YAUST – Yet Another Ukraine Super-Talent

8/31/2004 – What's with Ukraine, where world class chess players spring like corn flowers in a wheat field? After Ponomariov (FIDE world champion at 18), Kateryna Lahno (women GM at 12) and Sergey Karjakin (male GM at 12) we are now confronted with 14-year-old Yuriy Kuzubov who is sending waves at the Ukraine Championship. A pictorial portrait...

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First a word to the 73rd Ukrainian Chess Championship, which is being held in Kharkiv, Ukraine from August 23 to September 2, 2004.

It is the strongest championship in the history of Ukraine, with 32 participants (including 20 GMs, 7 IM, 3 WGM) and is being conducted as a knockout tournament. The first round brought a chance encounter between the two youngest players, Sergey Karjakin (14, Elo 2591) and Yuriy Kuzubov (14, 2467). After a draw in the first game Kuzubov produced a shock win the second to proceed to round two (Kateryna Lahno, 14, 2472, succumbed to GM Alexander Goloshchapov, 26, Elo 2577 after losing one, winning one and then losing the tiebreak).


The youngsters Kuzubov and Karjakin battling it out in round one

In round two Kuzubov lost to the same Alex Goloshchapov, while veteran Oleg Romanishin (2541) defeated Vassily Ivanchuk (2715) to knock the top seed out of the tournament. After three rounds the four players left are Goloshchapov, GM Anton Korobov, GM Alexander Moiseenko, and GM Andrei Volokitin.


Young talent Yuriy Kuzubov

IM Yuriy Kuzubov is 14 years old and, according to the latest (August 1st) FIDE rating list, has reached Elo 2490. Just in the last year and a half this young lad has gained over 300 points! He was boys champion of Ukraine in 2001, 2002 and 2003. His best results on the European and international sports arena are:

2001 – 1-4 at the U-12 European Championship
2002 – 2nd place in the U-16 World Youth Chess Olympiad
2003 – 2nd place in the U-16 World Youth Chess Olympiad
2004 – 1-3 in the 2nd "Young Stars of the World" (Vani Somova Memorial) tournament in Kirishi, Russia.

Yuriy Kuzubov is the product of the famed A.V. Momot Chess Club, which is located in Kramatorsk and has brought fourth chess prodigies like GM Ruslan Ponomariov, GM Sergey Karjakin, WGM Kateryna Lahno, GM Alexander Areshchenko, GM Zahar Efimenko, WGM Tatiana Kononenko, WIM Natalia Zdebskaja and others.

The chess club is sponsored by the Donetsk Joint Stock Research and Commercial Company DANKO. Alexander V. Momot, Academician of the Academy of Economic Sciences of Ukraine and member of the Academy of Informatics of Ukraine, was the first president of DANKO. He pioneered and published Ukrainian newspapers and magazines Delo i pravo, Vse and Goluboi ogonyok. He was murdered by hired killers in 1996.


Yuriy at the age of eleven

At school Yuriy Kuzubov is trained under the individual program that allows him to concentrate fully on chess preparation. He works on this for about six hours a day. His trainer is IM Alexander Alexikov, who was responsible for training Sergey Karjakin. According to Alexikov "Karjakin has a unique combinational understanding of a chess, while Yuriy has a unique understanding of a position, has skill intuitively to choose a correct course and the plan of game in each position. It is possible to compare him with young Karpov." In fact Kuzubov is already being regarded as the main competition to young grandmasters Sergey Karjakin and Magnus Carlsen.

Family Album


Young Ukrainian stars: Yuriy Kuzubov, Sergey Karjakin, Kateryna Lahno, Anna and Mariya Muzychuk, at a club tournament in 2001.


Yuriy Kuzubov vs Viktor Korchnoi, January 24, 2001


And Yuriy vs Ruslan Ponomariov on the same day


Yuri Kuzubov, Kateryna Lahno and Sergey Karjakin


The world Youth Olympiad for under-16 players in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 2002.


The team with Kateryna Lahno, Sergey Karjakin and Yuriy Kuzubov front right


From left to right: GM Alexander Areshchenko, WGM Kateryna Lahno, trainer Sergiy Kovalov, WIM Natalia Zdebskaja, IM Yuri Kuzubov and GM Sergey Karjakin.


GM Zahar Efimenko, IM Yuri Kuzubov and GM Alexander Areshchenko
at the European Club Cup, September 2003, in Greece


Portrait of the latest Ukraine chess star

Report and photos provided by Alexsander Martynkov

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