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Photo Copyright © 2001 Ruslan Ponomariov
Used with permission.
Ruslan Ponomariov
Number of games in database: 1,689
Years covered: 1990 to 2016
Last FIDE rating: 2712 (2712 rapid, 2695 blitz)
Highest rating achieved in database: 2768
Overall record: +368 -158 =556 (59.7%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games
      Based on games in the database; may be incomplete.
      607 exhibition games, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Sicilian (209) 
    B90 B43 B22 B47 B30
 Ruy Lopez (90) 
    C78 C67 C88 C77 C80
 French Defense (64) 
    C11 C07 C10 C18 C05
 Slav (56) 
    D11 D15 D10 D12 D17
 Sicilian Najdorf (50) 
    B90 B91 B92 B96 B93
 Ruy Lopez, Closed (38) 
    C88 C91 C89 C96 C84
With the Black pieces:
 Sicilian (102) 
    B90 B81 B31 B32 B51
 Ruy Lopez (92) 
    C67 C65 C78 C88 C96
 Nimzo Indian (47) 
    E32 E21 E47 E34 E46
 Queen's Gambit Accepted (47) 
    D27 D20 D22 D24 D23
 Queen's Gambit Declined (41) 
    D37 D38 D31 D30 D35
 Queen's Pawn Game (39) 
    D02 A45 E00 E10 A40
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Ponomariov vs Topalov, 2005 1-0
   Ponomariov vs I Sokolov, 2007 1-0
   Ponomariov vs Gelfand, 2008 1-0
   Ponomariov vs Kramnik, 2010 1-0
   Ponomariov vs Morozevich, 2006 1-0
   Ponomariov vs Kramnik, 2003 1-0
   Ponomariov vs Grischuk, 1994 1-0
   F Vallejo Pons vs Ponomariov, 2003 0-1
   Ponomariov vs Z Gyimesi, 2005 1-0
   Ponomariov vs Ivanchuk, 2002 1-0

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

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Pivdenny Bank Chess Cup (2008)
   Cuernavaca Young Masters (2006)
   Dortmund (2010)
   Efim Geller Memorial (2005)
   Ukrainian Championship (2011)
   Superstars Hotel Bali (2002)
   World Cup (2009)
   SportAccord World Mind Games (Men, Basque) (2013)
   World Cup (2011)
   Russian Team Championships (2011)
   Donostia Chess Festival (2011)
   World Chess Cup (2007)
   FIDE World Cup (2005)
   Chess Olympiad (2014)
   Chess Olympiad (2012)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Match Ponomariov! by amadeus
   Ponomariov - Don't Under-estimate Him by Runemaster
   King's Indian by freeman8201
   Super Ponomariov by danielpi
   Pirc by freeman8201
   ruslan ponomariov- one of the greatest players o by kyenny13579.ken
   Linares 2002 by suenteus po 147
   1997 World Junior chess championship by gauer
   Biel 2000 by suenteus po 147
   1994 WYCC (open) U-12 by gauer

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Ruslan Ponomariov
Search Google for Ruslan Ponomariov
FIDE player card for Ruslan Ponomariov

(born Oct-11-1983, 32 years old) Ukraine
[what is this?]
IM (1997); GM (1997); European U18 Champion (1996); World U18 Champion (1997); FIDE World Champion (2002-2004); Candidate (2007); Ukrainian Champion (2011).

World Championship cycles

At the age of 12 won the European Under-18 Championship. At age 13, he won the World Under-18 Championship, and the following year he was awarded his grandmaster title at the age of 14 years and 17 days, after gaining his third GM norm by winning the Kiev NIKA-VV International tournament, thereby setting a new record for youngest grandmaster until 1999 when Bu Xiangzhi scored the GM title before his 14th birthday. Two years later, he participated in a World Championship cycle for the first time, qualifying for the FIDE World Championship Knockout Tournament (1999). There he beat Qatari GM Mohamad Al-Modiahki in the first round before losing to Veselin Topalov in the second round blitz tiebreaker. The following year he was eliminated from the FIDE World Championship Knockout Tournament (2001) in the first round by Vietnamese GM Thien Hai Dao.

In 2002 Ponomariov defeated Vassily Ivanchuk in the FIDE knock-out World Championship to become the youngest FIDE champion ever at the age of eighteen. In 2003, the match with Garry Kasparov at the Kasparov - Ponomariov World Championship Match (2003) that would have led to a reunification match with the winner of the Kramnik - Leko World Championship Match (2004) under the terms of the Prague Agreement fell through. He remained FIDE champion until the next FIDE championship cycle, the FIDE World Championship Knockout Tournament (2004) won by Rustam Kasimdzhanov. Ponomariov was runner up at the FIDE World Cup (2005) to Levon Aronian, which qualified him for the Candidates cycle. In the Candidates Match: Ponomariov - Rublevsky (2007), he was edged out 3.5-2.5 (1 loss 5 draws). In the 2007 World Cup, he reached the quarter finals (Round 5) before bowing out to the eventual winner, Gata Kamsky. He also reached the final of the World Cup (2009), only to lose on tiebreak to Boris Gelfand. However, this result qualified him for participation in the World Cup (2011), where he defeated Zimbabwian IM Robert Gwaze in the first round, Ni Hua in the second, Zahar Efimenko in the third, Lazaro Bruzon in the fourth, Vugar Gashimov in the quarter-final, but lost to the eventual winner Peter Svidler in the semi final. He then faced Vassily Ivanchuk in a playoff for third to determine the third qualification from the Cup for the 2012 Candidates event, but unfortunately for him, lost the match by 1.5-2.5. However, as a semi-finalist in the event, he automatically qualified for the World Cup (2013), where he defeated Torbjorn Ringdal Hansen in the first round but was unexpectedly eliminated from the event when he lost to Russian teenager GM Daniil Dubov in the Armageddon blitz tiebreaker.

Ponomariov's 2014 World Championship campaign via the Grand Prix 2012-13 series started with 5.5/11 and =7th at the FIDE Grand Prix Tashkent (2012), providing him with an initial GP points tally of 50 points. His =3rd (with 6/11!) at FIDE Grand Prix Zug (2013) notched up another 100 GP points, but his =4th at the FIDE Grand Prix Thessaloniki (2013) added only 85 points to his GP total, eventually eliminating him from contention for the top two places that qualify for the 2014 Candidates. (1)


Ponomariov won the Ukrainian Championship (2011) with 8.5/11 (TPR 2852), a half point ahead of outright 2nd place getter, Pavel Eljanov. He was runner-up on tiebreak behind Yuriy Kryvoruchko with 7.5/11 at the Ukrainian Championship (2013) and =3rd at the Ukrainian Championship (2014).

Classical tournaments

Among Ponomariovís notable results after gaining his GM title are first at the Donetsk Zonal in 1998, 5/7 in the European Club Cup 2000 (including a victory over then-FIDE World Champion Alexander Khalifman), joint first with 7.5/9 at Torshavn 2000, 8.5/11 for Ukraine in the 2001 Chess Olympiad in Istanbul, winning gold medal on board 2, first place with 7/10 in the 2001 Governorís Cup in Kramatorsk, and equal first at the European Individual Championship 2001.

In 2002, Ponomariov came sole second behind Kasparov at Linares. In 2006, he was =1st at the Tal Memorial (2006) and equal 1st (winning on tiebreak) at the Cuernavaca Young Masters (2006). In 2007, he came second to Veselin Topalov in the Liga de Campeones (2007), and =1st (2nd on tiebreak) with Sergei Movsesian at the Czech Coal Carlsbad Tournament (2007) . In 2008, he came =2nd at the Tal Memorial (2008). In 2009, he came =1st with Hikaru Nakamura (2nd on tiebreak) in the Donostia Chess Festival (2009) at San Sebastian. In May 2010, Ponomariov came in equal second behind countryman Pavel Eljanov at the FIDE Grand Prix (2010), and broke through at Dortmund (2010) with a 2837 performance to take outright first with 6.5/10. In 2011, he scored 6.5/13 in the Tata Steel (2011) and came =3rd with 5/10 at Dortmund (2011). In 2012, he came 3rd at the category 19 Dortmund (2012) behind Fabiano Caruana and Sergey Karjakin respectively and then placed clear 2nd in the category 18 13th Karpov International (2012) with 5.5/9, half a point behind the winner Dmitry Jakovenko.

In June 2014, he competed in the strong 5th Danzhou Tournament (2014), and placed =3rd with 5.5/9. His next major sojourn at Dortmund Sparkassen Chess Meeting (2014) produced relatively meagre pickings, scoring 3/7, although the strength of the tournament meant he lost only a handful of ratings points. Similarly, he was 4th and last at Bilbao Masters (2014), but the relatively even if strong field cushioned his loss of rating points.

Olympiads and national team

Ponomariov played for Ukraine in the 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2010, 2012 and 2014 Olympiads winning 2 team golds (2004 & 2010), three team bronzes (1998, 2000 and 2012), an individual gold (board 2 in 2000) and an individual silver (2nd reserve 1998).

He played top board for Ukraine in FIDE World Team Championship (2015) and lead his team to a silver medal.


He has proved to be an excellent rapids player. In 2002, he came =1st (second on tiebreak to Judit Polgar) at the Superstars Hotel Bali (2002). He won the 16th Ciudad de Leon (2003), the Pamplona International (2005) and the Efim Geller Memorial (2005) in Odessa. He was =1st (2nd on tiebreak behind Pavel Tregubov) at Pivdenny Bank Chess Cup (2008) and equal third in the Zurich Champions Rapid (2009). In 2013, he won the bronze at the FIDE World Blitz Championship (2013) with 20/30, half a point behind the new World Blitz Champion Le Quang Liem and on tiebreak behind silver medal winner Alexander Grischuk.

Ratings and rankings

Ponomariov has been ranked as high as world #6 on a few occasions in 2002 and 2006. On 1 July 2011, his rating rose to 2764 (when he was ranked #10), his highest rating so far.

Sources and references

(1) Wikipedia article: FIDE Grand Prix 2012%E2%80%932013

Live rating:; Wikipedia article: Ruslan Ponomariov

Latest update 1 June 2015

 page 1 of 68; games 1-25 of 1,689  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. Ponomariov vs M Brodsky 1-029 1990 KhersonE25 Nimzo-Indian, Samisch
2. L Bolshinsky vs Ponomariov  0-152 1992 Donetsk-ch U12B08 Pirc, Classical
3. Ponomariov vs Grischuk 1-023 1994 Wch U12 Szeged (9)B09 Pirc, Austrian Attack
4. J De Melo vs Ponomariov 0-124 1994 Wch U12A90 Dutch
5. Ponomariov vs Aronian 0-155 1994 Wch U12B53 Sicilian
6. Ponomariov vs A Ermekov 1-042 1994 Wch U12C62 Ruy Lopez, Old Steinitz Defense
7. R Jedynak vs Ponomariov ½-½24 1994 Wch U12D32 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch
8. R Murphy vs Ponomariov  1-028 1994 EUch U12 DisneyB01 Scandinavian
9. Ponomariov vs Bacrot ½-½73 1994 WYFWC Szeged B12(5)B53 Sicilian
10. R Markus vs Ponomariov  0-127 1994 Wch U12B02 Alekhine's Defense
11. Bacrot vs Ponomariov  1-044 1994 EUch U12 DisneyD34 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch
12. Ponomariov vs S Azarov  1-037 1994 Wch U12C68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
13. Ganguly vs Ponomariov  ½-½94 1994 Wch U12B11 Caro-Kann, Two Knights, 3...Bg4
14. Ponomariov vs N Danilov  1-029 1995 EU-ch U12C50 Giuoco Piano
15. Goroshko vs Ponomariov 0-137 1995 Ukrainian Ch U-12 FinalA00 Uncommon Opening
16. N Purgin vs Ponomariov  ½-½23 1995 RUS-chTE10 Queen's Pawn Game
17. F Langheinrich vs Ponomariov  ½-½16 1995 EU-ch U12C41 Philidor Defense
18. Y Drozdovskij vs Ponomariov 0-156 1995 Ukrainian Ch U-12 FinalA10 English
19. Ponomariov vs A Getmanchuk  1-048 1995 Yalta opC43 Petrov, Modern Attack
20. Akobian vs Ponomariov 0-120 1995 EU-ch U12A00 Uncommon Opening
21. Ponomariov vs N Firman 1-045 1995 Ukrainian Ch U-12 FinalC05 French, Tarrasch
22. Ponomariov vs S Vokarev  0-134 1995 RUS-chTD85 Grunfeld
23. N Vlassov vs Ponomariov  ½-½13 1995 Yalta opA00 Uncommon Opening
24. Ponomariov vs S Azarov 1-044 1995 EU-ch U12C49 Four Knights
25. Ponomariov vs A Tkachenko 1-038 1995 Ukrainian Ch U-12 FinalB56 Sicilian
 page 1 of 68; games 1-25 of 1,689  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Ponomariov wins | Ponomariov loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 45 OF 45 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Premium Chessgames Member
  norami: Ponomariov turns 30 in a week. It now looks like he peaked at age 18 and will never be better than he was at that young age. What happened?
Oct-04-13  dx9293: <norami> Start at page 23 and read for a few pages.

Basically, the stuff that happened to Ponomariov 10-11 years ago seems to have destroyed his motivation in chess (as he himself admitted).

He went to university and got a law degree, now he is married and seems to have moved on with his life.

Ruslan Ponomariov: the ONLY great player in chess history to reach his peak as a teenager. As I said recently on another page, the greatest lost talent since Andrei Sokolov.

Premium Chessgames Member
  norami: <dx9293> He may have moved on with his life but he's still a professional chessplayer, isn't he? Or is he a lawyer who plays chess as a hobby?
Oct-04-13  dx9293: <norami> He still plays professionally, but going back to school to get a law degree is not something a player striving to be at the very top would do...
Premium Chessgames Member
  norami: Maybe he was a chess monomaniac as a teenager but later discovered certain things he liked better.
Oct-05-13  dx9293: Yes, <norami> but a player trying to get to, or remain at, the very top doesn't get to discover things "they like better" than chess.

That's what players rated 2750 and below, do. It's a personal choice, and I would never criticize anyone for having a life outside of chess, but it doesn't go with being an absolute top player...the player needs to make a choice.

Oct-11-13  Kikoman: <Player of the Day>

Happy 30th Birthday GM Ruslan Ponomariov! :D

Oct-11-13  dx9293: Yes, Happy 30th, Ruslan!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Happy Birthday to the <POTD> and also former world champion: Ruslan Ponomariov.
Oct-11-13  mrandersson: Think new picture is needed guys how young did Ruslan look way back in 2001.
Oct-11-13  talisman: happy birthday champ.
Premium Chessgames Member
  waustad: He's one of the many who live in Spain and play for someplace else. Happy B'day.
Oct-13-13  ketchuplover: Belated Happy Birthday to Mr.Ponomariov
Feb-23-14  LIFE Master AJ: This photo is wildly out of date.
Premium Chessgames Member
  john barleycorn: <<Feb-23-14 Premium Chessgames Member by courtesy of John Barleycorn><LIFE Master AJ>: This photo is wildly out of date.>>

Ever looked at your picture, pretty boy?

Apr-23-14  dx9293: Does anyone know when Ruslan's next tournament is?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Caissanist: Well, this picture isn't that new either but I hope Chessgames gets permission to use it anyway:
May-10-14  Whitehat1963: I find it interesting that most of the games on Pono's notable games list are from around 10 years ago. The most recent game was played in 2010. Is his career on the decline already? Has he begun playing a more sober and conservative style of chess? Is he no longer getting invites that inspire his creativity? What's going on with Ponomariov?
Jul-04-14  dx9293: Ruslan tied for second in the Danzhou GM tournament with +2=7. A decent result, and a good warmup for Dortmund I hope!
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Pono scored a rare victory over Aronian today in the first round of the World Mind Games' rapid event.Their prior record, according to the DB here, at least:

<Classical games: Levon Aronian beat Ruslan Ponomariov 4 to 0, with 9 draws.

Including rapid/exhibition games: Levon Aronian beat Ruslan Ponomariov 11 to 1, with 14 draws.>

Oct-10-15  The Kings Domain: He good. :-)
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <Ruslan Ponomariov ‏@Ponomariov Oct 16

If someone has problems with your haircut, clothes style, make-up, gender, nationality, etc. @#$% them! We are living at the free world!>

The operative word is haircut:

Premium Chessgames Member
  Alex Schindler: Can anyone confirm that Ponomariov's victory over Fritz in 2005 is the last time a human beat a world-class engine at even time controls without material odds?

He may have "peaked" as a teenager, but at least afterward he gave the human race a bit of hope against the inevitable singularity!

Nov-25-15  Petrosianic: How does Ponomariov winning a game make you or the rest of the human race look good? Isn't that the Sports Syndrome, where people feel that their team winning is the same as if they won something themselves?
Dec-27-15  epistle: <Conrad93: This is Wesley So in the future. >

We will then see what happens when the present and the future collide.

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