate what i consider to be the core problem here: lack of system, guidelines, formal procedures, signs of <professional organization>.

everything can't be debated (or worse: simply decided on, semi-randomly) in ad-hoc manners. it's a waste of time, energy, money, opportunities, you name it. it's the sign of the wrong people doing the wrong things - and i don't even know their reasons; communication isn't considered key in this organization.

however, all lack of clarity and the constant flux guarantee that there will be some "controversial issue" that we, the chess fans and chess community, will be absorbed by and be busy having opinions on. hence, we're likely to forget to focus on the underlying, core reason for all these futile debates caused by everything being up in the air and nothing being clear and settled.

<It's FIDE's duty to ensure reasonable playing conditions for its players in its biggest events.>

certainly. but what does that mean, in concrete terms? you don't know. i don't know. but worse, fide doesn't know. that discussion was never held, the principles never debated and the rules never written. that's why we're here.

Feb-06-12  frogbert: i found the following semi-relevant "recommendations" and "regulations" in the fide handbook. i particularly like this kind of statements that flourish in most fide documents on world championship regulations: <The President has the right to demand additional deposits or guarantees from the organizers when he so decides.> for instance, when he doesn't like a particular organizer? there's no word about what kind of factors that may cause the president to invent new rules for certain applicants.

this is from the "Form to Offer/Bid to hold a FIDE Meeting/Competition", see

there also is - "Recommendations for Organization of Top-level Tournaments", which applies to, amongst others, "any event in the FIDE individual world championship cycle or a private tournament of at least category 10." among the important things it discusses i noted the players' appearance: "Those with unkempt and greasy hair should be admonished, as well as those wearing old or torn jeans and battered attire generally."

it doesn't address many requirements for cities/countries that want to host official fide events, except the need to provide guarantees for the capability of raising the necessary money to pay officers and players.

Feb-06-12  frogbert: the "World Championship General Provision" doesn't add much useful, and is also given the standard "when our regulations fail to cover a lot of essential stuff, the fide president will make some decision" phrase, here in this specific form:

<In difficult or conflicting situations, the President of FIDE has the right to take such measures or decisions as he considers to be in the interest of FIDE and of the worldwide development of chess.>

see for the full section.

the "ad-hoc" regulations for the specific candidates tournament under discussion include the following:


4. 8. 1 Any federation that is a member of FIDE or any sponsor may bid for the right to organize the Candidates Tournament. FIDE shall consult the federation where the sponsor proposes to hold the event. In case the federation refuses or is unable to co-operate, FIDE may still accept a proposal from a potential sponsor. No proposed sponsor for the Candidates Tournament shall be in conflict with the regulations of the International Olympic Committee.


4. 8. 5 Each proposal shall contain the following particulars: a) Proposed exact dates of the event.
b) Proposed tournament venue.
c) Proposed prize fund for the players (minimum 420,000 euros & should be offered net of any applicable local taxes). d) The contribution to FIDE (net of any applicable local taxes and not less than 20% of the prize money). e) Commitment to cover all financial obligations to FIDE. f) Commitment to cover all organizational costs, in accordance with the regulations of the event. g) Category of official hotel (minimum 4 stars), and name if possible, with special room rates including meals. h) A statement that the applicant accepts the regulations of the event without any reservations. i) An invitation for at least two members of the WCOC to inspect the proposed venue and examine the other conditions, with all travel/hotel expenses paid by the bidder.
j) Any bank guarantees as described in the bidding procedure. k) The applicant's name, signatures and authentication. An organiser of any specific part of the Candidates Tournament has the right to host at least one match of his representative player(s) in the first round.

4. 8. 6 FIDE may exercise the right to reject any bid application if the conditions as stated in 4.8.8 below are not met.

4. 8. 7 FIDE may exercise the right to reject any bid application if the financial standing of the bid is unsatisfactory.

4. 8. 8 The FIDE Presidential Board shall decide which applicant shall be chosen. The decision reached shall be based on the following criteria, which are to be viewed as a whole:

a) prize fund
b) covering of organisational costs

c) playing conditions
d) providing visas to all players, trainers and officials

e) security assistance for all players and officials

f) chess activity both actual and potential in the country hosting the event g) media possibilities
h) potential development of chess worldwide
i) climate conditions during the period of the tournament j) taxation conditions in the hosting country in respect of the prize fund.

If a Presidential Board meeting cannot be held, the FIDE President takes the decision in consultations with the WCOC.


the letters c, d and e above are probably the most specific rules there are for organizers with respect to the topic of debate. full regulations:

Feb-06-12  arshile: frogbert: The World Chess Championship 2012 Candidates tournament won by Gelfand where most matches end in draw decided by blitz. Against same group over and over even Topa! Carlsen seemed to say he did not need them, did not need verificatition, secured with his own talents. I watched him at 12, baby faced, dominate at playchess. So my opinion, Chess Championship is not very important if you are 2800. You will receive club backing, appearance fees, great income... to me, it's not, like, say, football World Cup, where winning is defintly everything chess has always been unregulated and politically backed since before Lasker, or Alkehine dodging Capa or Bronstein and Botvinil or Kasparov against the Soviet machine Karpov and of course the Bulgarians. So I view Carlsen and Levon as heroes making quiet statements that "play your tournament, I have my own life". The biggest appeal would be the money, 1.2 million purse rather than the vague always disputed somewhat empty title. and if you're under thirty, or under 21 andd worth a few million already then money to some would not mean as much
Feb-06-12  Refused: < frogbert: <I would consider a debate on another higher level more interesting. Should FIDE blindly accept the best monetary offer for side to host a tournament/match, or should they be rather choosy about the locations and the ethical standards in that state and let go off some bigger cheques.> refused, i'd say <any> part of how fide goes about with their business should be up for debate. i just prefer to focus on principles first, rather than approaching the issue locked to single instances like the one people have been discussing here.

<I thought that by asking some poignant, direct question I'll wake him up from his 'diplomatic' stance - but nothing will make him budge...>

solskytz, why would it be better if you could convince me to "choose side"? what i care about is fide becoming a serious organization that does things "properly", instead of treating every issue in an ad-hoc manner. there's a bigger picture to this debate than the specific issue of aronian's participation in the next candidates and an azeri bid for hosting the event. don't you agree?>

Well, most of that kind of discussion would not take place, if FIDE decided to avoid certain venues.

The more I think about it the more I like the idea to move the match between Anand and Gelfand from Moscow to Pakistan.

A Jewish vs. an Indian player. I guess they would face roughly equal treatment there. And let's see if they would raise any objections about the venue.

Anyway, should players have a say, on a general note rather not. That would end in chaos if every player wants some special treatment. But there are always exceptional circumstances.

Feb-06-12  ksr: Yes the Anand match venue should be Abbotabad , on top of Bin Laden's house. After all Anand started his WCC match at WTC, it will be fitting if he ends in Pakistan
Feb-06-12  solskytz: Funny :-] about the Anand-Gelfand match to be held in Pakistan! Beautiful :-]

Loved it :-]

- - - -

And to Frogbert's question: well, actually I don't agree :-]

while 'backseat management' of FIDE by our talented kibitzers is no doubt a worthy undertaking, I care more about the issue at hand, specifically.

Jokes aside, the matter is simple: if you have, say, ten chief contenders for the WCH, the venue should be wisely chosen, so that not one of them is excluded for political reasons.

Do I need to elaborate the point further?

Feb-06-12  frogbert: "the issue at hand" is a very clear consequence of how fide is run. it's about targetting the core problem.

the azeri and the armenian fans here won't agree on this specific issue, and the "compromise" that the azeri federation buys a spot in the candidates for radjabov while the event is actually organized outside azerbaijan (and armenia) is just the perfect example of the mismanagement of the world championship <and> fide.

ok, so maybe both azeris and armenians would be mostly happy - but that "solution" is really ridiculous. can you imagine another sport where such a thing would happen regarding a wc event?

Feb-06-12  drkodos: " can you imagine another sport where such a thing would happen regarding a wc event?"

Yes. Almost all of them.

Feb-06-12  bronkenstein: Few excerpts from Levitov`s RCF article ( )on recently finished FIDE meeting in Arab Emirates (he was there as one of the FIDE Vice presidents).

<...FIDE also considered the suggestion of the company `Aegon`...> ? , Agon, Egon ?...created by Andrew Polson(?) - originals are in Russian <... to buy the rights on the whole cycle - organisation of the Grand Prix , World Cup , Candidates Tournament and the WC Match. They guarantee the prize funds and would takeover the whole organization.>

<There are two bids - from Bulgaria and Azerbaijan , and potential one , from `Aegon` if they make a deal with FIDE. Anyway , after the contract is signed `Aegon` will have all the organization rights, and they will determine when and where the tournament takes place.>

PS if you know Russian, it might be better to check the original article , linked above.

Feb-06-12  polarmis: Berik Balgabaev, Ilyumzhinov's assistant, has tweeted that the Candidates will be in London from 23/10 to 13/11. I wouldn't exactly consider that set in stone, though...!/bbalgabaev/s...

Feb-06-12  solskytz: Well, if they do reach this agreement then it's probably the minor evil for now. We'll take care of the moral rehabilitation of FIDE later
Feb-06-12  bronkenstein: I just wonder who will the wildcard guy be in that case?
Feb-07-12  Chessmaster9001: Balgabaev confirmed in Twitter, venue is London and FIDE will announce it soon.
Feb-07-12  khursh: <frogbert:> I agree that there should be clear criteria and regulations. But everything is not possible to narrow down, detail and fix. The usual practice are existing ethical norms. Which means first we need healthy FIDE. Carlsen's last objection and other candidates' messages to FIDE showed the demand to improve candidacy process. FIDE committed to listen and to do the best to finally improve the situation. Fingers crossed, let's see. And I hope that the key important issue is not changing the rules in the middle of process.
Feb-07-12  frogbert: drkodos, really. mention <one> sport where all players or teams

1) first compete openly for participation in a championship with very limited places

2) and afterwards, if one fails to qualify, one can buy a spot in the finals (and not as the host of the championship)

if fide worked like other serious sports, then the host/venue of championships would be settled <well before> the qualification period <started>, and if the host would be pre-qualified to the finals/championship like in several team sports (like football), then you don't participate in the qualification.

in most sports, however, organizing a championship only gives you a very limited competitive advantage, like getting a quota of 5 participants instead of the normal 4, or similar.

i'm totally unaware of a serious sport where you can buy a place in something as exclusive as the final 8, and even <after> you have failed to qualify by proper means.

maybe boxing is an example of a gray area where the right to challenge the champion doesn't always seem totally predictable (due to how the rankings are made) - but the questionable nature there is also underlined by the presence of 4 world wide orgs that each has their "world champion" - and one for every weight class (resulting in several dozen "world champions of boxing" at the same time, at least theoretically).

still, in boxing it would at "best" be a question of corruption if someone pays their way to a higher ranking. what does fide implicitly say? "if you fail to qualify by proper means* then show us the money, and you can play the finals anyway!" that's really something we should be proud of.

*) proper means: of course, the qualification to the next candidates is the first "cycle" in a decade that hasn't been tainted by strange rules and/or rule changes during qualifications...

Feb-07-12  drkodos: frogbert: do your own homework.

The world is vastly different than what you think it is and is controlled in ways in which you seem to be unaware.

Feb-07-12  frogbert: drkodos, i'm sure the amount of corruption is even worse than i fear, but you're the one making claims here, so it's <your homework> to back those up.

here's the challenge:

<mention <one> sport where all players or teams

1) first compete openly for participation in a championship with very limited places

2) and afterwards, if one fails to qualify, one can buy a spot in the finals (and not as the host of the championship) >

if you have numerous examples to choose from, then it should be easy to provide <one>.

Feb-07-12  frogbert: btw, i'm not happy with an example like the "fia formula one world championship", where the entire season is the world championship and there are only 22/24 "participants" (or 11/12 if you're thinking teams) in the sport. of course, there are lower formula divisions where teams or drivers are recruited from, but there are no fixed "promotion rules" or anything. in fact, the entire motor sport category of "sports" is more business & entertainment than sports and as such on a rather different planet than traditional individual or team sports.

in other words, they're not very relevant for comparison to our game.

Feb-07-12  drkodos: ~ Auto racing
~ Cycling
~ Yachting
~ Harness racing
Please, the list is easily researched for yourself and since this is not an academic setting nor a court, I am under no compulsion to offer further evidence to support an opinion here.

Ignorance, unlike pancreatic cancer, is easily cured by reading vetted and substantiated source.

I suggest (to a lot of you here) that more time spent reading real sources and less time living in fantasy world of chess and game fandom would do wonders to improve your sense of "what is" in the world and how silly it really is to be upset over any of this.

Feb-07-12  drkodos: :-)

Pull down your pants and slide on the ice.

It's a game.

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