Teimour Radjabov was born March 12, 1987 in Baku and started playing chess when he was four years old. He became an International Master in 1999 at the age of 11 years and 11 months and in 2001, at the age of 14 years and 14 days, he became the youngest Grandmaster in the world at the time, and the second youngest person after Bu Xiangzhi ever to become a GM at that time. In January 2002, with a rating of 2599 he entered FIDE's World Top 100 rating list, the 2nd youngest to ever do so after Judit Polgar, with an initial world ranking of 93rd. He has remained on this list ever since.
He became the youngest player ever to defeat long-time World Champion Garry Kasparov in 2003. That same year he tallied wins against FIDE World Champions Viswanathan Anand and Ruslan Ponomariov.
In 1994, Radjabov won an U9-Tournament in Dresden winning all games. He was U10 European Champion 1996 and 1997, and U12 European and World Champion in 1998. In 1999, he won the European Under-18 Championship when he was still 12, a record that still stands.
Radjabov’s first tilt at the world championship cycle was during the FIDE World Championship knockout tournament held in Moscow in 2002, where he lost in the first round to Jaan Yukhanovich Ehlvest . In 2004, he made it to the semifinals of the FIDE World Championship Knockout Tournament, but lost to the British player Michael Adams after defeating Mateusz Bartel, Peter Heine Nielsen, Etienne Bacrot, Pavel Smirnov, and Leinier Dominguez Perez in preliminary rounds. In the FIDE World Cup (2005) qualifier, he bested Diego Flores and Murtas Muratovich Kazhgaleyev before losing to Loek van Wely in round 3. In the
World Chess Cup (2007) , he beat Vladimir Genba before bowing out to Bartlomiej Macieja in round 2. At the
World Cup (2009) he defeated Mohamed Ezat but lost to Konstantin Rufovich Sakaev in round 2. Despite his poor showing in the 2009 World Cup, Radjabov had placed second in the FIDE Grand Prix 2008–2010 series, qualifying him for the World Championship Candidates (2011) for the World Chess Championship 2012. There, Radjabov was eliminated in the quarterfinal by Vladimir Kramnik in blitz tiebreak after tieing the classical and rapid matches 2-2 each. By reason of his rating, he qualified for the World Cup (2011), where he defeated Cuban GM Francisco De la Paz Perdomo, Indian GM Parimarjan Negi, French GM Etienne Bacrot and Russian GM Dmitry Jakovenko in the early rounds, but lost to Ukrainian veteran, GM Vassily Ivanchuk, in their quarter final match. The sting of this loss was offset by being selected by the organisers to be the 8th Candidate at the World Championship Candidates (2013) that was held in London in March 2013, but he fared poorly, coming last with 4/14, losing half his games and shedding over 30 ratings points (for the rating period to 1 May 2013). He started participating in the 2012-13 Grand Prix, but his first foray in the series was the 3rd event, the FIDE Grand Prix Zug (2013), in which he placed equal last with 4.5/11. He subsequently withdrew from the Grand Prix series.
He qualified by rating to contest the World Cup (2013), where he defeated Jorge Cori in the first round and Cuban GM Lazaro Bruzon Batista in the second round tiebreaker. He was defeated by Russian GM and former Candidate Peter Svidler in the third round. This loss combined with Levon Aronian 's elimination in the third round, means that he cannot qualify for the Candidates via rating replacement, as he is second rating reserve after Karjakin; in other words he needed Aronian and Kramnik - who are otherwise the rating qualifiers to the Candidates - to both win through to the World Cup final for him to qualify on rating for the Candidates.
Qualifying as one of the organizer's nominees to play in the Grand Prix series 2014-2015, Radjabov scored 5.5/11 and sole 8th in both the FIDE Grand Prix Baku (2014) and the FIDE Grand Prix Tashkent (2014), all but eliminating him from contention for one of the top two places in the Grand Prix series, and qualification for the Candidates Tournament 2016. He still had a chance to qualify for the Candidates through the World Cup (2015), as he was one of the Organizer's Nominees to play in this event. He defeated young US GM Samuel Sevian and veteran Israeli GM Ilya Yulyevich Smirin in the first two rounds but fell to Russian GM Peter Svidler in the first set of third round tiebreakers to be eliminated from the Cup.
Radjabov’s early successes include winning the 1998 Kasparov Cup, and in Budapest. In 2001:
- he took =1st in the Alushta Spring 2001 with Alexander Riazantsev and Alexander Goloshchapov, while he
- came =2nd with the legendary Viktor Korchnoi behind the even more legendary Anatoly Karpov at the Najdorf memorial.
- he took 2nd place behind Kasparov at the Moscow World Chess Grand Prix 2002.
- Radjabov blooded himself in the super tournaments at Corus, Linares and Dortmund such that in the following year at Linares (2004) he scored an extremely creditable 6/12, placing =4th alongside Veselin Topalov , a point behind winner Kramnik and a half point behind joint second Kasparov and Peter Leko .
- he was outright 2nd behind Liviu Dieter Nisipeanu with 9.5/13 in the 6th European Individual Championship
- 1st at the powerful GM tournament at XIII Dos Hermanas (2005) and
- =6th with 6/9 behind the 5 joint first place getters by half point at Aeroflot A 2005.
The following year, in 2006:
- he came joint second at the prestigious Morelia-Linares (2006) and
- =2nd at Biel Int'l Festival (2006) with Magnus Carlsen behind Alexander Morozevich.
Radjabov's greatest success yet came at the start of 2007, when he shared first place at the category 19 Corus (2007) with Topalov and Levon Aronian.
- he came first at Odessa Chess Tournament
- =3rd with Anand behind Carlsen and Aronian at Corus (2008)
- he scored 8/13 (+4 -1 =8) to share first place in the Elista Grand Prix (2008) with Alexander Grischuk and Dmitry Jakovenko
- he came 3rd at M-Tel 2008 behind Vassily Ivanchuk and Topalov.
- he scored 7.5/13 to come =2nd at Corus (2009) with Sergei Movsesian and Aronian half point behind Karjakin.
- at the King's Tournament (2010) he came =2nd with Boris Gelfand behind Carlsen.
- at the Tata Steel (2012), he came =2nd with 8/13 (+3 -0 =10; TPR 2834) behind Aronian and alongside Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana, the only undefeated player in the A group.
- In June he came =2nd (3rd on tiebreak) alongside Fabiano Caruana in the category 22 Tal Memorial (2012) with 5/9 (+2 -1 =6; TPR 2818) behind Magnus Carlsen.
- Following on from his poor performances at the Candidates and the Grand Prix event at Zug, Radjabov also fared poorly in the category XXI Norway Chess (2013), scoring 3/9 and losing another 12 rating points.
- His poor form continued at the Kings Tournament (2013), where his 3.5/8 (-1 =7) placed him 4th out of a field of 5.
- He returned to top chess at the inaugural Gashimov Memorial (2014), a category XXII 6-player DRR event to commemorate the late Azeri grandmaster, and scored 5/10 placing =3rd behind Carlsen and Caruana, picking up 11 rating points.
- He participated in Tata Steel (2015), scoring 6/13 and finishing 8th out of 14.
<Olympiads and other national team events> Radjabov has represented his native Azerbaijan at the Olympiads since 2002, and won his first medal at the Chess Olympiad (2012) when he won individual bronze on the top board. He played board 2 for Azerbaijan at the Chess Olympiad (2014) held in Tromsø in Norway.
A regular participant in the European Team Championships since 2003, he led the Azerbaijani team to victory at the 17th European Team Championship (2009) in Novi Sad and in November 2011 to 2nd place at the European Team Championship (2011) at Porto Carras, Greece. Toward the end of 2013, Radjabov played board 2 for Azerbaijan, which won the gold medal at the European Team Championship (2013). In 2015, he also played board 2 for his country at the European Team Championship (2015).
He was also a member of the Azerbaijani team which lost the Azerbaijan vs the World (2009) by 10.5-21.5. He has also played for Azerbaijan in the World Team Championships; at the World Team Championship (2010), he won a silver medal for board 2, Azerbaijan coming fourth, and at the World Chess Team Championship (2011), he scored a bronze medal on the top board, although his team came 7th.
<European Club Cup> A regular participant in the European Club Cup, he has been a member of the winning team at the European Champion's Cup five times, once with the Bosna club from Bosnia in 2002, once with French NAO Chess Club team in 2004, once with the Ural Sverdlovsk region team in 2008, and twice with the SOCAR Baku team, in 2012 and 2014. He has also won team silver medal with the Ladja-Kazan club from Russia in 2006. He won an individual gold medal at the European Club Cup (2011), scoring 4.5/5 and a TPR of 3016 on the top board of SOCAR Baku, leading his team to a silver medal. The following year he helped his team, SOCAR Baku, to the gold medal at the European Club Cup (2012), scoring 4/6 on top board and in 2013 he played second board for SOCAR, this time helping his team to win bronze in the European Club Cup (2013). He struck gold twice at the European Club Cup (2014) when he won team and individual bronze (for 3+ 3+) playing board 5 for his team SOCAR Baku. at the European Club Cup (2015), he scored individual and team silver playing for SOCAR Baku. His total medal tally at the ECC is team: 5 golds 4 silvers 2 bronzes, and individually: 2 golds and 2 silver. (1)
<National Leagues> Radjabov has also competed in club and team championships in Greece, France, Spain and Russia.
A top class rapid player, Radjabov beat Carlsen in the Match of the Hopes (2007) by 3-2. In 2006 he was 1st at Cap d'Agde (2006), defeating Karjakin in the final. He lost the Chess Classic Mainz (2006) to Anand by 5-3 but in January 2008, he won the ACP World Rapid Cup in Odessa. In June 2014, he placed =6th with 10/15 at the FIDE World Rapid Championship (2014), a point behind the winner Carlsen. Also in that month, he was =12th with 12.5/21 in the FIDE World Blitz Championship (2014). Radjabov lost ratings points at the Mind Games rapid event in Beijing in December 2014, scoring only 2/7 against top level opponents, but gained nearly a 100 blitz points in his 3rd placed 18/30 result at the Mind Games blitz event. In 2015 he was equal second alongside Ian Nepomniachtchi and Leinier Dominguez Perez at the World Rapid Championship (2015) with 10.5/15, a point behind the winner Magnus Carlsen.
Radjabov's highest ever standard rating was 2793 in November 2012, when he also achieved his highest world ranking so far, ie: #4.
Radjabov's ICC handle is "Velimirovich" in tribute to the late tactical grandmaster Dragoljub Velimirovic. He is the UNICEF National Goodwill Ambassador for Azerbaijan advocating universal salt iodization in Azerbaijan.
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Wikipedia article: Teimour Radjabov