GRENKE Chess Classic Baden-Baden
2 - 9 February 2015
  • Arkadij Naiditsch
    Arkadij Naiditsch

    Name: Arkadij Naiditsch
    Age: 29
    Nationality: German
    World ranking: No. 49

  • Magnus Carlsen
    Magnus Carlsen

    Name: Magnus Carlsen
    Age: 24
    Nationality: Norwegian
    World ranking: No. 1

  • Viswanathan Anand
    Viswanathan Anand

    Name: Viswanathan Anand
    Age: 45
    Nationality: Indian
    World ranking: No. 5

  • Etienne Bacrot
    Etienne Bacrot

    Name: Etienne Bacrot
    Age: 31
    Nationality: French
    World ranking: No. 39

  • Fabiano Caruana
    Fabiano Caruana

    Name: Fabiano Caruana
    Age: 22
    Nationality: Italian
    World ranking: No. 2

  • David Baramidze
    David Baramidze

    Name: David Baramidze
    Age: 26
    Nationality: German
    World ranking: No. 236

  • Michael Adams
    Michael Adams

    Name: Michael Adams
    Nationality: English
    World ranking: No. 17

  • Levon Aronian
    Levon Aronian

    Name: Levon Aronian
    Age: 32
    Nationality: Armenian
    World ranking: No. 6


Levon Aronian

Name: Levon Aronian
Age: 32
Nationality: Armenian
World ranking: No. 6

Levon Aronian’s open and warm manner has made him one of the most popular chess professionals, but as world no. 6 with a rating of 2797 he’s hardly a lightweight at the board.

Strange as it is to say about someone who three years after learning to play the game won the World U12 Championship ahead of a host of future stars, Levon Aronian was an unusually late developer. It was only in 2005, at the age of 23, that the laid-back Armenian emerged from the pack, following up World Cup victory with triumphs in the Linares and Tal Memorial supertournaments. Since then he’s always been there or thereabouts at the top, and despite now being 32 he’s still one of main contenders for Magnus Carlsen’s World Championship title.

As the son of a laser physicist father and an engineering mother he once described as a “specialist in explosions”, Aronian has always been at home in chaotic positions, where his natural optimism combines perfectly with great ingenuity and imagination. Off the board the same qualities show through in his sense of humour and a love of jazz, film and literature.

As well as numerous individual successes – Aronian is a multiple World Champion at Blitz and Chess960, a 4-time winner of Wijk aan Zee and a 3-time winner of the Tal Memorial – he’s had phenomenal success with the Armenian team, leading that chess-crazy nation of just over three million inhabitants to a hat-trick of gold medals at the Chess Olympiad (2006, 2008 and 2012) as well as the 2011 World Team Championship. The whole team are treated as national heroes, and Levon has said that although unambitious by nature he’ll do his utmost to win the World Championship for the sake of his fans.

He looked on course to mount a challenge at the 2013 London Candidates tournament when he matched Magnus Carlsen in the early stages, but a late collapse – 3 losses in 4 rounds – saw his title dreams slip away. The strain of World Championship events seems to affect his play, and a similar story was repeated in the 2014 Candidates in Khanty-Mansiysk. A first-round loss to eventual winner Viswanathan Anand cranked up the pressure, and although he soon recovered from that blow he faded in the latter stages, losing his last two games.

Levon Aronian starts the GRENKE Chess Classic 2015 as one of the favourites, though he’ll face very tough competition from Carlsen, Caruana and Anand.