All eyes will be on the world #4 and top ranked player in the Grand Prix event, GM Levon Aronian from Armenia. One of the two hometown heroes and the man in the driver’s seat to potentially wrap up a berth in the World Championship qualification will be closely followed by his fans in Jermuk. As pleasant as person Aronian is, he is conversely a truly unpleasant opponent for his fellow players: his deep knowledge in several lines off the beaten track coupled with the ability and willingness to steer off the path completely and “just play chess,” Aronian is difficult to prepare against and harder to withstand.
The young Armenian has enjoyed the Grand Prix format to date, scoring two first place finishes in two attempts. Jermuk could be the place where he wraps up a seed in the next world championship cycle, an appropriate achievement on the 80th anniversary of countryman Tigran Petrosian’s birth.