Alexander Grischuk | best chess players

Alexander Grischuk is a Russian super grandmaster who is regularly among the best players in the world. Although he is an elite professional chess player, Grischuk is well known to be one of the best blitz players. He is a three-time world blitz champion, making him one of two players to have multiple world titles in blitz time controls. The other player is Magnus Carlsen (with four titles), who is widely recognized as one of the greatest chess players of all time.

Don’t assume Grischuk is a blitz specialist, though. He entered the top 20 players in the world in 2002 and since then has remained there for almost the entire period. In fact, most of his time has been in the top 10, and his peak was No. 3 in 2014 when he passed the 2800 ratings threshold. Grischuk participated in four Candidates’ Tournaments and reached the semi-finals of the 2000 FIDE World Chess Championship. He also won the Russian Chess Championship in 2009. As a team for Russia, two of his six medals at the Olympiads are golden, to go along with four out of five gold medals at the World Team Chess Championships.

Youth and early career in chess (1987 to 1999)

At age four, Grischuk learned to play chess from his father. He then received training and mentorship from Mikhail Godvinsky, Maxim Blokh (in 1990-1994) and Anatoly Bykhovsky (since 1995).

Grischuk made the most of his early chess tips. He tied for first place but finished second at the U10 World Championship in 1992. At the Russian Championships throughout the 1990s, Grischuk swept his age group, winning the Under 10, 12 , 14 and 16 years old.

Grischuk at the U10 World Youth Chess Championship in 1992. Photo: G. Hund, CC 3.0.

At the age of 14, Grischuk participated as an FM in his first Russian Chess Championship in 1998, where he scored 5/10 points and finished 44th. Later that year he became MI and was the highest rated player in the U16 section of the World Junior Championships. He turned 15 at the event and the 2490 ranked IM is tied for eighth place.

At the 1999 Chigorin Memorial, Grichuck shared first place with GM Sergey Volkov in the elite tournament held in St. Petersburg, Russia. The field included 39 GMs and Volkov himself became the Russian champion the following year, making Grischuk’s performance in 1999 all the more impressive. The 16-year-old had a performance rating of 2701 in the tournament. In the same year, Grischuk took part in the Russian championship and qualified for the quarter-finals.

Coming out on the world stage (2000 to 2005)

In 2000, Grischuk broke into the world top 100 at the age of 16, where he has remained ever since. He beat the future world champion Ruslan Ponomariov in a tiebreaker to win the 3rd Tórshavn International in 2000 (Grischuk also won the tournament the following year), earning a tournament performance rating of 2821. Grischuk beat Ponomariov again in 2000 in the final of the Lausanne Young Masters to win this event. too. In the same year, he participated in the 34th Chess Olympiad, Grischuk’s first Olympiad, and won gold with Russia to go with individual bronze.

Grischuk’s real story that year was his performance at the 2000 FIDE World Chess Championship. Ranked 2606 and ranked No. 46 in the tournament, Grischuk advanced to the semi-finals of the tournament before being defeated by No. 4 Alexei Shirov (who lost to top-seeded Viswanathan Anand in the final). This cemented her status as the world’s brightest rising star.

Grischuk wasn’t done competing on the world stage. In the 2001 FIDE Rapid Chess World Cup, the 17-year-old 2663-rated phenom made it all the way to the semi-finals before meeting world No. 1 and great Garry Kasparov, who won the test and dominated its competition. And then, two years later, at the 2003 FIDE World Rapid Chess Championship – which featured 11 of the world’s top 12 players – Grischuk, now a 2732-rated junior, advanced to the semi-finals of the tournament before to lose against the current classic. World chess champion Vladimir Kramnik.

This period of Grischuk’s career includes several other notable performances. During the Linares elite tournament in 2001, the young Russian was ranked No. 28 in the world and faced five other players all better ranked than him: Kasparov (No. 1), Peter Leko (No. 5), Shirov (No. 1). 7), Anatoly Karpov (#20) and Judit Polgár (#23). Kasparov won with 7.5/10 points and Grischuk tied with the rest of the star pool at 4.5/10. Grischuk finished second at Wijk aan Zee, another elite event, in 2002. At the 2002 Aeroflot Open, he finished tied for first before Gregory Kaidanov won the event. Also in 2002 was the 35th Chess Olympiad, where Grischuk won his second gold medal with Russia; he played board two behind Kasparov. Grischuk won the Ordix Open 2003 and 2004, as well as the 5th Karpov Tournament in 2004. In 2005, Grischuk won his first World Team Chess Championship gold medal with Russia.

World Blitz Chess Champion (2006 to 2019)

In 2006, Grischuk won the first FIDE World Blitz Championship with a score of 10.5/15. Peter Svidler also finished with the same score and Grischuk won the Armageddon match as Black won the World Championship. The tournament featured seven of the world’s top 20 grandmasters, plus an emerging Magnus Carlsen.

It wasn’t the only time Grischuk won a world blitz championship. In 2012, FIDE changed the structure so that the event was included in the World Rapid and Blitz Championships. Grischuk won the first blitz world championships in 2012 half a point ahead of Carlsen, then won the event three years later in 2015. The three-time blitz world champion has more titles than anyone, except for Carlsen, who has four. They are the only two players to have won multiple world blitz titles.

2009 was a banner year for Grischuk. While at Linares, he participated in the tournament which featured five players rated 2750 and above. Grischuk was the second lowest rated player (2733), but finished ahead of Vassily Ivanchuk, Carlsen and Viswanathan Anand, earning a tournament performance rating of 2809. Later that year, Grischuk won the Russian Championship chess ; he was undefeated in the event. Another note is that in 2009, Grischuk took 1st place in the Superfinal of the Russian Championship, scoring +4=5, ahead of Svidler, Nikita Vitiugov and Evgeny Tomashevsky. It remains to this day his only victory in the event. In total, from 2004 to 2016, he played in seven championships and won three silver and two bronze medals.

In 2011, Grischuk participated in the Candidates Tournament after Carlsen withdrew. The substitute (ranked No. 6 in the tournament) caused quite a stir after beating No. 3 Levon Aronian in the quarter-finals and No. 2 Vladimir Kramnik in the semi-finals, before losing to Boris Gelfand in final. Notably, Grischuk’s two wins came in tiebreakers, where he was able to rely on his fast/blitz abilities to knock out two 2780+ rated favorites. Later that same year, Grischuk reached the final of the FIDE World Cup, beating Alexander Morozevich, Vladimir Potkin, David Navara and Ivanchuk on his way, but he lost to Svidler in the final. This is his best performance in World Cup format. This success allowed Grischuk to qualify for the 2013 Candidates Tournament in London, where he tied the places 5-6 with Gelfand.

Grischuk broke the 2800 point mark in 2014 after finishing ahead of Kramnik, Gelfand and Aronian in the 2014 Petrosian Memorial Tournament. His peak score was 2810 in December 2014. Earlier that year he achieved his highest ever world ranking of No. 3.

In 2017, Grischuk and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov finished top of the FIDE Grand Prix cycle, qualifying them for the 2018 Candidates Tournament. Grischuk had a disappointing performance in the tournament, however, finishing sixth.

Present and future

Grischuk qualified for the 2020 Candidates Tournament by winning the 2019 FIDE Grand Prix. On March 26, 2020, the Candidates Tournament has been postponed due to Russian travel restrictions and the COVID-19 pandemic. At halfway, Grischuk had a score of 3.5/7 and trailed the leaders by one point.

After the tournament resumed, Grischuk won matches against general managers Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Anish Giri, the latter contributing to general manager Ian Nepomniachtchi’s tournament victory. The Russian super grandmaster finished the event in sixth place with a score of 7/14.

Kasparov and Grischuk at Paris Rapid & Blitz 2019
Kasparov and Grischuk at Paris Rapid & Blitz 2019. Photo: Maria Emelianov/

Grischuk is among the best players in the world and continues to be a threat in major tournaments. This is especially the case as many events have introduced blitz tiebreakers and Armageddon games to decide match winners. Grischuk could soon add to an already decorated chess career that includes three world titles in blitz, 11 team medals at the Olympiads and World Team Chess Championships, four Candidates Tournament appearances and several victories in tournaments. ‘elite.

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