Sergey Karjakin (2547) – Alexandra Kosteniuk (2456), 2003.02.04, 1-0, Dannemann Match (Round 4), Brissago SUI
Sergey Karjakin has proven himself to be one of the strongest contemporary chess grandmasters today. A child prodigy, he held the record for the youngest chess grandmaster when he obtained the title at 12 years 7 months.
Karjakin has numerous tournament titles to his name, starting as early as 1999 when he won the European U10 Chess Championship. He represented Ukraine at the Chess Olympiad in 2004, where he won individual and team gold.
Recently Karjakin finished second in the 2014 Candidates Tournament and won the 2016 Candidates Tournament. This earned him the right to challenge Magnus Carlsen for the World Chess Championship.
They finished the standard games tied at 6-6 before Magnus retained his crown by winning the rapid tie-break.
Karjakin finished second in the 2021 World Cup this year after losing to GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda in the finals. There’s little doubt Sergey Karjakin will continue to impress and delight chess fans for many years.
Learn more about this powerful player in the interview below.
Text Interview with Sergey Karjakin
When did you learn chess and who taught you?
I started to play chess when I was 5 and my father was my first teacher.
When did you begin playing tournaments and how did you do?
I went to chess club at 6 and slowly started to participate in tournaments. At the beginning it was not easy, but very quickly I started to improve and win tournaments!
When did you begin making legitimate progress in your game and How?
I became Ukraine and European champion under 10, when I was 9. It was
probably my first big victories.
Can you recall a specific turning point?
I won against my first chess coach when I was 7, and I felt very happy at
What are your top book recommendations for beginner to intermediate players?
It is always important to learn the books of all world champions. I liked Alechjin the most and I learned a lot from his books!
What are your top book recommendations for advanced players?
Books of Kasparov, Dorfman, Dvoretsky and for the 2500+ – Kasparyan.
How did you become a GM?
I worked a lot with many different chess coaches, with father, alone with computer. It was result of big work and young chess players have to understand that with out big work it is impossible to became GM.
How does preparation and study vary among players of different levels?
Professional chess players mostly work on the openings, but at the beginning young chess players have to study endgame, and middlegame as well.
What is next in your chess career?
My dream is to become world champion. At the moment I am 4th in the world and I still have something to improve.
Nature or Nurture: Do you think top chess players are born with a natural ability/gift or do they become so talented through hard work and the right environment?
I think that top chess players are both talented and hard-worker. It is impossible to become top, with out this 2 things.
How do you feel about cheating in chess? (specific deterrents/punishments?)
Chess is game for gentlemen and I hate cheaters. They should be punished, for example on 5 years.
Who is your favorite player and why?
I don’t have idol and I try to improve my own play in order to be the best!
How to be a Grandmaster Series
People always want to know how Grandmaster’s achieved the extraordinary feat of becoming a GrandMaster. I noticed most Grandmaster interview’s focus more on recent and upcoming tournament’s and do not focus on how they became a GrandMaster.
Talent and hard work but what else?
While most people assume that becoming a GrandMaster is simply a formula of natural talent and hard work, we’ve discovered there is more to the secret formula. Our interview series hopes to unlock these “GrandMaster Secrets” so we can learn to not only work harder, but smarter as well.
Video interviews, Audio interview and more
Our GrandMaster Interview series includes both audio and video interviews on our YouTube as well as text interviews with corresponding games on our site. We hope you enjoy these grandmaster interviews. Comments are appreciated and if you have questions you’d like to ask future grandmasters, let us know.