Person of day - 22 MARCH 2023
Andrey Esipenko was born on the 22nd of March 2002 in the Rostov region. He made his first steps in chess during his childhood in Rostov-on-Don, where he was trained by N. Petrushina, E. Khliyan, and A. Kornukov.
His breakthrough came in 2012, when Andrey began to train with grandmaster Dmitry Kryakvin. Esipenko won a medal at the Russian Youth Championship and triumphed at the European Youth Championship in his age group, where he scored 8,5 points out of 9. The wunderkind quickly made a name for himself by achieving successes at adult tournaments; he won the Spartakiad of Southern Russia, where he played against 17 year-olds. However, later on a long discussion took place among the Board of the Chess Federation of Russia about whether the Ministry of Sport should allow him to play in the final, because he was too young.
Soon after, Andrey began to work closely with a private company, A DAN&DZO, which would go on to sponsor him for several years. During this period, he won several Russian youth championships and took medals at European and World Youth Championships, as well as the World U16 Youth Olympiad. He once even won a quadbike during in the tournament, where he beat Nona Gaprindashvili in the final.
Towards the end of 2016, Andrey began to represent ProfChessClub- a project of Sergey Nesterov, which united talented chess players from Russia and the near-abroad in a single organisation. As part of this program, Esipenko was coached by celebrated grandmasters such as Sergey Shipov, Alexey Dreev, and Boris Gelfand, while the chess player’s family was given an apartment in Khimki (Moscow region).
Andrey made significant progress: he finally won the European and World Youth Championships in the same year, having previously split 1st place with inferior tiebreak. He also became a grandmaster with a rating close to 2600. At the 2017 World Rapid Championship, Andrey Esipenko won a game against Sergey Karjakin with many sacrifices, which earned a place in most textbooks on chess tactics.
While playing for the national youth team, Andrey won against Team USA. He is one of the authors of the historic victory of the Princes over Kings in the Nutcracker match-tournament of the generations. Esipenko made his debut for the Russian national team in the match against China in 2018. In Russian Blitz and Rapid Championships held that year, Andrey finished right behind the prize-winners.
He took part in the show I Can, where he demonstrated a remarkable memory for chess and he was a guest of Viacheslav Fetisov in the Star TV channel alongside other players of the national youth team. After the closure of the ProfChessClub, he continued to play for the Moscow region.
At the 2018 European Rapid Championship, Andrey split 1st place with Valery Popov, but finished second due to additional criteria. He did, however, obtain the title of a Russian grandmaster. Andrey Esipenko finished second at the B tournament of the Tata Steel Chess in 2019, only behind Vladislav Kovalev.
In 2019, the grandmaster reached new highs. Esipenko qualified for the World Cup from the European Championship, where hebeat Ruslan Ponomariov before losing to Peter Svidler. Andrey played well once again at the Russia-China match and in the Nutcracker. He also split 1st place in Gibraltar in 2020, but lost to David Paravyan on tiebreak. Esipenko’s rating neared 2700. At the 2020 Candidates Tournament, Andrey was a second to his friend Kirill Alekseenko.
During the quarantine year, Andrey won the FIDE Online Olympiad with the Russian national team, qualified for the Superfinal of the national championship and came third at the super tournament in Wijk aan Zee, where he played against the world’s leading chess players and defeated Magnus Carlsen. For that, Esipenko was presented with an apartment in his native Rostov-on-Don.
Andrey made it to the 1/8 final of the FIDE World Cup in Sochi in 2021, where he lost to the world champion in a spectacular tie-break. Having won the second FIDE Online Olympiad with the national team, Espenko consolidated his success in online chess by winning against Magnus Carlsen in the first event of the 2022 Meltwater Champions Chess Tour, where he lost to Ian Nepomniachtchi only in the semi-final.