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Alexander Khalifman
Number of games in database: 1,808
Years covered: 1982 to 2016
Last FIDE rating: 2617 (2549 rapid)
Highest rating achieved in database: 2702

Overall record: +457 -170 =970 (59.0%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 211 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Sicilian (97) 
    B90 B92 B30 B84 B62
 Queen's Indian (78) 
    E12 E15 E14 E17 E16
 Ruy Lopez (60) 
    C91 C92 C80 C95 C67
 French Defense (59) 
    C11 C07 C18 C13 C02
 Slav (58) 
    D15 D11 D17 D19 D16
 King's Indian (57) 
    E97 E98 E94 E60 E67
With the Black pieces:
 Sicilian (181) 
    B62 B58 B33 B30 B50
 King's Indian (71) 
    E60 E97 E81 E92 E94
 Ruy Lopez (67) 
    C84 C89 C78 C67 C88
 Slav (66) 
    D17 D19 D15 D14 D12
 Queen's Indian (50) 
    E15 E17 E12 E14 E13
 Grunfeld (38) 
    D94 D85 D92 D97 D91
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Khalifman vs Serper, 1994 1-0
   Khalifman vs Ermenkov, 1994 1-0
   Khalifman vs Seirawan, 1991 1-0
   Z Almasi vs Khalifman, 1997 0-1
   Khalifman vs Bareev, 2002 1-0
   B Lalic vs Khalifman, 1997 0-1
   Khalifman vs Nisipeanu, 1999 1-0
   Khalifman vs Sveshnikov, 1996 1-0
   Khalifman vs Tiviakov, 1995 1-0
   Khalifman vs Leko, 2000 1-0

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: [what is this?]
   FIDE World Championship Knockout Tournament (1999)
   FIDE World Championship Knockout Tournament (2001)

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   58th Russian Championship Semifinals (2005)
   Bazna Kings Tournament (2007)
   Aeroflot Open (2012)
   56th Russian Championships (2003)
   Nakhchivan Open (2015)
   Aeroflot Open (2005)
   European Individual Championship (2008)
   Manila Interzonal (1990)
   FIDE World Cup (2005)
   Bled Olympiad (2002)
   10th European Individual Championship (2009)
   European Individual Championships (2007)
   12th European Individual Championship (2011)
   European Individual Championships (2013)
   13th European Individual Championship (2012)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Match Khalifman! by amadeus
   1999 - FIDE World Championship KO Tournament by amadeus
   Reykjavik World Cup 1991 by suenteus po 147
   Wijk aan Zee Corus 2002 by suenteus po 147
   USSR Championship 1990 by suenteus po 147
   Linares 1995 by suenteus po 147
   Wijk aan Zee Hoogovens 1991 by suenteus po 147
   Parnu 1996 by suenteus po 147

   Khalifman vs P Shkapenko (Dec-16-16) 1/2-1/2, rapid
   A Sarana vs Khalifman (Dec-16-16) 1/2-1/2, rapid
   Khalifman vs M Hartikainen (Dec-16-16) 1/2-1/2, rapid
   S Lobanov vs Khalifman (Dec-16-16) 1-0, rapid
   Khalifman vs Nikolay Shirshov (Dec-15-16) 1-0, rapid

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Alexander Khalifman
Search Google for Alexander Khalifman
FIDE player card for Alexander Khalifman

(born Jan-18-1966, 51 years old) Russia
[what is this?]
Alexander Valeryevich Khalifman, born in Leningrad, was taught chess by his father when he was six years old. He achieved the IM title in 1986 and became a GM at the New York Open in 1990. He is best known for becoming FIDE World Champion in 1999 by winning a knockout tournament in Las Vegas. He lost the title in the next knockout, held the following year in New Delhi. Viswanathan Anand eliminated him in the quarterfinals.

Khalifman's other successes include the Russian Championship of 1996 and first place in Essent 2000 with 5.5 points out of 6. In 2010 he came =1st (2nd on count back) with 7/9 in the Minsk Open in Belarus, and won the International Bavarian Open in Bad Wiessee in Germany with 7.5/9 (+6 =3). He came 4th at the Aeroflot Open (2012) with 6/9.

Wikipedia article: Alexander Khalifman

 page 1 of 73; games 1-25 of 1,808  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. R Dautov vs Khalifman 0-145 1982 TournamentE69 King's Indian, Fianchetto, Classical Main line
2. I Naumkin vs Khalifman 0-146 1982 TournamentE90 King's Indian
3. Khalifman vs V Malykin  0-134 1983 Ch URSC03 French, Tarrasch
4. Khalifman vs K Aseev  0-134 1983 USSRC91 Ruy Lopez, Closed
5. S Zagrebelny vs Khalifman 0-135 1984 Sochi (Russia)B76 Sicilian, Dragon, Yugoslav Attack
6. Dreev vs Khalifman 0-139 1984 USSRC25 Vienna
7. V Ruban vs Khalifman  ½-½56 1984 Cup URSE92 King's Indian
8. I Naumkin vs Khalifman 0-147 1984 Sochi (Russia)E92 King's Indian
9. Khalifman vs M Ratkovic  1-040 1984 Cup URSC07 French, Tarrasch
10. A Vitolinsh vs Khalifman 0-130 1984 Ch URS (select)C42 Petrov Defense
11. Khalifman vs Oll  ½-½30 1984 Cup URSA31 English, Symmetrical, Benoni Formation
12. Goldin vs Khalifman  ½-½36 1984 Cup URSA45 Queen's Pawn Game
13. Khalifman vs S Savchenko  0-130 1984 KirovabadB72 Sicilian, Dragon
14. R Dautov vs Khalifman  ½-½41 1984 Cup URSE12 Queen's Indian
15. M Iailian vs Khalifman  1-048 1984 Cup URS, URSE88 King's Indian, Samisch, Orthodox, 7.d5 c6
16. K Aseev vs Khalifman 1-094 1985 Lvov (Ukraine)E61 King's Indian
17. Khalifman vs J L Watson  1-038 1985 Moscow (Russia)A48 King's Indian
18. Khalifman vs A Shneider  ½-½20 1985 Lvov (Ukraine)B93 Sicilian, Najdorf, 6.f4
19. S Ivanov vs Khalifman  ½-½34 1985 SovietE17 Queen's Indian
20. V Neverov vs Khalifman 1-040 1985 Lvov (Ukraine)E98 King's Indian, Orthodox, Taimanov, 9.Ne1
21. Kaidanov vs Khalifman  ½-½14 1985 Moscow (Russia)E45 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3, Bronstein (Byrne) Variation
22. Khalifman vs Glek  ½-½21 1985 LvovC69 Ruy Lopez, Exchange, Gligoric Variation, 6.d4
23. Khalifman vs R Zysk  1-036 1985 Ch Europe (juniors)C43 Petrov, Modern Attack
24. Khalifman vs P Szekely  ½-½21 1985 Moscow (Russia)B93 Sicilian, Najdorf, 6.f4
25. Khalifman vs R Lev  ½-½41 1985 EU-ch U20C91 Ruy Lopez, Closed
 page 1 of 73; games 1-25 of 1,808  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Khalifman wins | Khalifman loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 6 OF 6 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jun-28-10  Petrosianic: <Yes, he had a bad record against Kasparov, Kramnik, and Anand, but there are many a player in the database who is in the same situation versus that trio. But Alexander does have a decent record against these guys:>

Janosevic had a winning record against Bobby Fischer. There's no denying it's impressive, but I don't really consider him world championship timber either.

Like Kasim, Khalifman was never better than about #50 in the world. His Las Vegas win wasn't even a 2700 Performance, according to chessmetrics. On the one hand, you feel sorry for him. He had no part in the split, and did nothing wrong. On the other hand, he knew when he played the thing that the winner would be left with a joke title. If the winner of Karpov-Timman and Karpov-Kamsky wasn't accepted as world champion, how could the winner of Las Vegas hope to be?

Aug-17-10  polarmis: Khalifman doesn't play very much nowadays, but he recently won the Minsk Open (in Belarus). I've translated an interview he gave there - he really is a great interviewee!

Here's a fragment on his experience after winning in Las Vegas:

<You see, after winning the title it was no longer so easy to travel to some run-of-the-mill open tournament without special conditions. To put it crudely, my colleagues wouldn’t understand me. They’d say look, you’re the World Champion and you’re not asking for conditions which means, surely, that they’ll soon start making us pay to take part i.e. it would have seriously baffled my grandmaster colleagues. And as for round robin tournaments… it’s not something I want to go into in great depth, but it turned out that for some reason they didn’t invite me. So you get a funny situation: the World Champion, one of the very highest ratings… others are invited to round-robin tournaments, while I’m not. So I started to devote more time to my school...>

Aug-17-10  Troller: <Petrosianic> I would rate Khalifman above Kasim. Las Vegas was stronger than Tripolis for one thing. I think also he's had some top-10 appearances back around 1991 or so. Chessmetrics has Khalifman peaking at #8 in the world, Kasim at #13, for what it's worth.

Of course this does not constitute a World Champion, but I wouldn't compare him to a nobody like Janosevic, rather someone like, e.g. Zoltan Ribli. A solid elite player making it to the candidates on some occasions, but no real threat for the crown. I think it likely Khalifman would have been a candidate, had the old system continued.

However, he has often been focussing more on his work as a trainer. After Las Vegas I remember PH Nielsen had a remark that Khalifman was in fact way better than his rating indicated, but that he wasn't very serious about his career.

Dec-11-10  Brandon plays: Wow, checking the last three or four pages of his games he has a lot of draws. Quite a few of them seem to be games without very many moves. It doesn't seem like he is very much of a fighter.
Premium Chessgames Member
  wordfunph: "One should respect a defeated opponent!"

- Alexander Khalifman

happy birthday GM!

Jan-18-12  talisman: happy birthday champ!
Jun-20-12  TheVillageIdiot: <Alexander Khalifman & Rustam Kasimdzhanov are the Weakest Fide Champions They won on a pure luck and were not able to dominate a single tournament after their wins>

What about Ponomariov?? Is he considered to be weak too?

Jun-20-12  King Death: < TheVillageIdiot: <Alexander Khalifman & Rustam Kasimdzhanov are the Weakest Fide Champions They won on a pure luck and were not able to dominate a single tournament after their wins> What about Ponomariov?? Is he considered to be weak too?>

Not really but I won't rush to say that his resume compares to Kramnik Kasparov or the champions that came before them. In that kind of company Pono gets lost in the shuffle fast even though he's a tough player.

Jun-20-12  Petrosianic: Khalifman was the World #32 in January 2000, and Kasim was World #54 (!!) when he won the FIDE Title. By comparison, Pono was in the Top 10 or 20, which is fantastic by comparison, but he still had no real claim to being the world's best player. He won a lottery tournament, didn't beat the best, and avoided a match with the best.

He's a tough player, of course, most people in the Top 20 are. (This whole question of "Was he the world champion, or was he weak?" is a wild faulty dilemma fallacy). But that doesn't make one world champion.

The only FIDE Champion with any plausible claim to being the best was Anand. He was World #2 when he won the title. But again, a) his title wasn't undisputed, and b) he didn't beat anyone in particular to win it. Calling him world champion would be like naming Fischer world champion by virtue of sweeping the US Championship.

Jun-20-12  dx9293: Khalifman himself said that he didn't claim to be the strongest player in the World, but he claimed to be World Champion, because he won the only World Championship that there was at the time. He was right.
Jun-20-12  dx9293: In former days, and in Fischer's time, there was a World Championship system, so no one would claim Fischer the World Champion by winning the US Championship (which was infinitely weaker than the Soviet Championship anyway).
Jun-20-12  Petrosianic: <because he won the only World Championship that there was at the time. He was right.>

He was wrong. The title was disputed at the time and pretty much everyone except FIDE itself regarded the FIDE title as the less credible of the two, simply because the last undisputed champion still held the other one.

Jun-20-12  Petrosianic: But on the other hand, there's nothing bad to say about Khalifman per se. He played chess, he won a tournament. The world organization called it a world championship. He's not lying when he says that they did. It's maybe a slight fudge to say that that was the only championship in existence, but we can massage that statement a bit to make it technically true. Khalifman certainly didn't do anything wrong by playing and winning.
Jan-18-13  talisman: happy birthday.
Jan-18-13  cunctatorg: Alexander Khalifman is (or was...; it's up to him of course!) one of the most original, ingenious, resourceful and impressive chess-players I've ever seen.
Jan-20-13  gars: As a confirmed chess rabbit I shall not engage in any kind of judgement about Khalifman's qualifications for the World Championhip. I prefer to see him as a very strong player who spent a lot of time and effort to author or co-author books about Chigorin, Lasker, Capablanca, Alekhine, Botninnik, Tal and Shirov, besides books about the openings Anand and Kramnik use.
Premium Chessgames Member
  RookFile: An absurd discussion. Khalifman won the tournament in 1999 under the rules of the time. He had a moment in the sun, don't deny him that. Nobody is asking that he be declared the greatest player ever.
May-04-14  cplyakap: Ex-world champion.I think he retired.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <Did I ever tell you about the time I became world champion?>
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Uh, interesting tournament for Khalifman at the Aeroflot Open (2015). He won the first game against a 2465, but then drew the remaining 8 games (all against players rated higher than him) to finish the tournament as one of the few (if not only) players to not drop a single rating point from any game. The average rating of his opponents was 2691 (excluding the first one) but his 8 draws averaged 23 moves (16 excluding the longest one).

Overall, he gains 11.4 points (2613 -> 2624) and finishes in 26th place (he was the 29th seed).

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <Chess is fairly unique for the precise reason that it teaches you to think. Most subjects taught in school only weigh your memory down with information, without giving you the skills of independent mental work. Even the solution of physical or mathematical problems most of the time can be reduced to one standard algorithm or another. But chess teaches you to think, and not only that, it does so in a playful form that is very natural for children. And at the same time, it brings you face to face with a very concrete result - either you win or you lose> - Alexander Khalifman.
Dec-05-15  Sularus: or you draw
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: Happy birthday, Alexander Khalifman.
Jan-18-16  john barleycorn: <RookFile: An absurd discussion. Khalifman won the tournament in 1999 under the rules of the time....>

Yes, Khalifman deserves more respect. Only 4 world class players were missing in that event. The rest of the elite was there and it is not his fault that they failed. M. Adams commented that the system is ok and if Kramnik or Shirov had won everybody would have admitted that it works.

Jan-18-16  sonia91: A tribute article by the Russian Chess Federation on his birthday (you can use Google translator):
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