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Levon Aronian's wife WIM Arianne Caoili is no more (1986-2020)

by Sagar Shah - 31/03/2020

The chess world experienced a huge blow when on 31st of March 2020, Arianne Caoili passed away after a road accident and fighting for 15 days at the Astghik Medical center. Arianne was an excellent chess player with the highest Elo of 2309 and WIM title. In 2017, she tied the knot with Levon Aronian. Apart from being a chess player, Arianne was a visionary, social worker, political advisor, MD at a strategy consultant firm, dancer, boxer, mountain climber, biker and excelled at just about everything she did. Her death at the age of 33 comes as a huge shock. 

On 15th of March Arianne Caoili's Lexus R350 crashed into a supporting column under the bridge near the intersection of Sebastia Street and Isakov Avenue in Yerevan, Armenia.

The car after the crash | Photo: en.armradio

She was in a critical condition and brought in the intensive care unit of the Astghik Medical Centre. She fought hard for nearly 15 days, but on 31st of March passed away.

Arianne Caoili died at the tender age of just 33 years

Born in Manila, Philippines, Caoili began playing chess at the age of six years. On 22 December 2000, she won the Asian girls under 16 championship in Bagac, Philippines. The following year, she scored 5½/9 points in the strong Conca Della Presolana tournament in Italy. In the FIDE rating list of October 2002, Caoili achieved her peak rating of 2309. In 2004 Caoili transferred chess federations to represent Australia. In 2009, she won the London Chess Classic Women's Invitational tournament with a score of 8/9, two points ahead of the runner-up. In the same year, Caoili won the Oceania Women's Zonal Championship and as a result qualified to play in the Women's World Championship 2010. However, in this competition she did not show up. Caoili played for the Philippines in the Women's Chess Olympiad in 1998 and 2000. She represented Australia in the same competition in 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2012. (Information from Wikipidea)


Although chess was one of the most important aspects in her life, and she became a WIM and also a 2300+ player, it wasn't the only thing in which Arianne excelled. She was the managing director of Akron, a strategy consulting firm. She was also in the team of advisors to the head of Armenian government. She founded and managed one of the biggest newspapers in Armenia — Champord Weekly — which is distributed on public transport for free. In 2018, Arianne did something truly special. In order to raise funds for child education and donate it to Children of Armenia Fund, she decided to bike 2000 kilometres from city of Ayas in Cilicia to Agarak located on the Armenian-Iranian border. Her aim was to raise US$ 5,500, which she exceeded by collecting US$6,016 in two weeks.

Arianne Caoili speaks about why she was donating the amount to COAF

Arianne with the Armenian flag on the road trip | Photo: ChessBase

Arianne spoke several languages fluently, and had studied for a Ph.D. at a German university on "Russian foreign policy, especially its economic and business relations with Armenia on a state and individual level". She was a wonderful dancer and always tried to excel at everything that she did, be it dancing, boxing or mountain climbing.

Arianne was also into boxing

Arianne's concept was always to have tough goals in front of herself, which would challenge her and stretch her limits. No matter how tough the path would be, she always took pain and difficulty in her stride to build her mental toughness. This was also the reason why one of her key ambitions was to spread chess among girls at a global level. According to her, chess builds mental toughness and is an ideal tool to empower young girls.


Arianne and Levon Aronian first met in 1996, at the World Youth Chess Championships in Las Palmas, and became friends in 2006, being introduced by their mutual friend Alex Wohl. They got officially engaged in 2015 and got married on 30 September 2017 at the 13th-century Saghmosavank Monastery, with Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan and his wife Rita Sargsyan in attendance.

Levon Aronian tied the knot with Arianne just two days after he won the World Cup 2017 | Photo: Champord weekly

When Aronian had managed to beat Ivanchuk at the Quarter-finals of the World Cup 2017, Arianne had driven for over 500 kilometres from Yerevan to Tbilisi to meet her to-be husband and spend the weekend supporting him.

A high-five after winning the crucial match against Ivanchuk | Photo: Amruta Mokal
Interview with Arianne Caoili at the World Cup 2017

In the same World Cup, Aronian was wearing these shoes. When we asked him about the secret of the same, he said, "It was gifted to him by Arianne!" | Photo: Amruta Mokal

When Tata Steel Chess India 2018 took place Aronian visited India together with Arianne | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Levon Aronian's Instagram post on 30th of September 2019: "Happy anniversary my sweet wifey! Spending every day with you is the biggest reward for the right moves in life! Mahal na mahal kita."

Moments after Aronian won the superbet rapid and blitz Grand Chess Tour | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Arianne was an overachiever. She was a go-getter. The things she achieved at the age of 33 years is what most people wouldn't be able to do in a lifetime. The world has lost an intelligent, beautiful, talented, hard working and a loving soul. As they say, life is not measured by the number of breathes you take, but by the moments that take our breath away. And Arianne lived many such moments. We will miss you, Arianne.




More links:

Arianne's wikipidea page

Aronian and Arianne tie the knot

Arianne's bike tour

Aronian and Arianne play a friendly game of blitz
Interview by Maurice Ashley in Zagreb Croatia, 2019
Arianne and Aronian wedding | video by Alisa Studio
Arianne thanks the teacher who touched her life

Some of Arianne's best chess games:

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