International Master (1993); Grandmaster (1994); gold medalist in the European Club Cup (1997); US Champion (2006); two-time gold medalist at the World Team Championships (1997 and 2010).
Alexander Onischuk was born in Sevastopol in Crimea and immigrated to the USA in 2001. He has been coach of the Texas Tech chess team since 2012. In 2014, Texas Tech was named Chess College of the Year by the USCF, and Onischuk the Grandmaster of the Year. (1)
<Age and national> He finished 2nd at the under 16 World Championship in 1991, and was also runner-up at the 1995 under 20 World Championship. In 2006 Onischuk won the U.S. Chess Championship. (2) He placed outright 4th at the US Championships (2015) and tied for share of 2nd-3rd at the US Championship (Group B) (2011) to advance to the US Championship (group B play-off) (2011) at which point Samuel Shankland advanced to the US Championship (Knock-out) (2011) stage.
<World> Onischuk played in the FIDE World Championship Knockout Tournament (2000) where he beat Belarussian-Swedish GM Evgenij Agrest in the first round before losing to Latvian-Spanish super-GM Alexey Shirov in the 2nd round. At the FIDE World Cup (2005), he again won in the 1st round, defeating Russian GM Valerij Popov before losing to Cuban GM Lazaro Bruzon Batista in the 2nd round. His best World Cup result came at the World Chess Cup (2007) where he defeated Armenian GM Zaven Andriasian and the veteran Predrag Nikolic from Bosnia and Herzegovina before bowing out in the 3rd round to Shirov. He again made it to the 2nd round of the World Cup (2009), beating Brazilian GM Diego Flores in the first round and losing to German GM Arkadij Naiditsch in the 2nd round. He qualified for the World Cup (2011) World Cup (2011) through his results in Zonal 2.1, defeating Ivan Ivanisevic in the first round, but losing to David Navara in the second round. Again qualifying via Zonal 2.1, Onischuk defeated Venezuelan #1, GM Eduardo Patricio Iturrizaga Bonelli in the first round of the World Cup (2013) but lost to Cuban super GM Leinier Dominguez Perez in the second round.
Onischuk's 6/11 for fourth place at the US Championships (2015) (aka Zonal 2.1) qualified him to play in the World Cup (2015) where he defeated Andrei Volokitin in the first round but lost to Sergey Karjakin in the second set of rapid tiebreaker (10+10) to exit the tournament.
Onischuk’s numerous wins and equal first placements in tournaments since arriving in the USA include:
- 1st in the Western States Open 2001
- =1st at the North American Opens in 2001 and 2005
- =1st at the US Masters 2002
- 1st in the Karpov Poikovsky tournament in 2002
- =1st in the 2002 World Open
- =1st in the Lindsborg Rotary Open
- =1st at the 9th Pacific Coast Open
- =1st (2nd on tiebreak behind Magnus Carlsen) at the Biel Chess Festival (2007)
- =1st at the SPICE Cup (2008)
- 1st at the GM Carlos Torre Repetto Memorial Knockout Tournament in 2008
- 1st at the 2009 Moscow Open
- =1st at the 2009 Mexican Open and 1st in the 2010 Mexican Open
- =1st at the Spice Cup (2010)
- =1st at the Pittsburgh Open in 2011 and
- 1st at the 2011 UTD GM Invitational (in Texas).
Other good results include =2nd at the American Continental Championships of 2003 and American Continental Championship (2005), 2nd at the 1st GMA International Cup Open held in the Philippines in 2006, 2nd at the US Championships in 2007, 2008 and 2009
Onischuk has always been an outstanding team player.
<Olympiad> He represented Ukraine in the Olympiads of 1994, 1996 and 1998, winning team silver in 1996 and team bronze in 1998. He missed the Olympiads of 2000 and 2002, resuming Olympiad participation – this time for his adopted US – at the Olympiads of 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014, helping his team win bronze in 2006 and 2008. He has played board 3 in the recent Olympiads.
<National team events> Onischuk played board 2 for Ukraine at the 1997 World Team Championship, and helped his team to win the event, winning gold. Onischuk’s subsequent participation in the World Team Championship was with the US team in 2005, 2010, 2011 and 2013, winning individual gold and team silver in 2010.
He also represented Ukraine in the European Team Championship in 1999. Most recently, he played top board for the USA in the Pan American Team Championship of 2013, winning team gold and individual silver.
<Leagues> Onischuk has played in the European Club Cup (ECC) in most years since 1994, usually playing in a different club in each subsequent year. His team, Ladya Azov, won gold in 1997. His other club successes in the ECC have been team bronze with Gazovik Tyumen in 2001 and team bronze with PVK Kyiv in 2008. He also played with Kyiv in 2009 but has not played in the ECC since then. He played in the Russian League in 2001, from 2003-2005, and from 2007-2008, winning two individual golds and an individual bronze, and two team silvers and a team bronze. He played in the Ukrainian League in 2007, 2008 and 2009 winning team gold on each occasion.
He has also played in the Bundesliga in 2000, 2005, 2008 and 2010 and in the FYROM Team championship in 2002
He has worked as Anatoly Karpov ’s second and, more recently, as a second to Veselin Topalov during the Kramnik - Topalov World Championship Match (2006). On moving to the USA, he accepted a chess scholarship from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, which he later led to multiple national championships.
Ratings and rankings
Onischuk’s highest rating to date was 2701 in July 2010 when he was ranked #46 in the world, while his highest ever world ranking was #26 in July 1999 and July 2001 when he was rated 2657 and 2667 respectively. He entered the top 100 in the world in July 1994 and has remained there since then apart from a brief hiatus in the July-September 1995 rating period when he slipped to 107.
Wikipedia article: Alexander Onischuk; (1) http://today.ttu.edu/2014/06/chess-...; (2) http://graeme.50webs.com/chesschamp...