Person of day   -  5 DECEMBER 2023



The future FIDE world champion was born on 5th December 1979 in Tashkent. His oldest brother Hurshid brought 6 year-old Rustam to the local sports academic, and soon the whole of Uzbekistan was talking about

The rising star successively won the Asian juniors’ championships, and then he won the adults’ championships as well. He was a regular prize-winner of juniors’ world championships. He has been a grandmaster since 1997. In 1998, he won in the secondary tournament in Wijk aan Zee and one year later he made his debut in the Dutch super-tournament.

In 2001, Rustam’s rating neared the mark of 2700 and the grandmaster moved to Germany with his wife and son. Nonetheless, Kasimdzhanov continues to represent the Uzbeki team, with which he won the Asian team championship, performed at ten Olympiads and played in the team world championship in 2001.

The Uzbek grandmaster took part in FIDE’s knockout championships in 1999, 2000 and 2001, but his star moment came in Tripoli in 2004. During the tournament, Kasimdzhanov successively outplayed Vasily Ivanchuk, Zoltan Almasi, Alexander Grischuk, Veselin Topalov and Michael Adams, becoming the king of the chess world, according to FIDE. According to the Prague regulations of 2002, Rustam should have played with Garry Kasparov, and the winner would enter the final against the winner of  the Kramnik-Leko match. Alas, his game with Kasparov never took place, and in the match-tournament in 2006 Kasimdzhanov finished a mere sixth (Veselin Topalov won). In 2007, he took part in the candidates’ matches and lost to Boris Gelfand.

He was the prize-winner of the European Cup as a member of teams “Ladya” from Kazan, “Tomsk-400) and “Sokar” from Azerbaijan. He drew the exhibition match against the “Fritz 9” program. He was the winner of the Corsica Masters in 2006 and the Asian Games for rapid chess in 2010.

In the middle of the 2000s, he became a second to Vishy Anand and helped the fifteenth world champion in matches against Vladimir Kramnik, Veselin Topalov and Boris Gelfand. He spent the next few years in the training team of Sergei Karjakin and currently helps Fabiano Caruana. In May 2015, he reached a record rating of 2715 Elo points.

A few years ago, Rustam published an open letter, suggesting eliminating draws in chess matches and causing a wide resonance; several trial matches were played according to these rules. 

 “Without doubt, there are many reasons, but the main one is, I think, the existence of draws as a result in chess. Quick draws (of which I did many) make our game more like an exclusive academic endeavour rather than a sport. But they are unavoidable-given the level of preparation and fundamental aspects of chess, a draw- indeed, a quick draw- is the most likely result in a game of strong, well-prepared players. Nonetheless, when in a well-organised tournament players get up and return to their hotel rooms after a ten-minute draw, that does not add any appeal to chess. 

Now we come to my suggestion. If we want success, sponsors, publicity and the rest, we should eliminate these draws in classical tournaments. But we shouldn’t do it with the Sofia Rules- in these tournaments, there are just as many drawn as in others; nor should we do it with the “30 move rules”, where players often wait for the 30th move. We need something radically different. Like a tie-break in tennis. We need a result. Every day.

And this is how it works. We play classical chess, say, with time control of four to five hours. It’s a draw? No problem- we change colours and give stage a replay with a time control of 20 minutes for each player. It’s another draw? 10 minutes, a change of colours and a replay. Until there is a winner on that day. And the winner wins one point, while the loser wins nothing; and it doesn’t matter, whether the match was played as classical chess, speed chess or blitz- it would be judged accordingly.

In this way, the spectators’ expectations will never be betrayed. There will always be a winner, there will always be blood. Then, an epoch of great champions will come along, since with this system there will be moments that when Vishy or Magnus win at Wijk aan Zee with a result of 13 out of 13; there will be victorious runs where some of the great champions win 50 matches in a row. We will be on the front pages!” (R.Kasimdzhanov)

By decree of the President of Uzbekistan Islam Kerimov, Rustam Kasimdzhanov was awarded the order of Amir Timur.