Alexander Khalifman

by Bill Wall

Grandmaster Alexander Khalifman of Russia (born on January 18,1966 in Leningrad) won the 1999 World FIDE Championship Knockout event, held at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas from July 31 to August 29. At the time, he was ranked 45th in the world with a FIDE rating of 2628 and seeded 36th out of 100 in the event. He became the 14th World Chess Champion.

Khalifman learned chess at the age of six, taught by his father.  The family is of Jewish descent.

Khalifman won the 1982 USSR Youth Championship.

In 1984 he won the USSR Youth Championship.

In 1985, he won the European Under-20 Championship, held at Gronginen.

In 1985, he won the Moscow Championship.  He won it again in 1987.

In 1986, he was awarded the International Master title.

In 1990 he won the New York Open and gained his Grandmaster title. That year he also won a major tournament at Groningen.

In 1992, 2000, and 2002,  he was part of the Russian team that won the 1992 Chess Olympiad. 

In 1995 he won the Russian Championship, then won at Hastings at the end of the year.

In 1996 he won the Russian Championship again.

In 1998 Khalifman founded the Russian Grandmaster Chess School in St Petersburg.

At the 1999 World FIDE Knockout Championship, he defeated Barau, Kamsky, Asrian, Gelfand, Judith Polgar, Nisipeanu, and Akopian (3.5-2.5) to win the title. His prize money totaled $660,000.   He held the title for one year.

In 2000, he was knocked out of the world championship knockout tournament, losing to Anand in the quarterfinals.

In 2010, he won the Minsk Open.


Khalifman - Wahls, Groningen 1990

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Bc4 Nf6 5.e5 d5 6.Bb5 Ne4 7.Nxd4 Bc5 8.O-O O-O 9.Bxc6 bxc6 10.Nxc6 Qh4 11.Be3 Bxe3 12.fxe3 Qg5 13.Rf4 Bb7 14.Qxd5 Rad8 15.Qxe4 Rd1+ 16.Kf2 Bxc6 17.Qxc6 Qxe5 18.Qc3 Qb5 19.Na3  1-0