The quietly spoken Englishman has spent two decades at the top of world chess employing a unique manoeuvring style which caused Garry Kasparov to nickname him “spiderman” for his ability to weave a web around his opponents. Michael (Mickey) was a prodigy who learned chess at six and was good enough as a 9-year-old to play in the Under 9, 13, 15 and 18 Cornwall County Championships in the same year, playing the latter two simultaneously in different rooms. He was the world’s youngest IM when he claimed that title at 15, and went on to become a GM two years later, when he also won his first British Championship. He first reached the Top 10 in 1996 and peaked at no. 4 and a 2755 rating during 2000.
Adams’ best achievements include joint firsts with Kramnik and Svidler in Dortmund 1998 and with Kamsky and Karpov in Dos Hermanas 1995. Dos Hermanas was also the site of his greatest tournament triumph, when he finished clear first in 1999 ahead of an all-star line-up that included Kramnik, Topalov, Karpov and Anand. His best results, however, have perhaps been reserved for the World Championship cycle, and particularly the FIDE knockouts where his strong nerves and rapid chess skills proved crucial. He had a near miss in 1998 when he battled his way through five mini-matches in the competition to challenge Karpov for the title only to eventually lose a deciding Armageddon game to Anand. It was a similar story in the 2004 FIDE World Championship final, where Adams lost to Kasimdzhanov in a rapid tiebreak after tying the classical match.
Adams has recently joined Boris Gelfand in
proving that age is no barrier in chess. He crowned a successful 2013 with a
stunning 2925 performance in Dortmund, finishing with 5 wins and 4 draws to
leave even Vladimir Kramnik trailing in his wake.