Person of day   -  9 DECEMBER 2023



Ernesto Inarkiev was born on 9th December 1985 in the Osh region in Kyrgizstan and was named after the famous revolutionary Ernest Che Guevara. There were few high-class chess players in Kyrgyzstan, but Ernesto made determined progress and, at just 12, he was representing his country at the Olympiad in Elista, where his fateful meeting with Kirsan Ilyumzhinov took place. There was one expert in the former Soviet republic- the famous “Kyrgyz” Leonid Urtaev. The grandmaster taught the talented young man a lot of things, including how to play his usual King’s Indian Defence- soon, that became Ernesto’s mark.

The junior from Kyrgyzstan won the Asian juniors’ championship in 1999 and became an international master who soon accepted Ilyumzhinov’s offer to move to Elista with his parents. Soon after, Ernesto took part in a session that was organised for young juniors by Mark Dvoretsky. The experiences trainer liked the gifted and well-mannered young man and began to train him personally. In his new homeland, Ernesto soon achieved great success- he became the U16s European champion in 2001, U20s Russian champion in 2002 and won the title of grandmaster.

“Some time ago, I and my family had to make a difficult decision about moving. Leonid Nikolayevich Yurtaev had a lot of influence over me. I am still grateful to this man. Perhaps it is not accidental that, after my departure, few professional players emerged in Kyrgyzstan. The guys who I know well play chess only in free time after work.” (E. Inarkiev)

In 2004, he qualified for the FIDE knockout world championship, where he lost to Leinier Dominguez in a tie-break. In that same year, he split 2nd-6th places in the Russian Championship Higher League and only failed to reach the Superfinal due to additional indices. Inarkiev’s time came two years later, when the grandmaster won in Tomsk on his own and then became the bronze medallist of the super-final. He is the five-time national champion and a two-time winner of the European Cup as a member of team “Tomsk-400”. He was the semi-finalist of the Russian Cup in 2006. 

He was a participant in the Russia-China matched and the World Cups in 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2013. In 2007, Ernesto defeated Peralta and Vallejo, but lost to the current holder of the trophy Levon Aronian. He played in the FIDE Grand Prix in 2008-2009. In 2009, he split 1st-11th places in the individual European championship, he had the highest additional indices, but in the tie-break in the semi-final he lost to Vladimir Malakhov and in the battle for the bronze to Baadur Javaba.

In 2013, he won the highest league of the Russian championship for the second time, for which he was given the right to compete in the Petrosian Memorial in 2014, where the world’s best grandmasters played. In 2015, he won the Moscow Open with 8 points out of 9.

“I agree that cheating is a huge problem. But such a radical measure as the decrease of time could bring greater damage than cheating. I like playing chess, I like creating ideas and inventing beautiful combinations, and with a limited time control it would be more like sport, where we have any unconventional thought. It would be like being asked to write a book in one day. It’s unlikely that that would be a work which is worthy of the classic’s pen. In my opinion, this creative side is not less important that the sporting results and entertainment, possible even more so…” (E. Inarkiev)

Ernest Inarkiev was the European champion in 2016. His maximum rating reached the mark of 2732 (on 1st September 2016).

He graduated from RSSU. He is married to the international master Anna Dushenok and the couple have a son.