- Associated Press - Thursday, September 3, 2015

ST. LOUIS (AP) - A 32-year-old chess player from Armenia is the winner of the internationally renowned competition Sinquefield Cup.

Levon Aronian from Yerevan, Armenia, will receive a $75,000 prize for winning the annual tournament, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (https://bit.ly/1fWVkGJ ) reported. Mayor Francis Slay was on hand Wednesday to help celebrate the competition’s end, thanking the 10 chess players for their participation.

Armenia, once a part of the Soviet Union, was going through an unstable period when Aronian began playing chess at 9 years old. The game became a substitute for school and an endeavor his unemployed parents, both of whom were scientists, could focus on following the Soviet Union’s collapse.

Despite his family’s hardship’s, Aronian was able to study under chess grandmaster Melik Khachiyan, who trained Aronian in exchange for housing.

“It is definitely fun but also a big responsibility,” the 32-year-old said about the game. “I want to play as long as I enjoy it.”

The Sinquefield Cup is a part of the Grand Chess Tour, which includes stops in Norway and London. It’s named after Rex and Jeanne Sinquefield, who were responsible for the creation of the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis.

The center has brought the U.S. Chess Championships to St. Louis, along with the World Chess Hall of Fame.

“Our goal is to create intellectual role models out of these superstars of chess,” said the club’s executive director Tony Rich. He noted that it works with about 100 schools in the region to use chess as an educational tool.


Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, https://www.stltoday.com

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