Person of day - 12 JANUARY 2024
The future super-grandmaster was born on 12th January 1990 in Crimea’s capital, Simferopol. He began to take an interest in chess at six and completed the requirement for first-class junior sportsman just one year later. His chess development progressed rapidly: at the age of 12 years and 211 days he became the youngest chess grandmaster in history. Due to this achievement, Karjakin is mentioned in the Guinness Book of Records.
Sergey is not only the youngest grandmaster, but is also the youngest trainer- at the age of 12, he was already a member of Ponomarev’s team of assistants when Ruslan won the title of FIDE world champion. The wunderkind performed the role of “tactical trainer” even though he was always noted for a universal playing style. From childhood, Karjakin played “proper chess” and developed different positions equally, whether they were technical or irrational.
In 2010, the young and promising grandmaster transferred from the Ukrainian federation to the Russian one and moved to Moscow. Soon after, Karjakin began to train with Yury Dokhoian and Alexander Motylev. During the last few years, he has come to the forefront of the world’s leading grandmasters. On his count are victories in tournaments of the highest quality, such the super-tournaments in Wijk aan Zee in 2009, the Tal Memorial in Moscow in 2010, the super-tournament in Bazna in 2011 and a round of the FIDE Grand Prix in Tashkent in 2012 as well as others. In the summer of 2012 in Astana, he won the title of world champion in blitz chess. Sergey Karjakin is firmly in the top ten players of the world and can be viewed as a favourite in any competition.
Sergey is a sociable, friendly and open man who is also an exceptionally experienced and formidable team player. As a member of the Ukrainian team, he was the Olympic champion in 2004 and, as a member of the Russian team, he won silver at the 2010 and 2012 Olympiads. In 2012, Sergey became the Russian champion as part of team “Tomsk-400”, showing the bets individual result at the first board. In 2013, Karjakin won the super-tournament in Stavanger, overtaking the “host” Magnus Carlsen. Right at the end of 2013, Sergey became the world champion as a member of the Russian team and he showed a spectacular performance at the World Mind Sports Games in Beijing.
Thanks to his consistently-high rating, Sergey won an invitation to the candidates’ tournament in 2014. The debutant made a poor start to the qualifying rounds, but he found his form in the second round- he won three matches and, along with four draws, took second place. Later, Karjakin became the Russian champion as a member of his new club, “Malahit”, where he performed at the first board. Next, he won a second victory at the super-tournament in Norway; Sergey Karjakin won 6 points out of 9 and took first place, overtaking world champion Magnus Carlsen, Alexander Grischuk, Levon Aronian and other grandmasters of the highest class. Sergey devoted this victory to his wife, Galiya: the young couple married shortly before the tournament, in May 2014.
In 2015, Sergey Karjakin won the silver medal at the Russian championship, and then he became the World Cup winner, beating his compatriot Peter Svidler in a dramatic final. Both Russian grandmasters won invitations to the candidates’ tournament. At the end of 2015, Sergey and Galiya had a son.
The candidates’ tournament in the Russian capital in March 2016 finished with Sergey Karjakin’s total triumph, whereby he won the right to an individual match against Magnus Carlsen through his victory at the finish against Fabiano Caruana. The match for the world championship took place in November 2016 in New York and its intensity led to a true chess boom in Russia. The “main time” finished with a 6:6 draw (after victory in the 8th match the candidate took the lead, but the champion fought back in the 10th match) and in the tie-break Carlsen won 3:1 and retained his title.
At the very end of 2016, Karjakin became the world blitz champion: at the tournament in Qatar, he split 1-2 place with Carlsen, but he beat the Norwegian grandmaster through additional results.
In March 2018, Sergey Karjakin shared 2-3 places at the FIDE Candidates Tournament in Berlin. He started not well, having scored 1 point in four rounds, but then won four games, including the one against the future winner Fabiano Caruana. Karjakin and Caruana were splitting 1-2 places two rounds before the finish, but Karjakin made two draws, while Caruana won both games to win the tournament and to qualify for the World Championship Match against Magnus Carlsen.
In March 2017, Sergey Karjakin became a member of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation of the Sixth Convocation. He is a member of the Commission on the Healthcare, Physical Culture, and Promotion of Healthy Style of Life. He was Vladimir Putin's agent during the Presidential elections in 2018.
In 2019, Sergey became the world champion as a member of the Russian national team. In 2020, Karjakin won the silver medal at the Russian Championship Superfinal. In August 2021, Karjakin became the FIDE World Cup finalist and qualified for the 2022 FIDE Candidates Tournament.
Grandmaster issues chess books for children together with Ekaterina Volkova. He actively participates in the development of youth chess by opening chess schools under his name in several Russian regions.
Sergey and his wife Galiya have two sons - Alexey and Mikhail.