Vitiugov was the Russian U18 Champion in 2005 and finished runner-up in the World Junior Championship in 2006 after losing the final game with the white pieces, but his progress has been slow rather than spectacular. He’s had to do things the hard way, playing in six of the seven Russian Championship Superfinals from 2006-2012 only after qualifying through the extremely tough Russian Higher League. His best result in the final was third behind Alexander Grischuk and Peter Svidler in 2009. Early the next year he helped Russia to gold medals in the World Team Championship with a 5.5/6 and 2939 performance on his board. That brought his rating above 2700 for the first time, and in May 2011 he’d achieved a career high of 2733 and no. 15 on the rating list.
His first supertournament invitation followed
later in 2011, but Reggio Emilia proved a true baptism of fire: despite
claiming the scalps of Alexander Morozevich and Vassily Ivanchuk he suffered
six losses and finished rock bottom. It took him time to recover, but in 2013
Vitiugov won the Gibraltar Masters after beating Nigel Short in a play-off.
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