Eljanov’s chess career has followed an unusual trajectory. He was a relatively slow-starter who only achieved a 2600 rating after turning 20, but six years later he soared to 2761 and world no. 6… only to plunge 80 points and 54 places in the following year. He hasn’t yet managed to cement a place among the world elite, but later successes suggest his rise wasn’t merely an anomaly.
Pavel’s parents were chess players, and in particular his father was an International Master, so he was introduced to the game early on. He had the added advantage that his father was the publisher of Mark Dvoretsky, perhaps the world’s best chess trainer, so Eljanov got to read his famous books in manuscript form.
A seminal event in his chess career came in 2004, when the young grandmaster was a key part (4 wins, 4 draws, a 2766 performance) of the Olympiad winning Ukrainian team. Ukraine won the Olympiad again in 2010, with Eljanov winning a silver medal on his board. That year was an annus mirabilis when he also finished a full point ahead of 13 top players in the Astrakhan FIDE Grand Prix.
He suffered setbacks in the years that followed,
but 2013 saw something of a return to his best form – he won the Reykjavik
Open, the Karpov International in Poikovsky and the Chigorin Memorial to climb
back up the rating list. He remains one of the most popular and
least predictable top players.
Photo: Georgios Souleidis
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