Person of day   -  22 JUNE 2020

EVGENIY NAJER

EVGENIY NAJER

Evgeniy learned to play chess when he was four and he was considered one of the most promising players in Russia, which he proved when he won the country’s junior championship. In 1991, he won the final Soviet White Rook tournament with Moscow’s school No 962. In 1994, a young Evgeniy created a sensation when he split 1st place at the Moscow Open, overtaking many celebrated chess players. Najer was trained by a respected mentor, Alexander Bodisko, who founded the Etude school but, alas, passed away in that same summer of 1994. 

Evgeniy Najer: “I consider my playing style to be closely connected with Alexander. He had his own approach and he viewed chess from his own angle. Alexander analyzed each tournament, disparaging all and sundry. It was rather frightening and no one had the courage to say a word. But he continued to argue, even when he was wrong. I have a clearer memory of a critical Alexander, even though he praised us just as much!”

In 1996 and 1998, Evgeniy won the most well-known Swiss tournament of those times, which was held in the Czech city of Pardubice, and he finished his career in junior chess with victory at the U21s Russian championship. He was the champion of Moscow in 1998 and 2003; in 1999, the FIDE Congress awarded him the title of grandmaster. 

He won tournaments in Bor and the Chigorin Memorial in 2000, Corinth and Tolyatti in 2001, New Jersey in 2002, Capelle-la-Grande in 2004, Moscow Open in 2007, Philadelphia in 2008 and 2009 and a rapid tournament in Netanya in 2009. He also reached the final of the Russian Cup in 2000, 2006 and 2008 and played in four World Cups, in 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2013. As a member of the Russian team, he won a match against China in 2006. Lastly, he played in the Superfinal of the Russian championship in that same year.  

Throughout his career, he has been a wonderful team player. He won two Russian team championships with SHSM-64, came second at several Russian championship with Norilsk Nickel, TPS, SHSM-64 and Nashe Nasledie and won bronze medals with Gazovik, TPS and SHSM-64. In these Russian team championships, he won the individual competition for his board five times. He also won bronze medals at European Cups with Gazovik and SHSM-64 and in 2006, he was the best player on his board in individual rankings. 

He was second to Gata Kamsky in his match against Veselin Topalov and during the last few years, he is one of the coaches of the Russian national women’s chess team. He is a FIDE Senior Trainer, but his workload as trainer did not prevent him from winning the 2015 European championship in style. Another breakthrough came in 2016, when he won the Aeroflot Open and earned the right to play in a super tournament in Dortmund. In 2017, he split 1st-2nd place in Poikovsky and became a prize-winner of the Russian team championship with Moscow’s team. 

He is married to Anna Potkina, grandmaster Vladimir Potkin’s sister, and he has a daughter named Diana.