Chess: Aronian takes up ‘Zurich Challenge’ after setbacks

Top Armenian grandmaster Levon Aronian is taking part in a major tournament, the Zurich Chess Challenge, after admittedly underperforming at two competitions he has played in so far this year.

In the tournament in Switzerland Aronian’s rivals are Viswanathan Anand (India), Fabiano Caruana (Italy/USA), Hikaru Nakamura (USA), Vladimir Kramnik and Sergey Karjakin (both Russia).

Over the weekend the Armenian won in the Blitz Tournament in Zurich that determined the colors distribution on the first day of the tournament. As a result, Aronian will play three of the tournament’s five Classical games with white pieces.

The Classical Games stage will take place through February 18, after which the Rapid Games will be played the next day.

So far this year Aronian already participated in two prestigious tournaments. First he finished only 10th among 14 participants at Tata Steel in the Dutch city of Wijk aan Zee in January and then placed fifth at the eight-man tournament in Baden-Baden, Germany, in early February.

Aronian is ranked ninth on the FIDE top player list as of February 1. The 32-year-old grandmaster was number two in the same rankings only as recently as last summer.

For the latest results from the Zurich Chess Challenge visit the tournament’s official website at