International Master (1991); Grandmaster (1994); World U18 Champion (1994); Eight-time Russian Champion (1994, 1995, 1997, 2003, 2008, 2011, 2013 and 2017); World Cup champion (2011); Candidate (2013, 2014 & 2016).
Peter (also spelled Pyotr) Veniaminovich Svidler (Russian: Пётр Вениами́нович Сви́длер) was born in Leningrad, Russia and learned chess at age six. His first trainer was Vyacheslav Nikolaevich Styazhkin. Andrey Lukin has been his trainer since 1993.
<Age>: Svidler tied for =1st at the 1992 U16 World Championship that was held in Duisburg Germany, but ultimately placed 2nd or 3rd on tiebreaker behind the winner Ronen Har-Zvi. Also in 1992, he tied for 1st with Rahim Gasimov in the last USSR Junior Open Chess Championship. He won the 1994 U-18 World Youth Chess Championship in Szeged, Hungary.
<City and National>: Svidler won the championship of St. Petersburg in 1995. The first of his eight wins at the Russian Championship was in 1994, followed by 1995, 1997, Russian Championship (2003), Russian Championship Superfinal (2008), Russian Championship Superfinal (2011) (with a round to spare), Russian Championship Superfinal (2013), and Russian Championship Superfinal (2017). In addition, he came =4th in the Russian Championship Superfinal (2004) the first and last Russian Championship won by Garry Kasparov shortly before his retirement; =4th in the Russian Championship Superfinal (2005) 4th in the Russian Championship Superfinal (2006) outright second, a half point behind Alexander Grischuk in the Russian Championship Superfinal (2009) and =3rd, a half point behind Sergey Karjakin and Ian Nepomniachtchi and alongside Grischuk in the Russian Championship Superfinal (2010). In 2012, he came =1st in the Russian Championship Superfinal (2012), but ultimately placed 3rd in the round robin Russian Superfinals (Tiebreak) (2012) used to determine the final placements. He did better in the 2013 Superfinal, placing =1st at the alongside Ian Nepomniachtchi who beat Vladimir Kramnik to draw level in the final round, but then Svidler won the blitz tiebreaker 1.5-0.5 to take the title for the 7th time. He scored 4.5/9 in the Russian Championship Superfinal (2014), placing =3rd in a low scoring event. His record eighth win in the national championship was in the Russian Championship Superfinal (2017), when he defeated Nikita Vitiugov in a tiebreak, after both scored 7/11.
<Continental>: Svidler's only foray into the Continental championship was at the European Championship (2011), where he placed =5th (8th on tiebreak) with 8/11 a half point behind Vladimir Potkin, Radoslaw Wojtaszek, Judit Polgar and Alexander Moiseenko. This sole excursion into this event appears to have been prompted by his possible need to qualify for the World Cup (2011) should he not be seeded into that event by rating.
<World>: Svidler’s first entry into the World Championship cycle came in October 1995 when he won the Russian Zonal in Elista to qualify for FIDE’s World Championship Knockout Tournament in 1997 in Groningen, the winner of which was to immediately meet the incumbent FIDE World Champion, Anatoly Karpov, who was directly seeded into the final. Svidler was seeded directly into round 2, but was eliminated in round 4 by finalist Michael Adams, after defeating Utut Adianto and Vladimir Epishin in rounds 2 and 3. In July 1998, Svidler again qualified from the Russian Zonal (the 1997 Russian Championship, which he won), to play in the FIDE World Championship Knockout Tournament (1999). Again seeded into round 2, he defeated Aleksej Aleksandrov before losing to Kiril Georgiev in round 3. Yet again seeded into round 2 of the FIDE World Championship Knockout Tournament (2000), Svidler was again eliminated by Adams in round 4, after beating Etienne Bacrot and Xiaomin Peng in the earlier rounds. He reached the semi-finals of the FIDE World Championship Knockout Tournament (2001/02) after beating Alejandro Hoffman, Sarunas Sulskis, Vadim Milov in the first 3 rounds before avenging himself on Adams in Round 4. He proceeded to defeat Boris Gelfand in the quarter final but finally bowed out to the eventual winner, Ruslan Ponomariov, in the rapid game tiebreaker of the semi finals. In the FIDE World Championship Tournament (2005) in San Luis, Svidler tied for second place with Viswanathan Anand, behind only Veselin Topalov. His San Luis result earned him direct entry to the World Championship Tournament (2007). In that tournament he scored 6½ out of 14, placing 5th out of eight players.
The unification of the world title that came with the Kramnik - Topalov World Championship Match (2006) followed by the 2007 Candidates Matches and 2007 World Championship Tournament produced a new and unified, if occasionally chaotic, world championship cycle. Svidler participated in the World Cup (2007) in Khanty-Mansiysk overcoming Eduardo Iturrizaga Bonelli, Dusko Pavasovic and Sergei Rublevsky in the earlier rounds before succumbing in round 4 to the eventual winner, Gata Kamsky. Svidler reached the quarter finals of the World Cup (2009) before losing to Vladimir Malakhov, but not before defeating Jean Hebert, Tomi Nyback, Arkadij Naiditsch and Alexey Shirov in the earlier rounds. He did not participate in the 2008-09 Grand Prix series. Svidler’s most successful result so far has been winning the World Cup (2011) he qualified for this event on the basis of his rating (although his results in the 2011 European Championships would have also done the trick), and defeated Darcy Gustavo Machado Vieira Lima, Ngoc Truongson Nguyen, Fabiano Caruana, Gata Kamsky, Judit Polgar, Ruslan Ponomariov and Alexander Grischuk to win the Cup and qualify for the World Championship Candidates (2013), where he placed 3rd with 8/14, winning on tiebreak ahead of Aronian because of his plus score against that player in the event, and finishing half a point behind the winner Magnus Carlsen and runner up Kramnik.
Svidler's win at the World Cup 2011 qualified him for the World Cup (2013), where he defeated Anna Ushenina in the second set of rapid tiebreakers (ie: the 10+10) in the first round, Moldavan #1 GM Victor Bologan in first tiebreaker of the second round and Azeri GM, former Candidate Teimour Radjabov in the third round and Vietnamese GM Le Quang Liem in the Round of 16 (round 4). However, he lost to compatriot GM Dmitry Andreikin in the quarter final (round 5), exiting the contest. He scored 5.5/11 in the FIDE Grand Prix Tashkent (2012) to place =7th and earn his first 50 Grand Prix points. His 2nd GP event was at FIDE Grand Prix Thessaloniki (2013), but his =8th only earned him another 45 GP points, eliminating him from the race for the first two places. (1) However, once the Russian Federation won the bid to host the World Championship Candidates (2014) in Khanty-Mansiysk, he was selected by the Organizer as its nominee to be the 8th Candidate in the event. There he scored 6.5/14 to place =6th (7th on tie break).
Qualifying by rating for the 2014-2015 Grand Prix series portion of the 2016 World Championship cycle, Svidler's first result was 6/11 placing him at 3rd-7th in the FIDE Grand Prix Baku (2014), thereby opening his tally by scoring 82 Grand Prix points. However, his poor result at the FIDE Grand Prix Tbilisi (2015) destroyed his opportunity to finish in the top 2 of the shortened Grand Prix series. After a strong start in the final leg at FIDE Grand Prix Khanty-Mansiysk (2015), Svidler lost momentum to finish in the middle of the field.
Nevertheless, Svidler qualified by reason of rating to play in the World Cup (2015). He needed to finish in the top two to qualify for the Candidates Tournament of 2016, and did so: in the early rounds, he defeated Turkish GM Emre Can, Romanian-German GM Liviu Dieter Nisipeanu, Azeri GM Teimour Radjabov and former FIDE World Champion Veselin Topalov to advance to the quarter final. There he defeated Wei Yi in the second set of rapid tiebreakers to win by 3.5-2.5 and advance to the semi final where he defeated Anish Giri in the standard games 1.5-0.5 to make it into the final against Sergey Karjakin. This qualified him for the next World Cup in 2017 and to participate in the Candidates Tournament in 2016. In the final against Karjakin, Svidler led in the extended match format by 2-0 before Karjakin hit back with two wins to level the standard time format 2-2, taking the match to tiebreakers. The two continued exchanging blows through the rapid games, tying each pair of games 1-1 before Karjakin defeated Svidler in the blitz games 2-0. The total score in the final was 6-4 in Karjakin's favor, with every game being decisive.
Svidler has an impressive list of tournaments which he won or shared first place including the first Linares Anibal Open in January 1994 (1st), =1st alongside Vadim Zvjaginsev, Vladimir Akopian, Grigory Serper and Jaan Ehlvest at the St. Petersburg Chigorin Memorial 1994; Novosibirsk 1995 (=1st); Torshavn Nordic Grand Prix 1997 (1st); Tilburg Fontys (1997) (1st); =1st (2nd on tiebreak) at Dortmund Sparkassen (1998) Esbjerg 2000 North Sea Cup (1-2nd); Biel 2000 (1st); Los Inmortales IV 2002 (1st); Aeroflot Open (2003) (=1st alongside Victor Bologan, Aleksej Aleksandrov and Alexei Fedorov), 1st with 6/9 (tiebreak from Joel Lautier) at the Karpov Poikovsky (2003) =1st with Vladimir Kramnik at Dortmund Sparkassen (2006) 1st at the Bunratty Masters in 2008 and 2009; and 1st at Gibtelecom (2009) with 8/10.
Other outstanding results include, 2nd at Biel (2001) behind Viktor Korchnoi, 7/9 at the Great Cup Nazir Atallah – Boca Chica Beach in Santa Domingo in Dominican Republic – 0.5 behind Igor Khenkin 2nd at the 2003 Bermuda Invitational 7.5/11, a half point behind Giovanni Portilho Vescovi =3rd at Dortmund Sparkassen (2004) with 5.5/10, half point behind Arkadij Naiditsch and Viswanathan Anand =2nd with 5/9 at Dortmund Sparkassen (2005), half a point behind Naiditsch; and 3rd at San Sebastian 2009. He fared poorly at the Alekhine Memorial (2013), scoring only 3/9, doing little better at the Norway Chess (2013), scoring 4/9.
Svidler’s first taste of a major team event was during the match between Leningrad and Moscow held in Leningrad in October 1989, when as a 13 year old he substituted to play a game for Leningrad: Leningrad won the match 45-35.
<Olympiads>: He won five team gold medals in the Olympiads of 1994, 1996, 1998, and 2000, and in the Bled Olympiad (2002) a team silver in the Calvia Olympiad (2004) and in the Khanty-Mansiysk Olympiad (2010) and one individual bronze medal 1996. He also played board 3 for Russia in Tromso Olympiad (2014), but fell short of a team bronze on tiebreak.
<National team member>: His national representation has been as follows:
He played for Russia in the inaugural China-Russia Summit Match of 2001, which Russia won and again at the Russia - China Match (2008) and at the China - Russia (2015), both of which Russia lost. At the Russia - The Rest of the World (2002) match won by the Rest of the World by 52-48, he won silver playing on board 6. He achieved outstanding results at the World Teams Championship in 1997 where he won team and individual gold on board, the World Teams Championship in 2001 where he won team silver and individual bronze, at the World Team Championship (2005) where he again won team and individual gold this time playing on board 1, and at the World Team Championship of 2011 where he won individual gold on board 1.
Svidler also achieved outstanding results in the European Team Championship 1997 where he won team silver and individual bronze; team gold in 2003; European Team Championship (2005) where he won individual silver; European Team Championship (2007) where he won team gold and two individual golds, one each for board results and performance; and European Team Championship (2009) where he won team silver. He was also a member of the Russian team at the European Team Championship (2011). At the European Team Championship (2013) and playing board 2, Svidler won team bronze and individual silver.
In 2004, a match was held in honour of the 75th anniversary of the birth of former World Champion, the late Tigran V Petrosian, between Armenia and the Rest of the World; Svidler played for the Rest of the World team which narrowly won by 18.5-17.5, Svidler winning two and drawing four.
<Club>: Svidler has played in every Russian Premier League season from 1995 until 2015 except in 1999, 2004, 2006 and 2007. His team has been Sankt Petersburg except in 1996 and 2005, and he has always played on board 1 or 2. His overall medal count includes 4 team golds, 2 team silver, 6 team bronzes, 3 individual golds, 2 individual silvers and 1 individual bronze. He has also played in every European Club Cup from 1995 until 2014 except for a hiatus in 2004 and 2005, playing for Sankt Petersburg since 2009. His medal tally in the ECC is 3 team golds, 3 team silvers and one team bronze, 2 individual silvers and 1 individual bronze. Svidler has also regularly participated in other club championships, including the Bundesliga, the French, Belgian and Spanish leagues/team championships, and in the Four Nations Chess League (the four nations of the United Kingdom). In 2009 and 2010 he also participated on the Experience Team in the NH Tournament vs the Rising Stars.
Svidler drew a 6-game match with Vadim Zvjaginsev in St.Petersburg in 1992, and in June 2012 he played the 4-game Cez Trophy: Navara - Svidler (2012) match, winning by 3-1 (+2 =2) to take the CEZ Trophy. The 7th Voronezh International Chess Festival (ALFA-ECO Cup) took place in June 2003, and Svidler beat Konstantin Chernyshov 2.5-1.5 in a 4-game standard match and 3-1 in a rapid match.
Svidler made it to the final four of the Cap D'Agde FRA (2003), but lost to the eventual winner of the event, Anand, in the semi final. In 2004, he made the final and was runner up in the 17th Cuidad de Leon (2004) behind the winner Alexey Shirov. In 2006 he placed second behind Grischuk at the World Blitz Championship (2006) in Rishon Lezion, Israel, with 10½ points out of 15 games and in 2009, he was runner up in the ACP World Rapid Cup (2009), losing in the final to Gelfand.
In 2010, at the Copenhagen Chess Festival and to celebrate Bent Larsen turning 75, Svidler and Nielsen played a 6-game rapid match (the Larsen Rapid) concurrent with the main event, the Politiken Cup. Svidler won 4.5-1.5 (+3 =3). They then played a 20-game blitz match which was divided into two halves: the first 10 games were to be played using the Larsen Opening (1.b3), while the 2nd set of 10 games allowed players’ choice of openings. Svidler won the first half by 7-3 (+6 -2 =2) and drew the second half 5-5 (+3 -3 =4), for an overall victory in the blitz by 12-8.
In the World Blitz Championship (2010), Svidler placed 8th out of 20 with 19.5/38. In the World Blitz Championship (2012), he again placed in the middle of the field with 15/30. At the St. Petersburg Rapid Cup (2012), Svidler came =1st with Leinier Dominguez Perez, taking 2nd on tiebreak. He competed in the World Rapid Championship (2014) and the World Blitz Championship (2014), scoring 10/15 (=6th) and 13/21 respectively. In July 2014, he also defeated Gelfand by 5-3 in a match played in Jerusalem.
Svidler won the first edition of the Chess960 Open held in Mainz, Germany in 2003 becoming the Chess960 World Champion by beating Peter Leko in an 8-game match by 4.5-3.5. He successfully defended his title twice, defeating Levon Aronian in 2004 and Zoltan Almasi in 2005, before losing it to Aronian in 2006.
Svidler is a fan of cricket; his handle on the Internet Chess Club server is Tendulkar (the name of India’s top cricketer). He is married with two sons. He’s an Honoured Master of Sport in Russia. His musical tastes include Bob Dylan and Tom Waits and his favourite authors are Fyodor Dostoevsky, Martin Amis, Paul Auster, J. D. Salinger, Philip K Dick, Kurt Vonnegut and Neal Stephenson.
Ratings and rankings:
While he was still 18, Svidler appeared in FIDE's top 100 list in January 1995 where he has remained ever since. He was in the top 10 for almost the whole period 2003-2010 and was ranked as high as #4 on several occasions in January 2004 and 2006. In May 2013, Svidler's rating was 2769, his highest rating so far (although he was only world #9). He first crossed the 2700 mark in 1998, and has remained above 2700 continuously since April 2003.
Sources and references
(1) Wikipedia article: FIDE Grand Prix 2012%E2%80%932013; Personal website: http://www.psvidler.net/; Live rating: http://www.2700chess.com/; Wikipedia article: Peter Svidler; https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast... (audio podcast with Ben Johnson (February 2017)); Extended Q&A in December with Svidler on crestbook: http://www.crestbook.com/en/node/1364 and http://www.crestbook.com/en/node/1390