Levon Aronian, the winner of the Tata Steel Chess tournament and member of the 2800 club, submitted an open statement regarding the upcoming Candidates Tournament. The statement was received via the Armenian Chess Federation and regards a possible Candidates event in Azerbaijan, where GM Levon Aronian states he will not participate in case it is selected as venue.
Here is the full open statement of GM Levon Aronian.
To: FIDE PRESIDENT KIRSAN ILYUMZHINOV
FIDE PRESIDENTIAL BOARD MEMBERS
Dear Mr. President
Dear Presidential Board Members
I learnt from the media, that the Chess Federations of Azerbaijan and Bulgaria had submitted an application on holding the Candidates Tournament of World Championship.
I’d like to inform you that general atmosphere in Azerbaijan and continuous tensions between our countries make my participation in such high ranked tournament in Azerbaijan impossible. A responsible and important event, such as the Candidates Tournament, requires peace of mind and special concentration. No circumstances, if they are not chess-related, should prevent the grandmaster from demonstrating all of his skills. Unfortunately, at this moment no Armenian can find favorable or adequate psychological atmosphere in Azerbaijan, whereas that is something absolutely necessary. In my opinion, all the participants should be in equal conditions, which is impossible in case of holding the tournament in Azerbaijan. Security guaranties and any kind of additional support cannot be a remedy.
Taking into account the above-mentioned considerations, I inform you that I would be delighted to take part in Candidates Tournament any other country, but my participation in the candidates tournament in Azerbaijan has to be excluded.
I hope you will take into account these considerations while discussing the issue of the tournament venue at the Presidential Board Meeting.
Thank you in advance and best regards,