GM Alexei Shirov, Spain (ELO 2695)

Alexei Shirov
Photo: Lars OA Hedlund

49-year-old GM Alexei Shirov was born in Riga, Latvia, but has represented Spain for many years. He has been a regular participant in the top tournaments and has been number 4 on the world chess federation rating list.

In 1998, Shirov defeated Vladimir Kramnik in a match over the right to challenge world champion Garri Kasparov, but the match never found any sponsors and was never played. In the controversy that followed upon this, Kasparov chose to play Kramnik instead.

He is often compared to another Latvian, his former coach and previous world champion Mikhail Tal. He is often willing to attack and entertain, and combines this with some very risky openings. Shirov’s autobiography has the fitting name “Fire on Board”.

Shirov participated in the Sigeman & Co Chess tournament in 2011, where he finished in 4th place.

10 quick questions:

1) How many years have you played chess professionally?
34 years.
2) At what age did you learn how to play chess?
At 6 years old.
3) Who taught you how to play chess?
My elder brother.
4) What was your first big tournament success (tournament win or similar)?
Winning World under 16 in 1988. I was 16.
5) Do you sometimes also participate in other sports/games? If so, which and at what level?
No. I do some sports but my level is too low to try to compete.
6) Do you have any family members or relatives that also play chess? If so, who and at what level?
My father was around 2000 but he passed away three years ago.
7) What would you be doing today, if you did not play chess professionally?
Not much. Maybe spending time in jail as a “wrong” politician. If being free then maybe working for Uber or giving chess lessons.
8) How many languages do you speak?
Mainly three – Russian, Spanish and English. Some small knowlegde of 3-4 more languages as well.
9) Who, in your opinion, is the greatest chess player of all time? Why?
Tal because he was from the same town as me.
10) What do you hope to achieve in the 2022 TePe Sigeman & Co Chess Tournament?
I hope that me and Mickey will not take last two places.