Head to Head


Sergey Karjakin

Sergey Karjakin

  • Born:
    Jan 12, 1990 (Age 28) Simferopol, Ukraine
  • FIDE Title:
  • FIDE ID:
  • Federation:
  • Peak Rating:
    2788 (July 2011)
  • Rating:
    2782 (May 2018)
  • Rank:
    8 (May 2018)

Prodigious even by the standards of chess prodigies, Karjakin broke the record for claiming both the International Master (11 years, 11 months) and Grandmaster (12 years, 7 months) titles. He won a blitz game against the then World Champion Vladimir Kramnik at 14, though he left it until he was 19 to win his first major tournament, Wijk aan Zee 2009. In the same year he took Russian citizenship – giving him access to better chess coaches and support — and married WGM Kateryna Dolzhikova.

Karjakin’s progress has seldom been spectacular, but he’s quietly added to his haul of major tournament victories. A formidable player, perhaps a somewhat predictable opening repertoire is his last remaining weakness. In 2012 he acquired a sponsor and won the World Rapid Championship, while in 2013 he took clear first at the Norway Chess tournament ahead of Magnus Carlsen and Hikaru Nakamura (he later proved that was no accident by repeating the same feat a year later). 

That result, and Kramnik winning the 2013 World Cup, helped him qualify by rating for the 2014 Candidates Tournament in Khanty-Mansiysk. He started badly, and when he suffered a second defeat at the end of the first half it seemed he would struggle simply not to finish last. Instead he beat Svidler, Kramnik and Aronian in a run of form that saw him become the only player to truly challenge the eventual winner Viswanathan Anand. Instead he had to settle for second.

In May 2014, Karjakin remarried, this time to Galiya Kamalova.

The couple had their first son in October 2015, just weeks after one of the most important and dramatic tournament victories of Karjakin's career: the 2015 FIDE World Cup in Baku.

The World Cup win qualified Karjakin for the 2016 Candidates tournament in Moscow, where, after almost three weeks of gruelling action, he emerged as the challenger to Magnus Carlsen for the World Championship title.

The final tournament cross table

Karjakin falls just short in World Championship match

Few believed in the chances of Sergey in the 12-game World Championship match that took place in New York from November 11-30, 2016, but he proved his doubters wrong. 

After some early scares he became increasingly confident before ending a sequence of seven draws by winning Game 8 in some style:

Sergey had Magnus very worried and came close to landing a knockout blow in Game 9. That ended in a draw, though, and when Karjakin missed a forced draw in Game 10 Carlsen seized his chance to level the scores. The remaining two games were drawn, making the match score 6:6, before Magnus emerged a 3:1 victor in tiebreaks.

So it was disappointment for Karjakin, but he enhanced his reputation and automatically qualified for the 2018 Candidates Tournament. 2017 was lacklustre at best on the chessboard, but if Sergey can forget his newfound fame in Russia for a while and concentrate on chess he knows exactly what he needs to do to win in Berlin. 

Sort by Date Descending Date Descending Date Ascending Most Liked Receive updates

Comments 5

Guest 4521130950
Join chess24
  • Free, Quick & Easy

  • Dec 14, 2017 | 8:27 PM

    WOW that is coool

  • May 3, 2016 | 6:27 PM

    Greetings,chess public,I have been reading on line about Sergey's withdrawal from the recent tournament. Well ,what would you do?

    To play the world strongest player,I would do nothing els but prepare

    for the greatest moment of a life time.  He wants to win. If I were in the exact same position I would be studying both day and night. 

    Sergey did just that by winning the Candidates tournament. He studied Opening Preparations daily until he was booked up. As we can all see it worked. He is doing exactly what is necessary to win.

    Magnus Carlsen is a very strong player and possesses the killer instinct as well the drive to conquer his opponent,he willing to risk it all to Win!  So,in my opinion he should win by my best guest by a margin of 6 1/2 -3 1/2.  PTL!!!

  • Apr 29, 2016 | 7:48 PM

    Magnus will coast

  • Mar 28, 2016 | 4:21 PM

    recently he has becomes very strong player .he is going to challeng Magnus for world champion after a few month , is going to be very hard & tough games . we r waiting for that moment!good luck !

  • Sep 9, 2015 | 10:58 AM

    Great player


Create your free account now to get started!

I am aged 16 or older.

By clicking ‘Register’ you agree to our terms and conditions and confirm you have read our privacy policy, including the section on the use of cookies.

Lost your password? We'll send you a link to reset it!

After submitting this form you'll receive an email with the reset password link. If you still can't access your account please contact our customer service.

Data Consent Details

We respect your privacy and data protection guidelines.

Using chess24 requires the storage of some personal data, as set out below. You can find additional information in our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, Disclaimer and Terms of Website Use. Please note that your data settings can be changed at any time by clicking on the Data Settings link in the footer at the bottom of our website.

data details

Necessary Data

Some data is technically necessary to be able to visit the page at all. A so-called cookie stores identifiers that make it possible to respond to your individual requests. It contains a session ID - a unique, anonymous user ID combined with an authentication identifier (user_data). A security identifier (csrf) is also stored to prevent a particular type of online attack. All of these fields are alpha-numeric, with almost no relation to your real identity. The only exception is that we monitor some requests with the IP address that you are currently using, so that we are able to detect malicious use or system defects. Additionally, a technical field is stored (singletab) to ensure that some interactions are only processed in the browser tab that is currently active. For example, a new chess game will not be opened in all your current tabs. We use your local storage to save the difference between your local clock and our server time (serverUserTimeOffset), so that we are able to display the date and time of events correctly for you. You can also enable more data fields, as described in the other sections. Your personal decision on which data storage to enable is also stored as necessary information (consent).

Settings Data

We offer a range of personal settings for your convenience. Options include which opponents you prefer to be paired against, your preferred chessboard and pieces, the board size, the volume setting of the video player, your preferred language, whether to show chat or chess notation, and more. You can use our web page without storing this data, but if you would like to have your individual settings remembered we recommend enabling this feature. For logged-in registered users this setting is mandatory to store information about your privacy settings, users you have blocked and your friendship settings. As a registered user we also store your data consent in these settings.

Social Media Data

We embed a Twitter feed showing activity for the hashtag #c24live and also make it possible to share content in social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+. If you enable this option social networks are able to store data in your cookies or local storage for the purpose of these features.

Statistics Data

We would like to measure how our page is used with Google Analytics, so that we can decide which features to implement next and how to optimize our user experience. If you enable this feature Google will store your device identifiers and we will send tracking events (such as page requests) to Google Analytics. These have no direct relationship to your person except for the IP address currently being used.

Marketing Data

To help cover the cost of free services we would like to show you advertisements from our partner networks. Members of these networks store data on the banners shown to you and try to deliver ads that are relevant. If you choose not to allow this kind of data we have to show more anonymous advertisements and will be more limited in the free services we can offer.

Other Data

For registered users we store additional information such as profile data, chess games played, your chess analysis sessions, forum posts, chat and messages, your friends and blocked users, and items and subscriptions you have purchased. You can find this information in your personal profile. A free registration is not required to use this application. If you decide to contact the support team a ticket is created with information that includes your name and email address so that we can respond to your concern. This data is processed in the external service Zendesk. If you subscribe to a newsletter or are registered we would like to send you occasional updates via email. You can unsubscribe from newsletters and as a registered user you can apply several mail settings to control how your email address is used. For newsletters we transfer your email address and username to the external service MailChimp. If you buy content or subscriptions on chess24 we work with the payment service provider Adyen, which collects your payment data and processes information about the payment such as fraud protection data.