chess24 author Peter Svidler was once described by Mark Glukhovsky, editor of Russia’s top chess magazine, as an exception who could “get by on genius alone” in a world of ultra-competitive and hard-working grandmasters. He won the last ever USSR Junior Championship back in 1991 and the U18 World Championship in 1994, but he really made a name for himself by winning the adult Russian Championship as an 18-year-old in the same year. Since then he’s claimed that title another seven times, most recently in 2011, 2013 and 2018. In 2011 he also went on to achieve perhaps the greatest success of his career to date by winning the World Cup in Khanty-Mansiysk. In 2015 he was a few moves away from repeating that achievement, though he ultimately lost the Baku World Cup final to Sergey Karjakin.
Svidler has shown an ability to focus at crucial moments and finished in joint second place with Viswanathan Anand behind Veselin Topalov at the 2005 World Championship tournament in Argentina. He again impressed in the 2013 London Candidates, where a fine victory against Magnus Carlsen in the last round saw him snatch third place. A year later in Khanty-Mansiysk Peter was even more fired up to stake a claim for a match against now World Champion Carlsen, but perhaps that worked against him. A good start was spoiled by "unforced errors" that saw the Russian Champion finish in 6th place, with three wins and four losses.
At the chessboard Svidler is a superb tactician and an
acknowledged expert on the Grünfeld Defence, perhaps Black’s sharpest response
to 1.d4. Off the board he stands out for his self-deprecating humour, billiard
skills, extraordinarily good English, Anglophilia and an incorrigible love of
Peter Svidler's chess24 video series:
The Grünfeld according to Svidler: In this groundbreaking 12+ hours video series the world's best Grünfeld player reveals his secrets! Peter explained his approach in the following short clip:
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