Happy Birthday Gata Kamsky

Happy Birthday Gata Kamsky


There are seven Grandmasters that were born "Today in Chess History."

  1. István Csom of Hungary, born 1940, GM 1973.
  2. Gata Kamsky of the United States, born 1974, GM 1990.
  3. Yannick Gozzoli of France, born 1983, GM 2012.
  4. Jon Ludvig Hammer of Norway, born 1990, GM 2009.
  5. Tamas Fodor Jr. of Hungary, born 1991, GM 2013.
  6. Andrey Stukopin of Russia, born 1994, GM 2014.
  7. Wei Yi of China, born 1999, GM 2013.

The decision to feature the five-time United States Chess Champion, Gata Kamsky, was a difficult one, because I am such a big fan of Jon Ludvig Hammer. However, objectively and solely on merits, Kamsky gets the nod.

You Gata Study to Succeed

Kamsky was born in Novokuznetsk in Russia, in a Tatar family. At age 12 he defeated veteran Grandmaster Mark Taimanov in a tournament game. He also earned his National Master title in that year. He won the Soviet under-20 championship in 1987 and 1988. In 1989 he moved to the United States with his father Röstäm, a former boxer who strongly urged Gata to study chess almost exclusively and acted as his coach and manager. In 1990, FIDE awarded Kamsky the grandmaster title. In 1991, he won the U.S. Championship for the first time. Kamsky also did well at other prestigious chess tournaments, winning the Las Palmas tournament in 1994.

In 1993, the rival organisations FIDE and PCA each held Interzonal tournaments. Kamsky played in both, and in both cases qualified for the respective Candidates Tournaments. The Candidates tournaments were largely dominated by Kamsky and Viswanathan Anand. In the PCA Candidates matches, Kamsky defeated Vladimir Kramnik and Nigel Short, but lost the final Match to Viswanathan Anand. In The FIDE candidates matches, Kamsky beat Paul van der Sterren, Viswanathan Anand and Valery Salov, qualifying for the 1996 World Championship match, but he was unsuccessful against the great Anatoly Karpov, scoring 7½–10½ (+3=9−6).

Kamsky took a hiatus from chess to pursue his collegiate studies. He graduated from Brooklyn College with a B.A. in 1999. He then attended and graduated from law school at Touro Law Center in New York.

Kamsky played in no FIDE events for eight years, with the exception of a four game match against Alexander Khalifman in August of 1999. Kamsky did not play another game in public until June 15, 2004, when he participated in the 106th New York Masters, playing four games in a day with a time control of 30 minutes for the game. His two wins and two draws were enough for him to tie for first place.

He was rated number 19 in the world on the April 2005 FIDE Elo rating list, at 2700. He retained this rating on the July 2005 list, but moved up to number 18, after a good unbeaten result at the 2005 HB Global Challenge tournament, held in Minneapolis in May, 2005.

Kamsky has since returned to international chess, most notably finishing second behind Veselin Topalov at the M-Tel Masters event. Soon after, Kamsky led the US team to the bronze medal at the 2006 Chess Olympiad in Turin. On July 4, 2006, he tied for first place at the World Open, winning about $7,000. A number of successes in 2007 marked his return to the playing level he had before his educational interlude, hinting at the possibility of becoming again a challenger for the very top of the world's chess hierarchy. His successes since his return to top level chess include first place finishes at New York 2006; the aforementioned World Open 2006 & 2011; Mashantucket 2007; Chess World Cup, Khanty-Mansiysk, 2007; National Open, Las Vegas, 2008; Reggio Emilia, 2010; Philadelphia Open, 2010 & 2014; U.S. Championship, 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014; The 8th New York International, 2015; and  Cappelle la Grande, 2016.