Person of day - 11 FEBRUARY 2024
The future grandmaster was born and raised in Chelyabinsk and his chess mentor was the celebrated Leonid Gratvol, who also trained Anatoly Karpov, Gennady Timoschenko and Alexander Panchenko. In his youth, Sveshnikov trained in a Russian chess school under the guidance of grandmaster Igor Bondarevsky and master Viktor Golenishchev. At the age of 17, he became a master.
After graduating from university in 1972, he worked as an engineer-researcher in the internal combustion faculty and prepared a candidate’s dissertation on The Form of the Combustion Chamber. However, the young man never finished his dissertation because once again chess entered his life in a sovereign manner. In 1973, Evgeny Sveshnikov won in the USSR championship of young masters and received an invitation to the Soviet national championship, which was one of the strongest in history and which was won by Boris Spassky. And then the young master…was conscripted into the army. Evgeny Sveshnikov recalls: “After university, I was given the rank of a junior lieutenant and my military post was the second-in-command of a company in technical issues. I had to be the head of the guard, the officer on duty in the park etc…In order to serve a little less, I obviously travelled to competitions at any opportunity. Two years in the army determined my future chess fate- I became a professional.”
In 1975, E. Sveshnikov won the Union championship devoted to the 30th anniversary of victory in the Great Patriotic War, in 1976 he won again the USSR championship for young masters and in 1977 he was awarded the title of grandmaster. He played in 9 Soviet championships and won the Moscow championship in 1983. As a member of the Soviet national team, he won the juniors’ world championship in 1976 and the European championship in 1977. He was the winner or prize-winner of more than one hundred international tournaments.
For 10 years, he was one of the governors of the Russian Chess School and he went on to govern multiple regional schools; for example, in Satka, in the Chelyabinsk region. As a trainer-second, he aided Anatoly Karpov, Lev Polugaevsky, Alexei Shirov, Alexandra Kosteniuk and trainer the teams of several countries. At Olympiads, he performed for the Latvian team.
He made a sizable contribution to the theory of debuts; in his younger years, he developed and performed the Chelyabinsk version of the Sicilian Defence, which is known as the Sveshnikov Sicilian in the West. He was an author of several monographs on debuts, which are very popular with professional and amateurs, as well as multiple articles. He was an active defender of chess players’ rights, especially the right to intellectual property.
To the last, Evgeny Sveshnikov continued to perform in matches and tournaments: for example, he played friendly matches against Alexey Shirov, Anatoly Karpov, Dana Reizniece-Ozola and Nona Gaprindashvili. He achieved great success in veterans’ competitions; he was the champion of Russian in individual and team rankings, a world and European champion with his national team and in 2017 he won the individual world championship for men over 65.
He had four children- two daughters from his first marriage and two sons from the second. In 2015, with his oldest son Vladimir (an International Master) he wrote A Chess Opening Repertoire for Blitz and in 2017, together with Vladimir, he finished a new edition of a book devoted to the French Defence c 3.e5.
Evgeny Sveshnikov died in Moscow on the 18th of August 2021 due to the consequences of COVID-19.