Levon Aronian says leaving Armenia

Armenia’s leading Grand Master Levon Aronian has announced he is leaving the country.

“Last year was very difficult for all of us – an epidemic, a war, in my case – personal misfortune and the state’s absolute indifference to Armenian chess. I was faced with the choice of quitting the work of my life or moving to a place where I would be valued,” Aronian said in a lengthy post on Facebook.

“After waiting for the fulfillment of the promises of the current government for more than a year, I realized that I had to make a breakthrough decision to leave my native country,” Aronian said, adding that every year of expecting change is a wasted year in terms of sports career.

“I am sincerely proud to have had the honor of making a significant contribution to the greatest achievements of Armenian chess.  Three Olympic gold medals, gold at the World Championships, two World Cups, a number of individual and team victories. I think it is clear that in chess it is not possible to achieve heights without a huge amount of hard work and state-sponsored support,” Aronian added.

Levon says he has received a number of attractive offers from various countries over years, including from the great American philanthropist, chess lover Rex Sinquefield, who repeated his offer to move to the United States every year.

“I always justified my refusal by saying that what my state was doing was invaluable for the development of chess, that no material value could be compared to the respect that a chess player enjoyed in Armenia. I want to thank the respected Rex Sinquefield for continuing to believe in me today. My thanks to Fabiano Caruana, who, being America’s strongest player, supports me in sharing my decision to be his teammate. I am very grateful to him – to my family, relatives, friends, all the people who know my principles and understand me,” he said.

Levon Aronian said he is connected to the homeland with all ties and will continue to do the possible and the impossible for the country even from afar.

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