Person of day - 13 APRIL 2021
Konstantin Sakaev’s name is known to dozens of young Russian stars and their parents. For the last five years, the celebrated specialist has worked with Russia’s junior team, where he participated in the training of talented young players who went on to achieve great things, such as winning prizes in European and world championships in their age categories.
Sakaev began his chess path in Leningrad’s Pioneers’ Palace under the experienced guidance of Vyacheslav Shishmarev. Later on, he worked with Andrey Lukin, like Peter Svidler. Sakaev regularly played for the USSR in world junior championships, as well as winning world U16 and U18 championships. He won the Leningrad and St Petersburg championships several times.
In the 1990s, Konstantin Sakaev became one of the leading grandmasters in the country; at the 1994 Olympiad, he made his debut in Russia’s second team, which went on to win bronze. Soon afterwards, Konstantin won two gold medals at Tournament of Nations in 1998 and 2000 while playing for the first Russian team. He won the national championship in 1999, the Russian Cup in 2006 and five Russian team championships. He split 1stplace at the 2007 European championship.
Konstantin proved himself to be a brilliant coach early on when he trained Nana Ioseliani before her match for the world crown against Xie Jun in 1993. Later on, he helped Vladimir Kramnik, Alexander Khalifman and Evgeny Alekseev. He wrote several popular books on the opening theory, including a two-volume piece on the Slav Defence. The last of his works was written with Konstantin Landa as co-author and titled Chess Strategy Textbook.
“Konstantin Sakaev, the grandmaster from St Petersburg, is renowned for his unstoppable prowess when playing white” wrote Sport Expressat the turn of the millennium. The same can now be said for his pupils in Russia’s junior team. Sakaev holds regular webinars that are open to all, which have proven to be very popular. He works as one of the coaches at the chess section at Sirius.