Person of day   -  8 MARCH 2021

ALEXEY KUZMIN

ALEXEY KUZMIN

Alexey Kuzmin was born on 8th March 1963 in Moscow. He was a student of the Perovo chess school. In his younger years, along with chess players like Valery Salov, Jaan Ehlvest and Andrei Sokolov, he often qualified for the finals of the Soviet juniors U20 championship which brought together all the strongest young sportsmen of the Union. He became a master of sport in 1981 and the champion of Moscow in 1986.

In the 1980s, he played for Dynamo and he won several prizes among that sports society. After winning competitive Khodzhaev and Agzamov Memorials in 1987, he fulfilled the criteria for an international master. The young chess player, who was already known for his thorough analysis of debuts, was invited to work with Anatoly Karpov.

In 1988, Alexey split 1st-3rd places in the semi-final of the USSR championship with Gennady Timoschenko and Sergey Gorelov. He came second in the additional match-tournament and qualified for the premier league of the Soviet championship. He won a tournament in Panchevo in 1988 and came second at an international tournament in the Central Chess Club a year later. At the semi-final of the Moscow championship in 1989, which was simultaneously the semi-final of the Soviet championship, Kuzmin came fifth. In 1991, he won an international tournament in Tehran.

Alexey Kuzmin played in the last Soviet championship in 1991, which was organised according to the Swiss system. After 9 rounds, Kuzmin had 5,5 points and no defeats and he was competing for medals, but he lost to Sergey Kiselev. Victory in Oberwart in 1995 brought Kuzmin the title of international grandmaster. Seven years later, he won that tournament once again.

He won two large Swiss tournaments which took place in Benasque in 1998-1999 and he came first in Dubai with Vladimir Akopian in 1999. He played in the qualifiers of the European zone for the premier league of the Russian championship in 2004. At the peak of his career, Kuzmin’s rating reached the 2600 mark. In 2005, he quit performing.

For the last 20 years, the renowned grandmaster, theoretic and trainer has lived in Qatar. He helped ex-world champion Zhu Chen and her husband, the leading chess player in Qatar, Mohamad Al-Modiakhi. From 2006, he has been the trainer-manager of Alexander Morozevich - one of the world’s leading chess players- for several years. He became a FIDE senior trainer in 2004.

Alexey Kuzmin is the author of multiple analytical articles on ChessPro.ru and the popular column Relevant Theory in 64 Magazine. One of his publications predicted the forthcoming match for the world championship between Magnus Carlsen and Wei Yi.

“I am sure that the creation of a miracle, such as the defeat of Bryson, requires more than a happy “correlation of circumstances”- one needs the help of Higher Powers. If that is so, it proves once again that in the chess sphere, a new star is rising from the East, as is meant to be.

…Let us talk about the debuts preferred by Wei Yi and how he constructs his debut repertoire. Even if my prediction for the “future champion” seems unjustified to you, it will not be harmful to examine his style.

The Gruenfeld defence, the Najdorf line and first move e2-e-4 that was Kasparov’s repertoire at the end of the 1980s. But his choice was based on other factors. Relying on his “domestic” preparation, Garry battled for both colours in a “move for move” game and the aforementioned openings suited his approach. In a quarter of a century, the content and status of many systems underwent great changes. Having been tested in actual lines “for the result”, the Gruenfeld defence is no longer a guaranteed forerunner of a large battle and the e2-e4 move not necessarily a sign of a rigorous contest. The Najdorf variantion remains untouched in its status as an uncompromising debut.

The distinctive aspect of Wei Yi’s debut repertoire is its combined approach. With Black, he carries out specific, sometimes forced lines that have been analysed extensively. Here, the influence of computer preparation is immense: he does this, I do that. He goes there, I go here. With White, Wei Yi often prefers a “game of schemes” that is not connected to a precise sequence of moves.” (A. Kuzmin)

He is the author of Together with Morozevich, which was published in Moscow in 2017.