Grandmaster (1990); World Championship challenger (1995); USSR Junior champion (jointly - 1987 & 1988); 5-time winner of the US Championship (1991, 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014).
Gata Kamsky was born June 2nd, 1974 in Novokuznetsk, Siberia. His chess career began in Russia, in the early stages of which, at the age of 12, he defeated former Candidate GM Mark Taimanov in a tournament game. He relocated to the USA in 1989 and now lives in New York. In July 1990 he became the youngest player ever to be rated in FIDE's world top ten, moving straight into the number 8 position from outside the top 100 while still untitled, representing three unique and as yet unsurpassed feats. After contesting the 1995 World Championship, he temporarily retired from chess in 1996 to pursue professional qualifications, and returned to competition chess in 2004.
<Junior> Kamsky jointly won the USSR Junior Championships in 1987 with Boris Alterman (1) and in 1988 jointly with Mikhail Ulibin. (2)
<National> Kamsky won the US Championship in 1991, 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014. His entry to the U.S. Championship in San Diego, California, in 2004 was his first major event since 1996, apart from his brief foray in the 1999 World Championship Knockout Tournament, and he scored 5.5/9. His successful 2011 defense of his national title after winning it the previous year involved him winning his pool (US Championship (Group A) (2011) and defeating Yury Shulman in the 2 game mini-match final for the title. This victory may have also contributed to his battle fitness in his successful rematch against Veselin Topalov in the 2011 Candidates matches. He was runner-up in the US Championship (2012). In May 2013, his tie for first in the US Chess Championships (2013) with Alejandro Ramirez Alvarez was decided in his favour by his winning by 2-1 in the 3rd game Armegeddon tiebreaker. In May 2014, his tie for first in the US Championship (2014) with Aleksandr Lenderman and Varuzhan Akobian was also decided in his favor by blitz playoff when he defeated Akobian after Akobian had defeated Lenderman in the preliminary blitz playoff.
<World> - <early years until 1996 retirement> Kamsky's initial participation in the world championship cycle was to qualify for the right to contest the 1990 Interzonal in Manila, where he scored 5.5/13. Three years later he contested both the FIDE and PCA Interzonals that were held in Groningen and Biel respectively, coming third in both events and thereby qualifying for both sets of Candidates matches. He reached the finals of the 1994-1995 PCA World Championship Candidates' matches, eliminating Vladimir Kramnik and Nigel Short before losing to Viswanathan Anand. In the FIDE Candidates he met with even greater success, defeating Paul van der Sterren, Anand and Valery Salov and qualifying for a match with Anatoly Karpov. After losing the match, Kamsky announced his retirement from professional chess in order to study medicine and law. This period of inactivity was punctuated only by his participation in the FIDE World Championship Knockout Tournament (1999), where he lost in the first round to the eventual winner, Alexander Khalifman.
<World> - <2005 until the present> On his return to world championship chess in 2005, his first event was the FIDE World Cup (2005), where he placed ninth defeating Zhao Jun, Dmitry Bocharov, Ilya Smirin and Alexander Grischuk in the preliminary rounds. He therefore qualified once more for the Candidates' matches. In the consequent 2007 round of Candidates matches, he won the preliminary Candidates Match: Bacrot - Kamsky (2007) but lost the Candidates Match: Gelfand - Kamsky (2007) ending his bid to qualify to play in the FIDE World Championship Tournament (2007). He rebounded in the next World Championship cycle by winning the World Chess Cup (2007). Undefeated throughout the seven-round event, he beat Ahmed Adly, Boris Avrukh, Kiril D Georgiev, Peter Svidler, Ruslan Ponomariov and Magnus Carlsen in the preliminary rounds before beating Alexey Shirov in the final to qualify for the Topalov - Kamsky Match (2009). Veselin Topalov emerged victorious by a 4.5-2.5 margin and thereby gained the right to play Anand in a match for the title. Although he unexpectedly bowed out of the World Cup (2009) in the third round to Wesley So, on the basis of his match against Topalov, FIDE seeded him into the World Championship Candidates (2011) where he again faced Topalov, this time defeating him by 2.5-1.5 (+1 =3 -0) to move into the semi finals against Boris Gelfand. Kamsky conceded the semi final match in the blitz playoff by 1.5-0.5 after drawing the classical games 2-2 (+0 -0 =4) and the rapid games 2-2 (+1 -1 =2). Soon afterwards, he qualified by reason of his rating to participate in the World Cup (2011) where he defeated Diego Rafael Di Berardino, Rustam Kasimdzhanov and Ian Nepomniachtchi in the first three rounds but lost to the eventual winner Peter Svidler in the Round of Sixteen (round 4). He qualified via rating to play in the World Cup (2013) where he defeated Chinese IM Lou Yiping in the first round, young Russian GM Aleksandr Shimanov in the second round, local Norwegian GM Jon Ludvig Hammer in the third round and Azeri GM and twice World Junior Champion Shakhriyar Mamedyarov in the Round of 16 (fourth round) (4). However, he was eliminated in the quarter final (round 5) by Russian GM Evgeny Tomashevsky and exits the contest and the 2014 World Championship cycle.
<Grand Prix series 2012-13> Vugar Gashimov 's withdrawal from chess due to ill health resulted in Kamsky replacing him in the Grand Prix series 2012-13. He started poorly with 3.5/11 in the FIDE Grand Prix Tashkent (2012). Subsequently he scored 5.5/11, placing =5th at the FIDE Grand Prix Zug (2013). He lead for much of the FIDE Grand Prix Thessaloniki (2013), but finished with =2nd on 7.5/11 adding 125 GP points to his GP tally. His last place in the FIDE Grand Prix Beijing (2013) put him out of contention for the top 2 - and consequent qualification for the 2014 Candidates tournament – in the series.
Kamsky’s first win after he relocated to the United States in 1989 was at the Buffalo Open. After a short while spent adjusting to the level of opposition he encountered by entering the world’s top 10, Kamsky scored some major tournament triumphs, including Tilburg 1990, the U.S. Championship of 1991 (3), Buenos Aires 1993, Las Palmas (1994), and shared first in 1995 at Dos Hermanas. He reached his peak world ranking of number 4 between July 1995 and January 1996. After his hiatus of 1996-2004, he was undefeated in the HB Global Challenge held in Minneapolis in 2005. Following his success at the 2005 FIDE World Cup, further successes in 2006, including second place at the MTel Masters (2006) behind Topalov and at the 37th Chess Olympiad (2006) helped reestablish his position as one of the world's leading players. In 2010 he won the Reggio Emilia (2009) (which finished in January 2010), the Philadelphia Open (2010), the President's Cup in Baku, and the Baku Open (2010). After his victory in the 2011 US Championship, he won the 39th World Open (2011) on tiebreak from Michael Adams. Kamsky has since scored 7/13 (+3 -2 =8) at Tata Steel (2012) and was runner up in the inaugural ACP Golden Classic (2012), which showcased longer classical time controls and pre-computer style adjournments. In August 2012, he was outright winner of the 2012 Washington International. 2013 started with a modest 7.5/10 (=5th) at the Tradewise Gibraltar (2013). Later in the year he scored an even more modest 1.5/6, placing 4th in the quadrangular DRR category 22 Sinquefield Cup (2013).
Kamsky started 2014 at the Tradewise Gibraltar (2014), scoring a par-for-rating 7/10 and placing =10th. In March he won the 36th Annual Marchand Open held in Rochester, New York and the 23rd Annual Eastern Class Championships held in Massachusetts. In April he won the 8th Annual Philadelphia Open outright with 7.5/9. Two months later he won the 2014 National Open in Las Vegas outright with 5/6. He was less successful in July when he competed in the 42nd Annual World Open in Arlington, Virginia, where he scored 6/9, losing 11 rating points. In October, he placed =1st with 5.5/7 alongside Sergey Erenburg at the 2014 Washington Chess Congress, also held in Arlington. In December he placed =1st at the 98th Annual Marshall Chess Club Championship.
<Olympiads> Kamsky’s inaugural Olympic representation was for the USA at the 1992 Olympiad, where playing on top board, he lead his team to 4th place. His next appearances at the Olympiads were when, still playing top board, he lead his US team to a bronze medal at 37th Chess Olympiad (2006) and at the Olympiad (2008). Kamsky played board 2 for the US at the Chess Olympiad (2010) and the Chess Olympiad (2012), on the latter occasion scoring an individual bronze. He also played board 2 for the US at the Chess Olympiad (2014), where a poor performance reduced his rating to below 2700 for the first time since January 2010.
<World Team Championship> Kamsky first played in this event in 1993, when he played top board for the US, leading it to team gold. Subsequent to his victory in the 2011 US Championship, he played board 1 for the USA at the World Chess Team Championship (2011), scoring 5.5/9 and winning an individual bronze. He played board 2 for the US in the FIDE World Team Championship (2013), helping his team to 4th place.
<National and Continental leagues> Kamsky played in the European Club Cup from 2007-2010 inclusive and in 2012 and 2013, winning three team golds (in 2007, 2008 and 2012) and one individual gold in 2012. His best results were in the 2012 season when he won team and individual gold playing board five for SOCAR Baku at the 28th European Club Cup (2012), this result propelling him to the top of the rating list for the Americas at that time (November 2012). He also helped SOCAR to a bronze at the European Club Cup (2013).
Kamsky also played in the Russian Premier League in 2008, winning individual bronze and team gold with the Ural Sverdlovsk region club, and in 2013 and 2014 when he played top board for Kazan.
In 2004 he returned to active competition after his 8 year lay off from chess in the New York Masters rapid competition. August 2010 saw Kamsky becoming the world rapid champion when he won clear first at the World Rapid Chess Championship (Mainz Chess Classic) with 10.0/11, defeating world #5 and defending champion Levon Aronian, 2004 FIDE champion Rustam Kasimdzhanov and Sergey Karjakin en route to the title. In June 2014, he came =1st alongside Timur Gareev at the Spirits of Chess rapid round robin event held in Las Vegas.
Kamsky has been a member of chessgames.com since early 2010, his userid being: User: DarkNolan.
Rating and Ranking
As of 1 February 2015, Kamsky's ratings were:
<Standard> 2671 and is therefore the #3 player in the USA behind Hikaru Nakamura and Wesley So, and #5 in the Americas. He is also #70 in the world.
<Rapid> 2729 (inactive); and
<Blitz> 2704 (world #46).
Sources and references
Wikipedia article: Gata Kamsky; Live rating list: http://www.2700chess.com/; (1) [rusbase-1]; (2) [rusbase-2]; (3) http://graeme.50webs.com/chesschamp...; (4) http://m.washingtontimes.com/news/2... (a Washington Times article features one game of his which advanced him to the next stage).
Last updated 5 Feb 2015