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Alexander Khalifman

Full name Alexander Valeryevich Khalifman
(Александр Валерьевич Халифман)
Country Soviet Union
Born 18 January 1966
Leningrad, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Title Grandmaster
World Champion 1999-2000 (FIDE)
Peak rating 2702 (October 2001)
Peak ranking No. 12 (January 2003)

Alexander Valeryevich Khalifman (Russian: Алекса́ндр Вале́рьевич Халифма́н; born 18 January 1966 in Leningrad) is a Russian chess Grandmaster. He was FIDE World Chess Champion in 1999.

Early life

Khalifman is of Jewish descent. When he was six years old, his father taught him chess.

Tournament career

Khalifman won the 1982 Soviet Union Youth Championship, the 1984 Soviet Union Youth championship, the 1985 European Under-20 Championship in Groningen, the 1985 and 1987 Moscow championships, 1990 Groningen, 1993 Ter Apel, 1994 Chess Open of Eupen, 1995 Chess Open St. Petersburg, the Russian Championship in 1996, the Saint Petersburg Championship in 1996 and 1997, 1997 Chess Grand Master Tournament St. Petersburg, 1997 Aarhus, 1997 and 1998 Bad Wiessee, 2000 Hoogeveen.

He was a member of the gold medal-winning Russian team at the Chess Olympiads in 1992, 2000 and 2002, and at the 1997 World Team Chess Championship.

Khalifman gained the Grandmaster title in 1990 with one particularly good early result being his first place in the 1990 New York Open ahead of a host of strong players. His most notable achievement was winning the FIDE World Chess Championship in 1999, a title he held until the following year. He was rated 44th in the world at the time, while "Classical" World Champion Garry Kasparov was rated No. 1. Khalifman said after the tournament, "Rating systems work perfectly for players who play only in round robin closed events. I think most of them are overrated. Organizers invite same people over and over because they have the same rating and their rating stays high." Khalifman played in the Linares chess tournament next year, and performed credibly (though placing below joint winner Kasparov).


With his trainer Gennady Nesis he runs a chess academy in St. Petersburg, called "The Grandmaster Chess School", since November 1998. There he trains players worldwide following the motto: "chess = intellect + character".

Khalifman has been coaching the Azerbaijani national team since 2013 and is its captain. He acted as second to Alisa Galliamova in the Women's World Chess Championship 1999 and to Anna Ushenina in the Women's World Chess Championship 2013.