Alexander Sergeyevich Morozevich was born on July 18, 1977 in Moscow. He was a student of a known Moscow coach Yurkov, and is renowned and admired for his unorthodox openings and aggressive play. He gained his Grandmaster title in 1994.
Some of his early victories include the Lloyds Bank tournament in London in 1994 with 9.5 points out of 10, Kishenev in 1998 with 8.5/9 and the Russia Cup in Samara in 1998. He won in Pamplona in 1994 and 1998 (with 8/9), 2006 (6/7 and performance rating of 2951), but failed badly in 2010. In 1999, Morozevich played in his first super-tourney the Sarajevo Bosna and finished 4th with 5.5/9. In 2000 he participated at the Corus tournament and finished 5th out of 14 players and in 2002, he finished =3rd in Corus A with 8/13, a point behind the winner Evgeny Bareev.
He has played in the Russian championships (including Superfinals) of 2003, 2004, 2005 (where he was second), 2007, 2008 and 2011 (again coming second) and 2014 (where he was =3rd). He tied for first with Peter Svidler (who won on tiebreak) in the 56th Russian Championships (2003), and won outright in Russian Superfinals (2007) when he scored a series of 6 consecutive wins, finishing with 8/11, a full point ahead of the runner-up Alexander Grischuk.
After an unsuccessful tournament at Dortmund in 2002, Morozevich announced his desire to leave professional chess, but this didn't happen. He went on to take an easy victory at the Biel International Chess Festival (2003) with eight points from ten games, and followed through with two further victories at this tournament: 37th Biel International Chess Festival (2004) and Biel Int'l Festival (2006), and a shared second in Biel International Chess Festival (2009). Morozevich shared second place with Magnus Carlsen behind Viswanathan Anand at the Linares - Morelia (2007) and in June 2008, he won the Bosnia Sarajevo Tournament (2008) with a margin of 1.5 points ahead of the runner up Leinier Dominguez Perez. In August 2008, he finished shared 2nd-5th in the Tal Memorial (2008) after leading the tournament in early rounds. Morozevich emerged from a five month hiatus to contest the Reggio Emilia (2010), managing to score 4/9 (+2 -3 =4) for a 2650 TPR. After a further lengthy hiatus, he emerged to win the Russian Chess Championships Higher League (2011) outright with 8/11 and a TPR of 2790 thereby regaining entry to the 2700 club, and more importantly, qualifying for the Russian Superfinals (2011). His preparation for the Superfinal was much boosted by coming outright second at the Biel Chess Festival (2011) behind Magnus Carlsen with +4 -1 =5, and a TPR of 2819. At the Superfinal, he placed outright second with 4.5/7 (TPR 2820) after a last round win against tournament winner Peter Svidler. After exiting the World Cup in the third round, Morozevich continued his good form and his comeback by convincingly winning the Governor's Cup (2011) in Saratov with 8.5/11 (+6 =5) and a TPR of 2915, 1.5 points clear of second placed Evgeny Tomashevsky. He finished 2011 and started 2012 by participating in the category 20 Reggio Emilia (2011), finishing =2nd (2nd on count back) behind Anish Giri with 5.5/10 after missing a winning combination in the final round against Nikita Vitiugov that would have yielded first place in the tournament. He started off as the runaway leader in the Tal Memorial (2012) with 4/5, but then only scored one draw in the next 4 rounds to finish with 4.5/9 (+3 -3 =3), which nevertheless added a couple of Elo points to his rating due to the average rating of he and his opponents creating a category XXII event. He withdrew after two rounds of the Grandmaster Tournament at the Biel Chess Festival (2012) for health reasons, and subsequently withdrew from the Russian team that played in the Chess Olympiad (2012) in Istanbul. A poor 3.5/9 at the category 22 Tal Memorial (2013) has continued his misery, knocking him out of the world's top 10.
In December 2014, he equal top scored with 2.5/4 in the Nutcracker Match of the Generations (2014), which pitted four older elite players against four powerful young up and coming grandmasters.
World championship competition
In 1997 Morozevich was the top seed at the World Junior Chess Championship, but lost to the eventual champion, Tal Shaked in a bishop and knight checkmate. That same year, Morozevich participated in the FIDE K.O. world championship, defeating Vasily Smyslov in the first round, but succumbed in the second to Lembit Oll. He participated in the FIDE K.O. world championship played in New Delhi in 2000. Due to his rating he was seeded directly into the second round in which he eliminated Gilberto Milos, then he proceeded to beat Evgeny Vladimirov 1,5:0,5 in the third round before finally being eliminated in the fourth round by Vladislav Tkachiev.
In the 2001 FIDE K.O. championship played in his native Moscow Morozevich beat Zeliavok, Krishnan Sasikiran and Mikhail Gurevich before losing in tie-breaks in the fourth round against the eventual winner of the event Ruslan Ponomariov. In September 2005, Morozevich played in the FIDE World Championship Tournament (2005) in San Luis, taking fourth place behind Veselin Topalov, Anand and Svidler. This result qualified him to play in the FIDE World Championship Tournament (2007) two years later in Mexico City, but he was less successful there, ending up in joint sixth out of eight players. As a minor consolation, he managed to inflict the only defeat Vladimir Kramnik suffered in 2007.
In the World Cup (2009) he advanced to the second round before being eliminated from the tournament by Viktor Laznicka. He participated in the World Cup (2011), dispatching Stelios Halkias and Alexandr Hilario Takeda dos Santos Fier with ease. However, after losing the first game of the third round to eventual runner-up Alexander Grischuk, he unexpectedly offered a draw, as White, after his twelfth move in the second game, losing the match and exiting the tournament.
Morozovich kicked off his 2014 World Championship campaign with a strong =1st alongside Wang Hao and Sergey Karjakin with 6.5/11 in the FIDE Grand Prix Tashkent (2012), accumulating 140 Grand Prix points. His =5th at FIDE Grand Prix Zug (2013) with 5.5/11 (+3 -3 =5) garnered another 75 GP points, however, his very poor 4/11 at the FIDE Grand Prix Thessaloniki (2013) for =10th was sufficient for only another 25 points and his =5th in the FIDE Grand Prix Beijing (2013) earned him insufficient Grand Prix points to contest the top 2 positions needed to qualify for the Candidates Tournament in 2014. (1) He had a chance to qualify for the Candidates via the World Cup (2013), for which he qualified on the basis of his rating. There he met Canadian champion player GM Bator Sambuev in the first round, defeating him in the tiebreaker to progress to the second round where he defeated Brazilian GM Rafael Duailibe Leitao. In the third round he defeated compatriot Nikita Vitiugov by 4.5-3.5 in the blitz tiebreaker but was eliminated in the Round of 16 (round 4) by another compatriot and eventual semi-finalist GM Evgeny Tomashevsky, in a marathon tiebreaker that extended through to the 5 minutes blitz games.
Morozevich has performed exceptionally well in this category, winning the overall standings at the annual Amber tournament in 2002, sharing first in 2004, in 2006 and in 2008. He shared second in 2003, 2005, and in 2007. In 2009, he shared fourth with Anand. He also won the Paul Keres Memorial Rapid (2003) and the Petrov Memorial Rapid (2012), and came a strong 4th in the World Blitz Championship (2012). In September 2012, he won the 66th Moscow Blitz tournament with 17/21, two points clear of the field.
In 2014 he competed in the FIDE World Rapid Championship (2014), scoring 10.5/15, placing =2nd, a half point behind the winner Carlsen. he also played reasonably well in the FIDE World Blitz Championship (2014), scoring 13/21, 4 points off the lead (Carlsen). In August he played in and won the 7th Stage of the Russian Rapid Grand-Prix 2014, scoring 9/11 and thereby pushing his rapid rating close to the 2800 mark for October. In September, he won the Moscow Championship Final A Blitz with 15.5/19, 2.5 points clear of the joint runners-up Vladimir Malakhov and Boris Savchenko, surging into the world's #10 in blitz.
Team play (2)
<Olympiads and national team events> Morozevich played for Russia in the Olympiads of 1994 (for the "B" team), 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2008 where the team scored a bronze (the "A" team winning gold), three golds, and a silver respectively, before missing medals in 2006 and 2008. He scored 7.5/10 at the 2000 event winning Bronze Medal for board 2 with a performance rating at 2803.7. Morozevich also won the gold medal in the World Team Championship (2005) in which he beat Ni Hua in the last round in a must win situation. He played for Russia in the European Team Championships of 2003, 2007, 2009 and 2011 winning gold on each occasion, either team gold or individual gold or both. Most recently, he played in the European Team Championship (2013), winning team bronze.
<National Leagues> He played for Tomsk in the Russian Team Championship of 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008 and for Ekonomist SGSEU Saratov in 2012, winning three team and three individual golds with Tomsk, as well as two individual silvers and two team bronzes. He played for Economist-SGSEU Saratov in the 28th European Club Cup (2012) in October, helping his team to 4th place and on board three for the Malachite team in the European Club Cup (2013), helping his team to win the silver medal. In the Russian Team Championships (2014), he won team and individual silver (for board 2) playing for for his latest team, ShSM Moscow.
Ratings and rankings
Morozevich broke into the world's top 100 as a precocious 16 year old IM in January 1994, when he shot up 74 places to #64 in the world with a rating of 2590. He had risen nearly 1300 places to reach the top 100 from the beginning of the previous year. Five years later, in January 1999, he burst into the world's top 10 at the same time as he first broke through the 2700 rating mark. He spent an uninterrupted decade in the top 10, which included his high water mark of #2 in the world with a rating of 2788 in July 2008, with his live rating all but touching 2800 at one stage. (3).
His ultra-aggressive and unorthodox take-no-prisoners style has reaped enormous benefits for him, and attracted many devoted admirers. However, it has also meant serious fluctuations in his performance and rating, including his ELO rating temporarily dipping below 2700 following poor results at the 2010 Pamplona and Emilio Reggio tournaments. The extent of the fluctuations in his form and ratings can be seen from FIDE’s rating graph. (4)
"Morozevich is a bright player; I like how he plays. This is active chess: only forward! Sometimes luck is on his side, sometimes it is not. It is not boring to watch his games." – Kramnik
Sources and references
(1) [ Wikipedia article: FIDE Grand Prix 2012%E2%80%9313; (2) http://www.olimpbase.org/players/2c...; (3) http://chess.liverating.org/toplist...; (4) http://ratings.fide.com/id.phtml?ev...; Wikipedia article: Alexander Morozevich; Live rating: http://www.2700chess.com/.