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Alexey Shirov
Photo courtesy of Eric Schiller.  
Number of games in database: 3,065
Years covered: 1983 to 2018
Last FIDE rating: 2644 (2646 rapid, 2656 blitz)
Highest rating achieved in database: 2755

Overall record: +910 -383 =1037 (61.3%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 735 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Sicilian (443) 
    B90 B33 B81 B30 B32
 Ruy Lopez (254) 
    C67 C84 C80 C92 C95
 French Defense (128) 
    C11 C02 C10 C18 C19
 Ruy Lopez, Closed (124) 
    C84 C95 C92 C89 C96
 Sicilian Najdorf (122) 
    B90 B96 B92 B94 B99
 Caro-Kann (99) 
    B12 B18 B17 B10
With the Black pieces:
 Sicilian (318) 
    B30 B33 B90 B62 B32
 Semi-Slav (168) 
    D45 D47 D44 D43 D48
 Ruy Lopez (168) 
    C78 C84 C77 C69 C99
 Slav (168) 
    D12 D10 D15 D11 D17
 King's Indian (125) 
    E63 E97 E92 E60 E81
 Grunfeld (63) 
    D85 D86 D87 D80 D97
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Shirov vs J Lapinski, 1990 1-0
   Topalov vs Shirov, 1998 0-1
   Kramnik vs Shirov, 1994 0-1
   Shirov vs A Hauchard, 1990 1-0
   Gelfand vs Shirov, 2007 0-1
   Kamsky vs Shirov, 1993 0-1
   Shirov vs Judit Polgar, 1996 1-0
   Lautier vs Shirov, 1990 0-1
   J Elbilia vs Shirov, 1993 0-1
   Shirov vs Kramnik, 1993 1-0

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: [what is this?]
   FIDE World Championship Knockout Tournament (2000)
   FIDE World Championship Knockout Tournament (2001)

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   XXXIV Bosnia (2004)
   World Chess Cup (2007)
   Sarajevo (2000)
   Spanish Championship (2002)
   Canadian Open (2009)
   GRENKE Chess Open (2018)
   Linares (1994)
   Tilburg Fontys (1996)
   Canadian Open (2005)
   Gibraltar Masters (2005)
   Superstars Hotel Bali (2002)
   Hasselbacken Open (2016)
   Isle of Man Open (2017)
   Bundesliga 2014/15 (2014)
   World Cup (2009)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Match Shirov! by amadeus
   rodmalone's favorite games by rodmalone
   Fire on the Board by Alexey Shirov by suenteus po 147
   Shirov miniatures Compiled by morphynoman2 by fredthebear
   Shirov miniatures by morphynoman2
   Shirov Gives French Lessons by takchess
   Shirov Gives French Lessons by takopenings
   Shirov Gives French Lessons by JoseTigranTalFischer
   Power Chess - Shirov by Anatoly21
   Shirov plays some open games by takchess
   Shirov plays some open games by takopenings
   Fire on Board, part II. by 810609
   Exchange sacs - 3 by obrit
   Fire on Board by Alexei Shirov by LionHeart40

   🏆 Russian Team Championship
   Kamsky vs Shirov (May-08-18) 1/2-1/2
   Shirov vs E Alekseev (May-07-18) 1/2-1/2
   Bezgodov vs Shirov (May-05-18) 1/2-1/2
   P Maletin vs Shirov (May-04-18) 1-0
   A Esipenko vs Shirov (May-03-18) 1-0

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Alexey Shirov
Search Google for Alexey Shirov
FIDE player card for Alexey Shirov

(born Jul-04-1972, 45 years old) Latvia

[what is this?]
IM (1989); GM (1990).

Alexey Dmitrievich Shirov (Russian: Алексей Дмитриевич Широв, Latvian: Aleksejs Širovs) was born in Riga in what was then Soviet Latvia. He has a distinctive aggressive and imaginative style that has won him many admirers throughout his career. He has ranked among the world's top players since 1990. He frequently worked his way deep into the World Championship cycles, coming as close to the pinnacle of chess as winning the right to challenge Garry Kasparov for the Classical World Championship, meeting Viswanathan Anand in the final of the 2000 Knockout Tournament and playing in the final match of the World Chess Cup (2007) and playing in the 2007 Candidates. He has been officially ranked as high as number 2 in the world.


<Age> Shirov became the U16 World Champion in 1988 and was runner-up in 1990 in the World Junior Championship behind Ilya M Gurevich.

<National> He won the Spanish championship in 2002 with 8.5/9.

<World> Shirov’s initial entry to the World Championship cycle was in February 1990 at the age of 17, when he shared =1st at the Zonal Tournament held in Lvov, (1) thereby qualifying for the Manila Interzonal held in June and July of that year. There he scored 7.5/13, half a point outside of the qualifying group to the Candidates. (2) He qualified for the 1993 Interzonal in Biel, this time finishing with 8/13, but again missed the qualifying group for the Candidates, this time on tiebreak as Anand, who qualified, also scored 8/13. (3). In 1997, Shirov was seeded directly into the 2nd round of the FIDE Knockout Tournament in Groningen that was to produce a challenger for FIDE world championship title occupied by Anatoly Karpov. He defeated Julio Ernesto Granda Zuniga, Gilberto Milos, Vladimir Akopian in the early rounds before losing to the eventual winner, Anand, in the quarter finals. (4)

In 1998 Shirov was invited by the World Chess Council (a Kasparov creation) to play a ten-game match against Vladimir Kramnik to select a challenger for Kasparov. Shirov won the Shirov - Kramnik WCC Candidates Match (1998) with two wins, no losses and seven draws. However the plans for the Kasparov-Shirov match fell through when financial backing that had been verbally promised by the Andalusian regional government in Spain failed due to a change in government in that province, and no other sponsors could be found and the momentum for organizing the match was eventually lost. (5) Shirov then went on to play in the FIDE World Championship Knockout Tournament (1999) where he was again seeded directly into the 2nd round, and defeated Ivan Sokolov, Milos and Nigel Short in the early rounds before losing to Liviu Dieter Nisipeanu, again in the quarter finals.

In 2000, Shirov reached the final of the FIDE World Chess Championship, losing 3½–½ to Viswanathan Anand after beating Alexander Onischuk, Mikhail Gurevich, Boris Gelfand, Evgeny Bareev, and Alexander Grischuk in the earlier rounds. The following year, he played in the FIDE World Championship Knockout Tournament (2001) and beat Aimen Rizouk, Zoltan Gyimesi, Alexander Motylev and Veselin Topalov in the early rounds before again losing to Anand, yet again in the quarter finals.

In the parallel championship cycle being run to produce a challenger for the new Classical World Champion, Vladimir Kramnik, the 2002 Dortmund tournament doubled as the Candidates event to produce the challenger. In this event, Shirov defeated Topalov in a playoff to determine the winner of Group 1 (of 2). He then played and lost by 2.5-0.5 (+2 =1) to eventual winner and new challenger for the Classical title Peter Leko in one of the preliminary Candidates matches.

Shirov then qualified via his rating to play in the FIDE World Cup (2005) but lost to Mikhail Gurevich in the third round after beating Kirill Kuderinov and Vasilios Kotronias in the first two rounds. He then qualified by rating to participate in the 2007 Candidates Matches to determine four of the participants to the FIDE World Championship Tournament (2007). He won his first round Candidates Match: Shirov - Adams (2007) (+1 −1 =4, won in rapid playoff), but was eliminated in the 2nd and qualifying round when he lost the Candidates Match: Aronian - Shirov (2007) (+0 −1 =5). In November–December 2007 Shirov played in the World Cup 2007, defeating Robert Gwaze, Yury Shulman, Alexander Onischuk, Akopian, Dmitry Jakovenko, and Sergey Karjakin to make it to the final match, which he lost by 2½–1½ to Gata Kamsky. Qualifying for the World Cup (2011) because of his high rating, Shirov defeated Manuel Leon Hoyos in the first round, but unexpectedly lost to Vladimir Potkin in the second round. Shirov qualified for the World Cup (2013) as a ratings reserve, and defeated former Women's World Champion and Chinese GM Yifan Hou in the first round tiebreaker, progressing to the second round where he was eliminated from the Cup when he lost by 0.5-1.5 to the world's youngest GM, 14 year-old Wei Yi.

Classical Tournaments

Shirov has placed first or equal first in numerous international tournaments:

• Biel 1991

Madrid (1997) (sharing first with Topalov)

• Ter Apel 1997

• Monte Carlo 1998

Merida (2000) (quadrangular double round robin)

• the Hrokurinn (2003) round robin tournament in Reykjavik

• the Bosnian International in Sarajevo in 2004 a point and a half clear of the field with 7.5/9

• =1st (alongside Peter Heine Nielsen) at the Smartfish Masters in Norway in 2005

• two-time winner of the Paul Keres Memorial Tournament in Tallinn in 2004 and 2005

• the Canadian Open (2005)

• =1st at the Gibraltar Masters (2005) alongside Aronian, Kiril D Georgiev, Emil Sutovsky and Zahar Efimenko

• the 7th Poikovsky Tournament (2006), a point clear of Vadim Zvjaginsev, Ruslan Ponomariov, Alexey Dreev and Bareev

• placing 1st in the Category 21 M-Tel Masters (2009) a double round tournament held in Sofia, Bulgaria with a performance rating of 2864; he was undefeated in his score of 6½/10

• =1st with Georgiev at CIS - Serie Master 2010

• In September 2010, Shirov won the Shanghai Masters (2010) preliminary tournament in Shanghai to qualify, along with Kramnik, for the Bilbao Masters (2010) to meet Carlsen and Anand. There he scored -2 =4, placing 4th.

• 1st at the 3rd International GM round-robin tournament in Lublin, Poland, the III Lublin Union Memorial 2011 with a score of 5/7

• won the category 13 round robin Buenos Aires Masters (2012) by a clear point ahead of outright second place-getter Ruben Felgaer.

Another outstanding result was =2nd at Corus (2010) with Kramnik, half a point behind Magnus Carlsen. He was 3rd with 5/9 at the category 19 15th Poikovsky Karpov Tournament (2014), a point behind the winner Alexander Morozevich.

Match Play

A full list of all the matches played by Shirov are listed at <User: amadeus >’s excellent page: Game Collection: Match Shirov!. The most significant exhibition matches played outside of the context of tournament tiebreakers, World Championship, World Cup and other tournament knockout contests, and Candidates matches were against Simen Agdestein in 1992 (won +3 -1); 1995 against Jeroen Piket (won +3 =5 -0), in 1998 vs Zbynek Hracek (won +5 -1 =0); in 1999 vs Judit Polgar (won +5 -0 =1); in 2004 against David Navara (won +1 -0 =1); and in 2012 against Viktor Laznicka (won +2 =4). In December 2013 in Moscow, he played a best-of-six match, the Battle of the Generations (2013), against Russian wunderkind GM Daniil Dubov and won 5-1 (+4 =2). 10 months later in October 2014, he played a 6 game match against Dutch wunderkind Anish Giri at the Unive matches played during the annual event at Hoogoven in the Netherlands, losing 1.5-4.5 (-3 =3). In November 2014, he played a 6-game match against Venezuelan GM Eduardo Patricio Iturrizaga Bonelli, losing by 2.5-3.5 (+1 -2 =3).


Shirov won the 2011 and 2012 Paul Keres memorial Tournaments in Tallinn. In February 2012, he won the Aivars Gipslis Memorial in Riga with 9/9. In September 2012, he won the Sigulda Open Rapid Chess Championship 2012 in Latvia. In December 2012, he came =1st in the European Rapid Championship and in April 2013, he won the 2nd Casino Royal championship, also in Latvia. In May 2013, he won the Incukalns District Open in Latvia. In August 2014, he was =4th with 8/11 at the 7th Stage of the Russian Rapid Grand-Prix 2014. In December 2014, he won the Incukalns District Open Rapid Chess Championship and the Malpils district rapid chess championship.

Team play

<Olympiad> Shirov played top board for Latvia at the Olympiads of 1992, 1994, 2012 and 2014, and for Spain at the Olympiads of 1996, 1998, 2000, 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010. He did not participate in the 2002 Olympiad.

<World Team Championship> Shirov played on board 1 for Latvia at the 1993 World Team Championship, winning individual silver and helping his team to 6th place.

<European Team Championship> Shirov represented Spain in 1999, 2001, 2003, 2007, 2009 and 2011, playing top board on all occasions except in 2011 when he played board 2. He won individual gold in 1999.

<European Club Cup> Shirov played in the ECC in the years 1993, 1995,1996, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014. Most recently he has played for the Yugra team (2012) and Malachite (2013 & 2014). During this time he has won individual gold and silver, 2 team golds, 4 team silvers, and 3 team bronzes. (6)

<National Leagues> Shirov played board 2 for the Ural Sverdlovsk team in the Russian Premier League from 2006 until 2009 inclusive, winning 2 team golds, 1 team silver, 1 team bronze, and 2 individual golds, and two individual silvers during this period. He absented himself from the competition for two years before rejoining it in 2012 when he played board 2 for Yugra, and in 2013 and 2014, when he played for Malakhit Ekaterinburg, winning team and individual silver (on board 4) in 2013 and team gold and individual silver (also on board 4) in 2014. In 2015, he again played for Malakhit Ekaterinburg, this time on board 1 where he won an individual silver.

Other national leagues in which Shirov has participated include:

• The Bundesliga 2000 (and probably before), 2001, 2002; 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015;

• Spanish Team Championship 2001, 2006 and the CECLUB leagues of 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 - in 2011 he helped his team Gros Xake Taldea to victory the CECLUB

• French team Championships in 2001-2 and the Top 16 French League 2004 and 2005;

• Iceland Team Championships in 2002;

• Bosnia and Herzegovina Team Championships of 2003 and 2004;

• 4NCL in 2004-5, 2005-6 and 2012-13;

• Hungarian Team Championships of 2008 and 2011;

• Latvian Team Championships of 2011 and 2013;

• Czech Extraliga in 2012-13 and 2013-14 and the

• Finnish League of 2013-14.

<Rest of the World> In 2002, he helped the Rest of the World team win the Russia - The Rest of the World (2002), scoring 7/10 for a TPR of 2866.


Shirov is an author who wrote Fire on Board: Shirov's Best Games (1995) and Fire on Board, Part 2: 1997–2004 (2005). He has also produced numerous ChessBase Fritztrainer DVDs, which deal mainly with the openings and which are listed at his Wikipedia article (linked below).


In 1994, Alexey married an Argentine, Verónica Alvarez. He then moved to Tarragona and became a citizen of Spain. He subsequently divorced Alvarez and was married to Lithuanian GM Viktorija Cmilyte from 2001-2007 before divorcing again and marrying Russian WIM Olga Dolgova in 2010. He is again playing for Latvia, where he is that country's top player.

Rating and ranking

Shirov has been amongst the world's top 100 players since July 1990 and has remained in that group since. He was in the world's top 10 from January 1992 until April 2001, throughout 2003, for most of 2008 and in May and July 2010.

The highest rating achieved by Shirov was 2755 was in January 2008 when he was ranked #4 in the world. His highest FIDE world ranking was #2 behind Karpov (Kasparov had been suspended from the FIDE ratings tables) throughout 1994 when his rating was 2715 in January before rising to 2740 in July. Including Kasparov, his highest ranking was #3 after Kasparov and Karpov.

Sources and references

(1) [rusbase-1]; (2); (3); (4); (5); (6)

Live rating:; Wikipedia article: Alexei Shirov; Mark Weeks’ comprehensive records of the World Championships and their qualifying events:; OlimpBase - the encyclopedia of team chess:

Last update 25 May 2015

 page 1 of 123; games 1-25 of 3,065  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Shirov vs V Zhuravliov 1-0251983RigaC10 French
2. Shirov vs S Petrenko 1-0341984USSRB78 Sicilian, Dragon, Yugoslav Attack, 10.castle long
3. J Saksis vs Shirov 0-1371985Riga (Latvia)B99 Sicilian, Najdorf, 7...Be7 Main line
4. Shirov vs Petkevich  0-1221985Riga (Latvia)C03 French, Tarrasch
5. Shirov vs Ozolinsh 0-1321985Riga (Latvia)C29 Vienna Gambit
6. Shirov vs M V Golubev ½-½381985YurmalaB76 Sicilian, Dragon, Yugoslav Attack
7. I Jakobson vs Shirov  0-1321985Riga (Latvia)B90 Sicilian, Najdorf
8. Shirov vs E Vitolinsh 0-1381985Riga (Latvia)B99 Sicilian, Najdorf, 7...Be7 Main line
9. Ulibin vs Shirov  1-0111985URS-ch U25B29 Sicilian, Nimzovich-Rubinstein
10. Shirov vs Klovans 0-1251986Ch LatviaC55 Two Knights Defense
11. Shirov vs Kamsky 1-0391986Sochi Juniors-BC69 Ruy Lopez, Exchange, Gligoric Variation
12. Ulibin vs Shirov  ½-½421986Kapsukas jrC78 Ruy Lopez
13. Lutsko vs Shirov  0-1301986Riga (Latvia)A15 English
14. Kasparov vs Shirov ½-½441986URSA34 English, Symmetrical
15. Shirov vs A Vitolinsh 0-1551986Riga (Latvia)A45 Queen's Pawn Game
16. Shirov vs Akopian  ½-½281986Sochi Juniors-BA45 Queen's Pawn Game
17. Shirov vs V Zhuravliov 1-0321986Riga (Latvia)A80 Dutch
18. Shirov vs Sakaev 1-0351986Sochi Juniors-BD02 Queen's Pawn Game
19. I Rausis vs Shirov 0-1251986Ch LatviaB02 Alekhine's Defense
20. Shirov vs Shabalov  ½-½261986?B03 Alekhine's Defense
21. Shirov vs D Burmenko  0-1391986Sochi Juniors-BC15 French, Winawer
22. Klovans vs Shirov  ½-½411987RigaC78 Ruy Lopez
23. Shirov vs Kamsky 1-0291987KapsukasD44 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
24. A Vitolinsh vs Shirov 0-1241987RigaC78 Ruy Lopez
25. Shirov vs Shabalov 0-1331987RigaD18 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, Dutch
 page 1 of 123; games 1-25 of 3,065  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Shirov wins | Shirov loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 51 OF 52 ·  Later Kibitzing>
May-28-12  ConLaMismaMano: Shirov participating at the "Magistral Ciudad de Buenos Aires" in Argentina. First round already played, he beat GM Flores with the black pieces.

Official site:

Jul-04-12  LoveThatJoker: Happy 40th Birthday, GM Shirov!!


Jul-04-12  talisman: Happy birthday Alexei! born on the 4th of July. Born free!
Jan-22-13  waustad: On the broadcast and on chessbomb, they had Shirov losing in the first round of Gibtel. Now some are saying on chessbomb that the nice game by black there was really Bird-Navara and Shirov won his game. On the results page Shirov won. http://www.gibraltarchesscongress.c...
Apr-25-13  Just Another Master: The only man to crush his WC Candidates opponent and never play for the title...Despicable....A Shirov-Kaspy match might have been one of, if the most exciting ever, sure couldn't have been more boring than Kaspy vs the man Shirov demolished.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <SuperPatzer77: ....Wow - (Shirov) married and divorced (thrice). I don't know if he's a womanizer.>

Nice try at a strawman, but I hate ta break it ta ya: being thrice married and divorced does not necessarily imply being a womaniser.

How much more ill-judged a comment can you make without knowing someone, and in any case, why do you consider it your business?

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <JAM> In such a match, Shirov might even have managed a feat which he was signally unable to accomplish vs Kasparov in their tournament encounters: win a game outright.
Apr-25-13  Just Another Master: If they played a match who knows...thats why they play the games
May-05-13  The Last Straw:


Jul-10-13  The Rocket: Did Shirov ever beat kasparov in any time control? I know a former coach of mine, claiming that he did, towards the end of his(kasparovs)carrier. But I am quite sure that he is mistaken.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Joshka: <Just Another Master> <Despicable> Yea, that's one big blunder he decided to make, that I'm sure he'd like to take back! Oh well, Vlad took advantage, stepped up to the plate, and hit a home run!
Aug-14-13  The Rocket: <"In such a match, Shirov might even have managed a feat which he was signally unable to accomplish vs Kasparov in their tournament encounters: win a game outright."> A feat neither Alekhine or Fischer could boost with either before their respective world-championship matches.
Dec-04-13  waustad: He's playing a match now against Daniil Dubov in Moscow. More information can be found here:
Dec-12-13  ketchuplover: How 'bout that Magnus Carlsen?
Dec-13-13  blade2012: Shirov about Latvia and Kasparov:

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: ♔ Quote of the Day ♔

< "The fact that the 7 hours time control allows us to play a great deep game is not of great importance for mass-media." >


7 hours time control?

Jan-28-14  Shams: <Penguincw> 40/2, 20/1, G/30.
Premium Chessgames Member
  WannaBe: Most of us USCF players are used to 40 moves/2hrs + 1hr

I know in Europe, they have some extended time controls, where after 60 or 65 moves they get 30m + 10s per move.

Here is the just concluded Tata (which Gibraltar uses the same format):

<The time control is: 100 minutes for 40 moves, followed by 50 minutes for 20 moves, then 15 minutes for the remaining moves with 30 seconds cumulative increment for each move starting from the first move.>

Theoretically, the game can never end, because of the +30s.

(But we know about 50-moves rule...)

Mar-06-14  RedShield: This cat went down in my estimation after he claimed that the Kasparov-Kramnik WC match would be a fix with Kasparov retaining his title. After Kramnik's victory, he denied saying anything of the kind. Sorry, mate, but you told me yourself!
Mar-06-14  micartouse: <RedShield> You don't think Shirov had a good excuse for emotions running high and talking a little trash? I think he more than paid for it.
Mar-06-14  RedShield: There's trash-talking (yo Momma!) and there's talking trash. I suspect Shirov was somewhat under the pernicious spell of Salov.
Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: Not a big deal, but Wiki, FIDE, and SCID all spell it Alexei (with an i, not a y).

The English-language version of his book, "Fire on the Board" also uses Alexei:

So, where does the "y" come from?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Happy 42nd birthday to Super GM Alexey Shirov.
Jul-04-14  Poulsen: Ï'll second that - although he is not as super as he used to be ...
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: < Poulsen: Ï'll second that - although he is not as super as he used to be ... >

Agreed, but he has recently played against another Latvian GM past his prime: Evgeni Ellinovich Sveshnikov (as in the guy who invented the variation in the Sicilian). Shirov is currently leading 3 1/2-1/2. Of course, Shirov is rated about 300 elo higher.

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