Person of day   -  18 AUGUST 2023



Vadim Zvjaginsev was one of the strongest chess players in the world at the turn of the millennium. He was born and raised in Moscow. His father Vladimir was a renowned athlete who presided over PE classes at the Mark Dvoretsky School when young Vadim enrolled there. 

Vadim Zvjaginsev: “In 1990, Viktor Glatman presided an admissions round into the Dvoretsky-Jussupow School. In order to participate, one had to commentate for six games and it was preferable that five of them would be lost. I did that, my games were studied and I was admitted. During class, Mark Dvoretsky noticed me and offered to train me individually. We have cooperated for many years- Mark Israilovich was my Teacher. 

It was a very liberating school which everyone dreamed of attending because it had a wonderful atmosphere. We played football during the day and blitz during the night. We went to Mark Dvoretsky’s room and he would feed us with tea and tell us stories. He knew many amazing anecdotes from the Soviet time. The atmosphere of the Soviet chess world was enriched by multiple fables, which Mark was happy to share.”

Success came soon after- Vadim won the European U16 championship. In 1991, the USSR fell apart and there was no time to host a qualifying tournament for Russians, so a match was arranged between Svidler and Zvjaginsev to decide the strongest Russian chess player. The contest was close and finished with a score of 3:3. During preparation, Vadim wrote an entire volume analysing the games of his opponent. 

In 1994, after he split 1stplace at a prestigious tournament in St Petersburg, he was awarded the title of grandmaster. In that same year, the Muscovite won an open tournament in Reykjavik and split 1stplace in Altensteig. 

At an Olympiad in Moscow, Vadim Zvjaginsev played for Russia’s junior team which led for most of the tournament before finishing third. While playing for Russia, he won the 1998 Olympiad and the 1997 world championship. He was a silver medallist at the 2004 Tournament of Nations and a participant in the last Match of the Century in 2002. 

He graduated from Moscow State University’s economics faculty. In 1997, he qualified for the 4thround of the FIDE knockout world championship, where he lost to Alexey Dreev. He played in multiple Superfinals of the Russian championship, he won the 2011 Russian Cup and he was a finalist and semi-finalist of the Russian Cup on several occasions. 

He is one of the most self-fulfilled and creative grandmasters of contemporary times. Vadim Zvjaginsev is the last knight of the King’s Gambit and he is the unexpected author of the knight’s tango of the Sicilian Defence 1.e4 c5 2.Ka3!?. He is the adherent of the lines 1.Kf3 Kf6 2.c4 e6 3.Kc3 Cb4 4.g4!? and 1.e4 c5 2.Kf3 e6 3.b4!?

The captain of St Petersburg chess Vladimir Bykov (who knows Vadim since he won the national championship and was a prize-winner of the European Cup with a team from that city) says that Vadim is a singularly interesting and original interlocutor who is well-versed in classics, who knows everything from un-crowned champions, and who can surprise one with phrases like “I wonder, what is stronger- three queens or eight knights?”