Chess grandmaster Levon Aronian said on Friday he was leaving Armenia and would represent the United States, citing what he said was Armenian officials’ indifference to chess as one of the reasons.

The 38-year-old, who is ranked sixth in the world, announced his decision on his Facebook page. “The past year has been very difficult for all of us with a pandemic and a war. In my case, there was personal adversity and the state’s absolute indifference towards Armenian chess,” he wrote, referring to six weeks of fighting between ethnic Armenian and Azeri forces over the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave.

“I was faced with a choice: quit my job or move to where I am valued,” he wrote.

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Smbat Lputian, deputy head of the Armenian Chess Federation, said he regretted Aronian’s decision. “This is a big loss for…

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