Super GM Levon Aronian to Move to St. Louis, Represent the USA

United States to have five competitors ranked among the top 20 players in the world 

GM Levon Aronian
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GM Levon Aronian. Photo courtesy of the Saint Louis Chess Club

ST. LOUIS (February 26, 2021) - The Saint Louis Chess Club is pleased to announce that GM Levon Aronian will relocate to St. Louis, Missouri and represent the USA in future competitions. “I am sincerely proud to have had the honor of making a significant contribution to the greatest achievements of Armenian chess․ Clearly, it is impossible to reach world heights in chess without the huge amount of work done at home and through the support of my fellow countrymen. I truly appreciate the personal attention and support that I received from the third President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan for many years.” 

The 38-year-old Armenian GM first made a name for himself by winning the 1994 World Youth Chess Championship. Aronian went on to lead the Armenian national team to three Olympiad gold medals (2006, 2008, 2012) and one World Team Championship gold (2011). Throughout his career Aronian has amassed many individual victories as well, including the World Cup (2005, 2017), Linares (2006), Corus/Tata Steel (2008, 2011), Norway Chess (2017), Saint Louis Rapid & Blitz (2017, 2019) and the Sinquefield Cup (2015, 2018). 

Levon Aronian is also a world champion in three formats: he is a former Chess960 World Champion (2006, 2007), World Rapid Champion (2009), and World Blitz World Champion (2010).

“Levon played in our first-ever Sinquefield Cup in 2013. I’ve come to know him over the years to be a fierce competitor and true gentleman. He represents the best of our sport,” said Rex Sinquefield, co-founder of the Saint Louis Chess Club. “When he came to us with interest in moving to St. Louis and representing the U.S., I could think of no one better. We welcome him with open arms.”

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Levon Aronian after his 2015 Sinquefield Cup victory. Photo: St. Louis Chess Club

The Saint Louis Chess Club has become a second home to Aronian. After winning the 2019 Saint Louis Rapid & Blitz, he spoke fondly of his many visits to the Central West End. At the closing ceremony he remarked, “I love playing in the city of St. Louis, where chess players are proud to be chess players and we're loved, and that is mainly thanks to the Sinquefield family.”

US Chess Federation president Mike Hoffpauir says, “The US Chess Federation welcomes the news of Super GM Levon Aronian’s intent to relocate to the United States. Until such time that he is living in the United States, the US Chess Federation has no jurisdiction with regard to his status with FIDE.  As with all transfer matters, the US Chess Federation does not allow for inviting or paying for the transfer of any player.  Our role is to process the player's administrative paperwork as required by FIDE.”

Aronian joins dozens of other chess players who have decided to make St. Louis, the nation’s chess capital, their home. The “Sinquefield Effect” is largely credited with the resurgence of American chess over the last decade. 

Aronian is currently ranked number six in the world, and he will join fellow world top-20 players Fabiano Caruana, Wesley So, Leinier Dominguez, and Hikaru Nakamura to represent the United States.

Aronian informed the Armenian Chess Federation and his followers on Thursday, February 25, 2021 by stating, “I am very grateful to my family, relatives, friends, all the people who know my principles and understand my decision to change federations. I want to assure once again that I am connected to my homeland. By all means, I will continue to do the possible and the impossible for my country even from afar.”


About The Saint Louis Chess Club

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The Saint Louis Chess Club is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization committed to making chess an important part of our community. In addition to providing a forum for the community to play tournaments and casual games, the club also offers chess improvement classes, beginner lessons and special lectures.

Recognizing the cognitive and behavioral benefits of chess, the Saint Louis Chess Club is committed to supporting those chess programs that already exist in area schools while encouraging the development of new in-school and after-school programs. For more information, visit