Sergey Karjakin

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Sergey Karjakin
Full name Sergey Alexandrovich Karjakin
Country Ukraine (until 2009)
Russia (since 2009)
Born (1990-01-12) January 12, 1990 (age 26)
Simferopol, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union
Title Grandmaster
FIDE rating 2769 (September 2016)
(No. 8 in the April 2016 FIDE World Rankings)
Peak rating 2788 (July 2011)

Sergey Alexandrovich Karjakin (Russian: Серге́й Алекса́ндрович Каря́кин; Ukrainian: Сергій Олександрович Карякін, Serhiy Oleksandrovych Karjakin; born January 12, 1990) is a Russian (formerly representing Ukraine) chess grandmaster. He is a former chess prodigy and holds the record for the world's youngest Grandmaster, having qualified for this title at the age of 12 years and 7 months.

On March 28, 2016, Sergey Karjakin became the Challenger to Magnus Carlsen in the World Chess Championship 2016 after winning the Candidates Tournament 2016 in Moscow.

Karjakin won the 2012 World Rapid Chess Championship and the Chess World Cup 2015. He also won the Norway Chess Tournament twice (2013, 2014) and the Corus Chess Tournament in 2009.

He has competed in six Chess Olympiads, three times for Ukraine and three times for Russia, winning three gold medals, two silver and a bronze. He won team gold with Russia at the World Team Chess Championship in Antalya in 2013.[1]


Karjakin learned to play chess when he was five years old. He joined the A.V. Momot Club in Kramatorsk and was coached by Vladislav Borovikov,[2][3] becoming an International Master at age 11 years and 11 months. He won the U10 European championship in 1999, and the U12 world championship in 2001. Also in 2001, Karjakin tied for first place in the U14 European championship with Borki Predojević and Rauf Mamedov, taking the silver medal on tiebreak.[4] In January 2002, he was the official second of fellow Ukrainian Ruslan Ponomariov during the final of the FIDE World Championship, though Karjakin had only just turned 12 at the time.

By scoring GM norms at the Aeroflot Open in Moscow, Alushta tournament in May 2002 and Sudak in August 2002, he surpassed Bu Xiangzhi to become the world's youngest grandmaster at the age of 12 years 7 months - a record that still stands.

In 2003, Karjakin won a six-game match against Alexandra Kosteniuk ("Dannemann Classico") in Brissago by a score of 4–2,[5] and tied for second in the Ukrainian championship.[6]

He competed in the 2004 FIDE World Championship in Tripoli, where he lost in the first round to Mikhail Kobalia. Soon after, Karjakin took part in the Dortmund Sparkassen Chess Meeting. Here he defeated the reigning world champion, Vladimir Kramnik, in a blitz game. In October, Karjakin was the only human to win against a computer in the Man vs Machine World Team Championship in Bilbao, Spain, where he was the youngest and lowest rated player, beating Deep Junior. At the 36th Chess Olympiad in Calvià, he was the youngest member of the gold-medal winning Ukrainian team. He also won an individual gold medal thanks to his score of 6½/7 points playing the second reserve board.[7] In December 2004, Karjakin finished second to Boris Gelfand at the Pamplona tournament. In the following month, he won the Group B of the Corus Chess Tournament in Wijk aan Zee, thus qualifying for the 2006 Group A.[8]

Karjakin entered the world's top 100 in the April 2005 FIDE list, at 64th with an Elo rating of 2635. He scored 8½/11 points (+7−3=1) to win the Young Stars of the World tournament held in Kirishi, Russia in May.[9] In July, he tied for third place in the European Individual Championship.[10]

Rise to the top[edit]

In 2006, Karjakin played for the first time in the Wijk aan Zee Corus A tournament, scoring 7/13 points (4 wins, 6 draws, 3 losses).[11] In the same year he took part in the NH Chess Tournament in Amsterdam; it was a match between two teams, "Rising Stars" (made up of Karjakin, Magnus Carlsen, Wang Hao, Daniel Stellwagen, and Jan Smeets) and "Experience" (Alexander Beliavsky, Artur Yusupov, John Nunn, and Ulf Andersson), held with the Scheveningen system. The former won by 28–22.[12] Karjakin played again in this event in 2007 for the team "Rising Stars", which beat "Experience" by 26½-23½. He was the best player having scored 7/10 and this earned him an invitation for the 2008 Amber chess tournament.[13]

In October 2007, Karjakin finished second to Bu Xiangzhi in the Blindfold Chess World Cup in Bilbao, scoring 17 points after five wins, two draws and three losses (the scoring system was 3 points for a win, 1 for a draw and 0 for a loss).[14]

During the Chess World Cup 2007, which served as a qualification tournament for the World Chess Championship 2009, Karjakin reached the semi-finals, in which he lost to Alexei Shirov. On the January 2008 FIDE rating list, published just before Karjakin's 18th birthday, he passed the 2700 mark for the first time, often seen as the line that separates "elite" players from other grandmasters, with a new rating of 2732 and a world rank of 13.

In July 2008, Karjakin convincingly won a rapid chess match against GM Nigel Short 7½–2½.[15] In February 2009 he won his first elite tournament in the A group of the Corus chess tournament in Wijk aan Zee (category XIX) with a score of 8/13.

Later he also won the ACP World Rapid Cup which was conducted from 27 May to 29 May 2010, defeating Dmitry Jakovenko in the final by 4–3.[16]

The next year, Karjakin shared first place (second on tiebreak) with Magnus Carlsen at the Bazna Kings Tournament and third place with Vassily Ivanchuk and Ian Nepomniachtchi in the category 22 Tal Memorial in Moscow.[17][18]

In July 2012, Karjakin won the World Rapid Chess Championship a full point ahead of world number one Magnus Carlsen in Astana, Kazakhstan.[19] In the same month, he also tied for first at Dortmund with Fabiano Caruana but came in second after tiebreak.[20]

In Nov-Dec 2012, Karjakin shared first place with Wang Hao and Alexander Morozevich with 6.5/9 in the FIDE Grand Prix event held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

In March 2014, he finished in second place in the FIDE Candidates Tournament held in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia, behind Viswanathan Anand. His second at the event was former FIDE World Champion Rustam Kasimdzhanov.[21]

In June 2014, Karjakin won the Norway Chess tournament for the second year running. In this tournament he competed against nine other players, six of which were rated in the FIDE top 10.

Karjakin won the Chess World Cup 2015 in dramatic fashion after going down 0-2 to former World Cup Champion Peter Svidler, eventually winning 6-4 in blitz tiebreaks.

In March 2016, Karjakin won the 2016 Candidates Tournament in Moscow and qualified to contend for the title of World Chess Champion against Magnus Carlsen. He defeated American GM Fabiano Caruana in the last round of the tournament to finish with 8,5 out of 14, one point ahead of Caruana and Anand. The final game, a Rauzer Sicilian in which Karjakin sacrified a rook to create a mating attack, was a tense and exciting struggle where Caruana was forced to play for a win as Black due to a worse tie break. The World Chess Championship will take place in November 2016 in New York City. Karjakin's record against Carlsen in classical games is: 1 win, 4 losses, and 16 draws.[22]

Personal life[edit]

Karjakin married Galiya Kamalova in May 2014,[23] and a son was born in late 2015. He was previously married to Ukrainian Woman Grandmaster Kateryna Dolzhikova.[24]

On July 25, 2009, by the decree of the President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev,[25] Karjakin adopted Russian citizenship.[26][27] Later that year he transferred chess federations from Ukraine to Russia,[28] in order to get sponsorship and better coaching. He has lived in Moscow since 2009.[29]

In 2013 he graduated from the Russian State Social University in social pedagogy.[30]

Karjakin considers himself Russian rather than Ukrainian, and supports the 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea (from Ukraine) and Vladimir Putin.[29] He is Orthodox.[31]


  1. ^ "World Team 09 Russia takes gold; China silver". ChessBase. 2013-12-06. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  2. ^ "Chess for All Ages: Karjakin's Early Games". Retrieved 2016-04-26. 
  3. ^ Pein, Malcolm. "Beauty and brains line up at Hastings". Retrieved 2016-04-26. 
  4. ^ Europeo U14. LOTO - Lost Tournaments. Italian Chess Federation. (Italian)
  5. ^ "Sergey Karjakin (13) beats women's vice champion". ChessBase. 2003-02-06. Retrieved 2016-06-01. 
  6. ^ Tournament report January 2004. UKR Champ.Men 2003. FIDE.
  7. ^ "OlimpBase :: Men's Chess Olympiads :: Sergei Karjakin". Retrieved 2016-06-23. 
  8. ^ "Corus 13: Peter Leko wins Wijk aan Zee 2005". ChessBase. 2005-01-31. Retrieved 12 May 2016. 
  9. ^ Misha Savinov (2005-05-31), "Sergey Karjakin, the Wizard of Kirishi", ChessBase
  10. ^ Crowther, Mark (2005-07-04). "TWIC 556: 6th European Individual Chess Championship". The Week in Chess. Retrieved 2016-06-01. 
  11. ^ "Corus R13: Anand and Topalov win Wijk". 2006-01-30. Retrieved 2016-06-23. 
  12. ^ "Amsterdam: Rising Stars beat Experience 28-22". ChessBase. 2006-08-30. Retrieved 2016-06-23. 
  13. ^ "NH Tournament: Rising Stars beat Experience Grandmasters 26½-23½". ChessBase. 2007-09-03. Retrieved 2016-07-13. 
  14. ^ "Bu Xiangzhi wins Blindfold Chess World Cup in Bilbao". ChessBase. 2007-10-21. Retrieved 2016-07-13. 
  15. ^ Kiev Life Rapid: Karjakin beat Short 7.5:2.5, Chessbase, August 7, 2008
  16. ^ Karjakin wins ACP World Rapid Cup, Chessbase, May 29, 2010
  17. ^ "Medias Kings Rd10: Carlsen-Karjakin draw, Carlsen wins Medias 2011". ChessBase. Retrieved 18 January 2015. 
  18. ^ "Carlsen catches Aronian in last round, wins Tal Memorial on tiebreak". ChessVibes. Retrieved 25 November 2011. 
  19. ^ "Karjakin wins the Astana World Rapid Chess Championship". Retrieved 9 July 2012. 
  20. ^ "Fabiano Caruana takes the trophy in Dortmund". Retrieved 2012-07-22. 
  21. ^ "Not Svidler's day - Candidates Tournament 2014". Retrieved 2016-03-31. 
  22. ^ "Magnus Carlsen vs. Sergey Karjakin". CHESSGAMES.COM. Retrieved 29 March 2016. 
  23. ^ Sergey Karjakin Married, May 20, 2014
  24. ^ "Sergey Karjakin and Kateryna Dolzhikova get married". Retrieved 2009-07-26. 
  25. ^ Указ Президента Российской Федерации от 25 июля 2009 года № 856
  26. ^ Karjakin to Play for Russia,, August 1, 2009
  27. ^ Sergey Karjakin takes Russian citizenship, Retrieved on 2009-08-01.
  28. ^ Player transfers in 2009. FIDE.
  29. ^ a b "Russia's Patriotic Chess Star From Crimea Sets His Sights On World Title". Radio Free Europe. (30 March 2016)
  30. ^ "Сергей Карякин: "Я без шахмат жить не могу"" [Sergey Karjakin: "I can't live without chess"] (in Russian). 15 February 2015. Retrieved 3 April 2016. 
  31. ^ "KC-конференция с Сергеем Карякиным". 13 January 2010. Retrieved 3 April 2016. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Bu Xiangzhi
Youngest chess grandmaster ever
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Gata Kamsky
World Rapid Chess Champion
Succeeded by
Shakhriyar Mamedyarov