Okay well in my opinion Aronian is clearly the number 2 player in the world besides Carlsen. Hes a genuis and his games are amazing. But god where did he come from? I can tell you how all the other top players came about but this guy has such a foggy history.
Anand- hes 40 years old and hes been at the top since the 1990's. Competition with Kasparov and Karpov built this old legend. He was already a prodigy at a young age who blitzed his games.
Carlsen- popped out of norweigh at the age of 8 who was jsut a destined tactical prodigy who was knocking down GM's
Nakamura- through his unorthodox and aggressive play he made it to the top of America through percervierenace
Kramnik- The man to over take Kasparov under his guidence and from the Russian school of Chess.
But Aronian is right at the top with these guys but how?
Just lucky, I guess.
From my understanding Armenia is one of the strongest chess nations in the world. Their chess program was forged by the Soviet Union decades ago, and boomed after Tigan Petrosian became world champion, who was of Armenian decent. They teach chess in their schools as part of their education and it is a popular sport in the nation. They've won the Olympiad in 2006, 2008, and 2012, along with the World team championship in 2011. It isn't uncommon for strong players to rise out of nations where the sport is popular (Russia is a great example).
Great answers KingsEye never thought about that