You need to evolve constantly. You need to always reinvent yourself. It’s much more work to stay where you are than it is to get there.
We are a talented country and talented people. I feel that everyday we get a new chance to stand up and say that we are Armenian. [...] I think being Armenian is cool.

Levon Aronian is a chess grandmaster and breakout sportsman-turned-celebrity in his native Armenia, and internationally. Born in Yerevan in 1982, Levon was introduced to chess by his sister at the age of nine. His first coach was Melikset Khachiyan, another Armenian grandmaster, and refugee from Baku who found refuge in Levon’s family home following the outbreak of war with Azerbaijan. In the years immediately after the collapse of the Soviet Union, when blackouts were common, Levon would train for hours by candlelight with Khachiyan. He left school to focus on chess, and by age thirteen Levon was supporting his family with his earnings from tournaments. He became a grandmaster at seventeen. Levon’s playing style has been described as “striking,” “ultra-aggressive,” and “creative” by his peers. He says that an individual's playing style reflects their character and behavior outside the game. Levon is currently ranked first in Armenia and fifth in the world by the World Chess Federation. He has led the Armenian national team to gold in three Chess Olympiads, and holds several national and international titles and championships. The world championship still eludes him, however. “I feel that I’m owing my nation, my country, a lot for their love,” he told the New Yorker in 2017. “We’re always dreaming our days will come, and some justice will be delivered. I feel that this is my duty.”