Person of day - 12 MARCH 2023
Teimour was born in Baku, where he lives to this day. Teimour’s father Boris Sheynin played at the level of a strong Soviet regional champion who went to Baku’s Pioneers’ Palace with a young Garry Kasparov. Later, he became his son’s first trainer. Teimour learned to play at 4 and won the image of one of the most remarkable wunderkinds in chess history. The young Azerbaijani consecutively won five European and world championships in junior categories before sensationally winning first place at the Kasparov Cup, where he faced far older opponents. Inspired by his own success, 12 year-old Radjabov competed at the U18s European championship and won again, thus attaining the title of international master.
The rising star of Azerbaijani chess soared into the sky when he became a grandmaster at the age of 14 years and 14 days and his rating neared 2600. His new mentor was the celebrated special Zurab Azmaiparashvili. Teimour came second at the Najdorf Memorial in Buenos Aires, overtaking Judit Polgar and Nigel Short and finishing behind Anatoly Karpov. Next, he qualified for the final of Moscow Rapid Grand Prix. The young talent consecutively beat Peter Svidler, Vladimir Akopian, Vassily Ivanchuk and Alexander Beliavksy, losing only to Garry Kasparov. For this achievement, the 15 year-old boy was included in the world team for the March of the Century and the youngest participant played well against the Russians, winning 5 points out of 10.
In 2003, a sensation occurred: Teimour Radjabov not only broke into the elite ranks of chess after playing spectacularly at several super-tournaments and defeating Ruslan Ponomariov, Veselin Topalov and Viswanathan Anand, but he even defeated Garry Kasparov himself while playing with black pieces in Linares. Teimour’s class mate was so distraught with his loss that he refused to shake his opponent’s hand and started a scandal at the closing ceremony, where the Kasparov-Radjabov match was declared the tournament’s greatest.
A year later, Azerbaijan’s leading chess player performed wonderfully at FIDE’s knockout world championship in Libya, but he lost to Michael Adams. After that, Teimour Radjabov continued to rise in FIDE’s rating list while he won a prestigious tournament in Dos Hermanos, split 1st place in Wijk aan Zee and FIDE’s Grand Prix in Elista and won the European team championship in Novi Sad. After a successful performance at a stage of the Grand Prix, he qualified for the candidates’ matches in Kazan in 2011, where he lost the battle after a tragic tie-breaker against Vladimir Kramnik.
The 2013 Candidates Tournament in London was unsuccessful for Teimour and he experienced a certain decline hereafter. However, Radjabov’s many fans believe that he will return to the fight for the world crown. Interestingly enough, a renowned fortune-teller noted that the age gap between Anatoly Karpov and Garry Kasparov, between Kasparov and Vladimir Kramnik and between Kramnik and Radjabov was 12 years, so the grandmaster from Baku will certainly become a world champion.
In October 2019, Teimour Radjabov won the FIDE World Cup in Khanty-Mansiysk to qualify for the Candidates Tournament. Unfortunately, Teimour didn't take part in this key chess event since he had asked FIDE to postpone the tournament due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the organisation refused to do it.
Teimour Radjabov is a goodwill ambassador for UNESCO. He is married to the daughter of the vice-president of Azerbaijan’s state oil company Elnara Nasyrova and in 2013 they had a daughter.