Evgeny Sveshnikov

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Evgeny Sveshnikov
Sveshnikov Torino 2006.JPG
Sveshnikov at the Turin Olympiad in 2006
Full nameEvgeny Ellinovich Sveshnikov
CountrySoviet Union → Russia
Latvia (2002–2015)
Born (1950-02-11) 11 February 1950 (age 71)
Cheliabinsk, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
TitleGrandmaster (1977)
FIDE rating2478 (May 2021)
Peak rating2610 (January 1994)

Evgeny Ellinovich Sveshnikov (Russian: Евгений Эллинович Све́шников; Latvian: Jevgēņijs Svešņikovs; born 11 February 1950) is a Russian chess player and writer. He was awarded the title of Grandmaster by FIDE in 1977.[1]

Chess career[edit]

Sveshnikov played in his first USSR Chess Championship when he was 17 years old. He was awarded by FIDE the titles International Master in 1975 and Grandmaster in 1977.

In earliest international competition he was a joint winner at Decin 1974, shared first place (with Lev Polugaevsky) at Sochi 1976 and won category 8 tournaments at Le Havre 1977 and Cienfuegos 1979. At Novi Sad in 1979, he shared second prize with Efim Geller behind Florin Gheorghiu. At Wijk aan Zee in 1981, he shared 3rd place and in 1983, was joint champion of Moscow. Sveshnikov won the Latvian Chess Championship in 2003 and 2010. In 2017, Sveshnikov won the 65+ section of the World Senior Chess Championship.[2]

Evgeny Sveshnikov (1981)

In team competitions, he played on the gold medal-winning Soviet team in the 1976 World Student Team Chess Championship, and was selected as a reserve for the Soviet side participating at the 1977 European Team Chess Championship in Moscow. Although only an international master at the time, he registered a score of 80%, winning individual and team gold medals. He represented Latvia at the Chess Olympiads of 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2010, and at the European Team Championship in 2011. In 2016 he was the top board of the gold medal-winning Russian team in the 65+ section of the World Senior Team Championship.[3]

A critic of the system[edit]

GM Sveshnikov in 2005

Known as one of the most outspoken and controversial grandmasters on the circuit, Sveshnikov has in recent years been linked with player revolts over the handing in of gamescores. It is accepted practice that players submit copies of their gamescores to tournament organisers and these games later appear on the internet, in books, magazines and in database programs. Whilst the benefits to the development and popularisation of chess are obvious, Sveshnikov insists that it is not in the best interests of chess professionals to allow this to continue.[4]

Most fundamentally, it is very difficult for chess players to earn a living; he speaks of many chess players in Russia and the Baltic States suffering severe depression and in some cases committing suicide. Georgy Ilivitsky, Alvis Vītoliņš, Karen Grigorian, Lembit Oll and Alexey Vyzmanavin are prominent examples.[citation needed]

He contends that gamescores are the labours and intellectual property of the two players concerned and therefore copyright permissions and royalty fees should apply. It is morally corrupt, he argues, that only authors, editors and owners of Chess Publishing Houses profit from the publication of gamescores. Effectively, players are even prevented from producing an exclusive book of their own best games as an investment for their retirement. He has also questioned the wisdom of handing over such detailed information to future opponents, who will utilise databases to improve their chances of victory, regardless of original thought or chess-playing ability.[5]

The theoretician[edit]

a8 black rook
c8 black bishop
d8 black queen
e8 black king
f8 black bishop
h8 black rook
a7 black pawn
b7 black pawn
f7 black pawn
g7 black pawn
h7 black pawn
c6 black knight
d6 black pawn
f6 black knight
b5 white knight
e5 black pawn
e4 white pawn
c3 white knight
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
c2 white pawn
f2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
h2 white pawn
a1 white rook
c1 white bishop
d1 white queen
e1 white king
f1 white bishop
h1 white rook
The Sveshnikov Variation after 6...d6

It is, however, the work that Sveshnikov did with his close friend Grandmaster Gennady Timoshchenko during the 1960s and 1970s that bears greatest testimony to his chess achievements.

Previously known as the Lasker-Pelikan variation of the Sicilian Defence, Sveshnikov's system was considered of dubious merit until he transformed it into an exciting and fully playable opening. The balance between winning and losing is often on a knife edge, making it an attractive proposition for black players seeking the full point. Mark Taimanov, in an interview, described it as chess opening theory's "last great discovery". That it is now regularly played by the world's leading grandmasters lends credence to this view. Vladimir Kramnik and Valery Salov are regarded as expert practitioners of the Sicilian Sveshnikov (categorised by the moves 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 - the Sveshnikov 'proper' continuing 6.Ndb5 d6), but Kasparov, Shirov, Leko and Khalifman have also enjoyed success with it. Moreover, Magnus Carlsen employed this opening several times during the World Chess Championship 2018 match with Fabiano Caruana. The opening is rich in its tactical possibilities and despite being subjected to deep analysis, continues to flourish with new ideas being regularly unearthed. Sveshnikov has authored a comprehensive book on this variation, modestly titled The Sicilian Pelikan.

He has also been a pioneer in the development of the Advance Variation of the French Defence and of the Alapin Variation of the Sicilian Defence.

Personal life[edit]

His son, Vladimir Sveshnikov, is a chess player with the title of International Master.

Notable games[edit]


  1. ^ Sveshnikov, Evgeny, ratings.fide.com
  2. ^ "27th World Senior Chess Championship – Winners". Chessdom. 2017-11-22. Retrieved 2018-01-07.
  3. ^ Schulz, André (2016-07-05). "World Seniors: Germany and Russia win". ChessBase. Retrieved 2016-07-29.
  4. ^ "Evgeny Sveshnikov turns sixty", ChessBase, 2010-02-13
  5. ^ Interview with GM Evgeny Sveshnikov, interviews.chessdom.com, 2010-06-18

External links[edit]