Ruslan Olehovych Ponomariov (Ukrainian: Русла́н Оле́гович Пономарьо́в; born 11 October 1983) is a Ukrainian chess grandmaster. He was FIDE World Chess Champion from 2002 to 2004. He won the Ukrainian Chess Championship in 2011.
|Full name||Ruslan Olegovich Ponomariov|
|Born||11 October 1983|
Horlivka, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union
|World Champion||2002–2004 (FIDE)|
|FIDE rating||2640 (November 2022)|
|Peak rating||2764 (July 2011)|
|Peak ranking||No. 6 (April 2002)|
Ponomariov was born in Horlivka in Ukraine. He was taught to play chess by his father at the age of 5. At 9 he became a first category player, and in September 1993 he moved to Kramatorsk. Here Ponomariov attended the A. V. Momot Chess School and was trained by Boris Ponomariov. In 1994 he placed third in the World Under-12 Championship at the age of ten. In 1996 he won the European Under-18 Championship at the age of just twelve, and the following year won the World Under-18 Championship. In 1998, at the age of fourteen, he was awarded the Grandmaster title, making him the youngest ever player at that time to hold the title. In 1999, he was a member of the Ukrainian national youth team, which won the U-16 Chess Olympiad in Artek, Ukraine.
Among Ponomariov's notable later results are first place at the Donetsk Zonal tournament in 1998, 5/7 score in the European Club Cup 2000 (including a victory over then-FIDE World Champion Alexander Khalifman), joint first with 7½/9 at Torshavn 2000, 8½/11 for Ukraine in the 2001 Chess Olympiad in Istanbul, winning gold medal on board 2, and first place with 7/10 in the 2001 Governor's Cup in Kramatorsk.
FIDE World Chess Champion 2002Edit
In 2002 he beat his fellow countryman Vasyl Ivanchuk in the final of the FIDE World Chess Championship 2002 by a score of 4½-2½ to become FIDE World Champion at the age of 18, the first teenager and youngest person to do so.
In the same year he finished second in the very strong Linares tournament, behind Garry Kasparov. His result in the strong 2003 Corus tournament at Wijk aan Zee was not as good – despite having the third highest Elo rating, he finished only joint eleventh out of fourteen players with 6/13, and at Linares the same year he finished only fifth out of seven with 5½/12.
There were plans for him to play a fourteen-game match against Kasparov in Yalta in September 2003, the winner of which would go on to play the winner of a match between Vladimir Kramnik and Péter Lékó as part of the so-called "Prague Agreement" to reunify the World Chess Championship (from 1993 until 2006 there were two world chess championships). However, this was called off by FIDE on the grounds that Ponomariov failed to sign the contract in time. The latter always alleged lack of equality in the contract for both contenders.
On Ponomariov's 20th birthday, October 11, 2003, he became the first high-profile player to forfeit a game because of his mobile phone ringing during play. This happened in round one of the European Team Chess Championship in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, when Ponomariov was playing Black against Swedish GM Evgenij Agrest.
In 2005, he won the 15th edition of the Ciudad de Pamplona tournament. He also won a rapid tournament in Odessa, Ukraine, and the Golden Blitz Cup in Moscow. Finally, that year he reached the 2005 Chess World Cup final against Levon Aronian, who won the final. Ponomariov defeated Fritz under tournament conditions, at the 2nd Festival Internacional de Ajedrez Man-Machine in Bilbao, Spain. This is the last time that a human player has defeated a top computer at even odds under tournament conditions.
His second-place finish in the Chess World Cup 2005 qualified him for the 2007 Candidates tournament. Ponomariov lost in the first round, in a six-game match against Sergei Rublevsky, and thus did not qualify for the 2007 World Championship tournament. As of 2021, this is his only appearance at a Candidates tournament.
In 2009, he shared first place with Hikaru Nakamura at the Donostia Chess Festival in San Sebastian, Spain. The latter won the tie-break blitz games 2–0. Ponomariov got one more second place by tie-break that year in the 2009 Chess World Cup, where he reached the final against Israeli Boris Gelfand. After four classic games, four rapid games, and two blitz games with a drawn score, Gelfand finally won in one last set of two blitz games.
In July 2010, Ponomariov won the prestigious Dortmund Sparkassen Chess Meeting in Dortmund, one point ahead of Lê Quang Liêm from Vietnam. In September of that year, Ukraine won the gold once more at the 2010 Chess Olympiad in Khanty-Mansiysk with players Vasyl Ivanchuk, Ruslan Ponomariov, Pavel Eljanov, Zahar Efimenko, and Alexander Moiseenko.
In February 2011, after occupying last place at the World Blitz Championship in November 2010 in Moscow, Ponomariov showed great improvement at the strong Aeroflot Blitz held in the same city by reaching second place, just half a point behind Shakhriyar Mamedyarov.
- "KC-Conference with Ruslan Ponomariov: Part 1". Crestbook. 2011-02-22. Retrieved 30 September 2014.
- 5th World Youth U16 Chess Olympiad: Artek 1999 OlimpBase
- "Donetsk Zonal 1998". Ukrainian Chess Online. Archived from the original on 2005-04-04. Retrieved 13 December 2015.
- "Ruslan Ponomariov vs Fritz (Computer) (2005) Puttin' on the Fritz".
- "80th Ukrainian Championship – pictorial impressions". ChessBase.com. 2011-06-23. Retrieved 24 June 2011.
- Ruslan Ponomariov rating card at FIDE
- Ruslan Ponomariov player profile and games at Chessgames.com
- Ruslan Ponomariov chess games at 365Chess.com
- Ruslan Ponomariov Chess Olympiad record at OlimpBase.org
- Ruslan Ponomariov player profile at Chess.com
- Ruslan Ponomariov on Twitch
- Interview at Chessdom
- Links to many articles about Ponomariov at the Wayback Machine (archived 2003-08-08)