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Ruslan Ponomariov
Photo Copyright © 2001 Ruslan Ponomariov
Used with permission.

Number of games in database: 2,116
Years covered: 1990 to 2023
Last FIDE rating: 2631 (2673 rapid, 2703 blitz)
Highest rating achieved in database: 2768
Overall record: +421 -189 =684 (59.0%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 822 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Sicilian (268) 
    B90 B43 B22 B30 B47
 Ruy Lopez (105) 
    C78 C67 C84 C65 C77
 French Defense (82) 
    C11 C07 C10 C05 C18
 Slav (65) 
    D11 D10 D15 D12 D17
 Sicilian Najdorf (60) 
    B90 B91 B92 B96 B93
 Caro-Kann (52) 
    B12 B18 B17 B10 B13
With the Black pieces:
 Sicilian (124) 
    B90 B31 B81 B32 B80
 Ruy Lopez (116) 
    C67 C65 C78 C84 C95
 Nimzo Indian (64) 
    E32 E21 E34 E47 E25
 Queen's Gambit Accepted (56) 
    D27 D20 D22 D26 D25
 Queen's Pawn Game (56) 
    D02 A45 E00 E10 A46
 Queen's Gambit Declined (53) 
    D37 D38 D31 D30 D35
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Ponomariov vs Topalov, 2005 1-0
   Ponomariov vs Gelfand, 2008 1-0
   Ponomariov vs Kramnik, 2010 1-0
   Ponomariov vs Ivanchuk, 2002 1-0
   Ponomariov vs Fritz, 2005 1-0
   Ponomariov vs I Sokolov, 2007 1-0
   Ponomariov vs Grischuk, 1994 1-0
   Ponomariov vs Morozevich, 2006 1-0
   Ponomariov vs S Conquest, 2000 1-0
   Ponomariov vs Kramnik, 2003 1-0

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: [what is this?]
   FIDE World Championship Knockout Tournament (1999)
   FIDE World Championship Knockout Tournament (2000)

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Efim Geller Memorial (2005)
   Ukrainian Championship (2011)
   European Championship (2001)
   Superstars Hotel Bali (2002)
   World Cup (2009)
   Pivdenny Bank Chess Cup (2008)
   World Cup (2011)
   8th Ukrainian Team Championship (2000)
   World Cup (2007)
   World Cup (2005)
   FIDE Moscow Grand Prix (2002)
   European Championship (2023)
   Elista Olympiad (1998)
   World Junior Championship (1997)
   Istanbul Olympiad (2000)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Match Ponomariov! by docjan
   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

   🏆 FIDE World Cup
   Ponomariov vs F Berkes (Aug-10-23) 1/2-1/2
   F Berkes vs Ponomariov (Aug-09-23) 1-0
   Le Quang Liem vs Ponomariov (Aug-07-23) 1/2-1/2, rapid
   Ponomariov vs Le Quang Liem (Aug-07-23) 1/2-1/2, rapid
   Ponomariov vs Le Quang Liem (Aug-07-23) 1/2-1/2, rapid

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

(born Oct-11-1983, 39 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 Batista 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 Ponomariov’s 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 Governor’s 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

Last updated: 2016-08-05 22:15:51

 page 1 of 85; games 1-25 of 2,116  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Ponomariov vs M Brodsky 1-0291990KhersonE25 Nimzo-Indian, Samisch
2. L Bolshinsky vs Ponomariov  0-1521992Donetsk-ch U12B08 Pirc, Classical
3. R Murphy vs Ponomariov  1-0281994EUch U12 DisneyB01 Scandinavian
4. Bacrot vs Ponomariov  1-0441994EUch U12 DisneyD34 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch
5. Ponomariov vs A Ermekov 1-0421994Wch U12C62 Ruy Lopez, Old Steinitz Defense
6. J J de Melo vs Ponomariov 0-1241994Wch U12A90 Dutch
7. Ponomariov vs S Azarov  1-0371994Wch U12C68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
8. R Markus vs Ponomariov  0-1271994Wch U12B02 Alekhine's Defense
9. Ponomariov vs Bacrot ½-½731994Wch U12B53 Sicilian
10. R Jedynak vs Ponomariov ½-½241994Wch U12D32 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch
11. Ponomariov vs Aronian 0-1551994Wch U12B53 Sicilian
12. Ganguly vs Ponomariov  ½-½941994Wch U12B11 Caro-Kann, Two Knights, 3...Bg4
13. Ponomariov vs Grischuk 1-0231994Wch U12B09 Pirc, Austrian Attack
14. M Chetverik vs Ponomariov  ½-½331995RUS-chTE06 Catalan, Closed, 5.Nf3
15. V Bezman vs Ponomariov 0-1511995Yalta opA13 English
16. Ponomariov vs A Getmanchuk  1-0481995Yalta opC43 Petrov, Modern Attack
17. Ponomariov vs O Eismont  ½-½141995RUS-chTE15 Queen's Indian
18. B Margolin vs Ponomariov 1-0341995RUS-chTC53 Giuoco Piano
19. P Tregubov vs Ponomariov 0-1371995RUS-chTC50 Giuoco Piano
20. Ponomariov vs V Barshevich  ½-½621995Yalta opB29 Sicilian, Nimzovich-Rubinstein
21. Ponomariov vs S Vokarev  0-1341995RUS-chTD85 Grunfeld
22. Ponomariov vs G Kiselev  ½-½181995RUS-chTD47 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
23. N Purgin vs Ponomariov  ½-½231995RUS-chTE10 Queen's Pawn Game
24. P Kiriakov vs Ponomariov  1-0421995Yalta opA81 Dutch
25. N Kushch vs Ponomariov  1-0651995Yalta opD34 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch
 page 1 of 85; games 1-25 of 2,116  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>
Apr-23-14  dx9293: Does anyone know when Ruslan's next tournament is?
Apr-27-14  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.

Aug-02-16  Conrad93: <The operative word is haircut:

That's a traditional Ukrainian haircut.
It looks fine.

Aug-02-16  morfishine: I don't think there's something that is categorized, recognized and noted as a "traditional Ukranian haircut"


Aug-02-16  john barleycorn: *****

<morfishine: I don't think there's something that is categorized, recognized and noted as a "traditional Ukranian haircut">

that is what you think. Is it relevant?


Aug-02-16  Conrad93: <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?>

Well, it's nice to see your country be successful at something when your country is plagued by corruption and violence, and when a bully next door keeps violating your sovereignty, or when most of the populace can barely can get a decent living wage.

Combine that with the fact that Ukraine has the fastest growing AIDS epidemic in the world, and you can see why Ukrainians are desperate to see their country win.

Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: As for "traditional Ukrainian haircut" - look up Chupryna on Wikipedia :).
Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: ...And even better the German article on it, has much more details
Aug-05-16  diagonal: Pono praises Magnus: at Bilbao 2016 where Ruslan Ponomariov was commentator with renowned Leontxo Garcia
Oct-18-16  freeman8201: yes. Update the picture.
Dec-08-16  dumbgai:

Ponomariov: "Carlsen has stopped making progress"

I'll take his word for it, since nobody has more experience than Ponomariov on the matter of a talented young player that stopped making progress>

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gottschalk: Splendid Game. One of Ponomariov's most beautiful wins, perhaps the most beautiful.

[Event "II Neoclassical Masters"]
[Site "Madrid ESP"]
[Date "2016.06.03"]
[Round "2.1"]
[White "Ponomariov, R."]
[Black "Short, N."]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A37"]
[WhiteElo "2715"]
[BlackElo "2655"]
[PlyCount "57"]
[EventDate "2016.06.03"]

1. g3 g6 2. Bg2 Bg7 3. c4 c5 4. Nc3 Nc6 5. Nf3 b6 6. O-O Bb7 7. e3 Bxc3 8. bxc3f5 9. d4 Nf6 10. d5 Na5 11. Nd2 O-O 12. e4 fxe4 13. Re1 e6 14. Nxe4 Nxe4 15.Rxe4 Qf6 16. Bf4 Rae8 17. Qd3 e5 18. Bh6 Qxf2+ 19. Kh1 d6 20. Rf1 Qxa2 21. Rg4Rxf1+ 22. Qxf1 Qa4 23. Qf6 Qd7 24. Rxg6+ hxg6 25. Qxg6+ Kh8 26. Bh3 Qh7 27.Qf6+ Kg8 28. Be6+ Rxe6 29. Qf8# 1-0

I wanted to vote for this game as the best game of 2016, but, Unfortunately, it is not part of the database.

In the end, Ruslan also won the tournament.

Apr-29-17  PhilFeeley: <Gottschalk> Nice game. Has he played since then? Haven't heard much about him in the past year.
Mar-22-18  AlbertoDominguez: The page reads

"The following year he was eliminated from the FIDE World Championship Knockout Tournament (2001) in the first round by Vietnamese GM Thien Hai Dao."

That should read the 2000 tournament. Pono actually won the 2001/2 tournament.

May-12-18  cro777: Try to be like the turtle - at ease in your own shell.

Ponomariov: "I've been very devoted to my family for the past few years but I'm starting to feel hungry for chess again.

Planning my first steps towards a new phase in my career, slowly but steadily... like a turtle."

May-23-20  wordfunph: "When some of my friends who play chess on occasion ask me what opening to play with white against a much stronger opponent in order not to lose fast, I suggest starting with 1.Nf3, 2.g3, 3.Bg2, 4.0-0, 5.d3, without really looking at Black' s replies. At least your king is going to be safe and it's not so easy to blunder something quickly."

- GM Ruslan Ponomariov

Source: New in Chess Yearbook #127

May-20-21  Albertan: Ponomariov, knockout expert

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