Levon Aronian, born Oct 6, 1982, is a Grandmaster (2001) from Armenia. He learned chess at the age of 9. In 1994, he won the World Under-12 Chess Championship with an 8 out 9 score. He won the 2002 World Junior Chess Championship, held in Goa, India. In 2003, he won the Chess960 (Fischer Random) open in Mainz. He won the 2005 FIDE World Knockout Chess Championship (FIDE World Cup), held in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia. He defeated former world champion Ruslan Ponomariov in the final knockout round. In 2006, he took first place at Linares. In August, 2006, he won the Chess960 World Championship. His highest Elo rating has been 2761, ranked 3rd in the world. In May 2007, he defeated world champion Vladimir Kramnik in a rapid chess match. In 2007, he defeated Magnus Carlsen and Alexey Shirov in the Candidates matches to qualify for the 2007 World Chess Championship in Mexico City. On the July 2007 FIDE list, his Elo rating is 2750, ranked #8 in the world.