YEREVAN — Armenian grandmaster Levon Aronyan, FIDE’s current number two player, has applied to Chairman of the International Chess Federation Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and members of FIDE Executive Committee, noting he will refuse to play in Baku, if the qualifying tournament is conducted there.
In his open letter Levon Aronyan specifically writes:
”I was informed 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 in 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.”