Armenian grandmaster Levon Aronian announced on Friday, February 25 that he is leaving Armenia to represent the United States.
Rumors about Aronian moving from Armenia started circulating months ago, with the player promising to make a statement on the matter as soon as possible.
In a message published on his Facebook page on Friday, Aronian said the Armenian authorities have not been honoring their commitment to develop chess in the country.
"After the revolution of 2018, the new government promised to continue [the support provided to the field by the previous authorities], but that promise was limited to a year of partial support before stopping altogether," Aronian wrote.
"I did not manage to explain to the new government that chess is a great legacy, that our success in this field is, perhaps, one of the greatest achievements of our country.
"Their response was: "Our experts believe that Levon Aronian no longer has potential."
Aronian went on to reveal that he has now accepted American philanthropist and chess patron Rex Sinquefield's proposal to move to the United States and join grandmaster Fabiano Caruana's team.
Aronian has been the leading Armenian chess player since the early 2000s and is much loved by the public and Armenians worldwide. He won the FIDE World Cup in 2005 and 2017, led the Armenian national team to the gold medals in the Chess Olympiads of 2006 (Turin), 2008 (Dresden) and 2012 (Istanbul) and at the World Team Chess Championship in Ningbo 2011. Aronian won the FIDE Grand Prix 2008–2010. He was also world champion in Chess960 in 2006 and 2007, in rapid chess in 2009, and in blitz chess in 2010. As of February 2021, Aronian is No. 6 in the world, with a FIDE rating of 2781.