Michael Adams was born on Nov 17, 1971 in Truro, Cornwall, England. He learned chess from his father at the age of 6.
In November 1979, he played in his first chess tournament, the Cornwall Under-10 Championship, and won it.
In 1980, Adams was provided a chess coach, European Junior Champion Shaun Taulbot.
In 1981, he entered the Cornwall County Under-10 Championship and won it, along with the Under-13, Under-15, and under-18 Championships. He played in two different events on the same day, playing simultaneously and walking between the different rooms.
In 1986, he was the highest 13-year old ever, rated 2405.
In 1987, he was awarded the FIDE master title.
In 1987, he took the silver medal at the World Under-16 Championship, held in Innsbruck. The event was won by Hannes Stefansson.
In 1987, at the age of 15, he played in the British Championship, won by Nigel Short, where he gained his final International Master (IM) norm. He became the youngest International Master (IM) in the world at the time. Adams took the best junior prize.
In 1988 he was the only winner in a 10-board satellite simultaneous exhibition with Kasparov.
He won the 76th British Championship in 1989 at age 17, the youngest ever. The event was played in Plymouth.
In 1989, he became at Grandmaster at 17.
In 1990, he represented England at the Novi Sad Olympiad, and score +2=4-2.
In 1991, he co-wrote with his father, Bill Adams, Development of a Grandmaster.
In 1993, he tied for 1st place with Vishy Anand in the Groningen Interzonal to determine the challengers for the 1995 PCA World Chess Championship.
In 1994-95, he beat Sergei Tiviakov in the quarter finals, but lost to Anand in the semi-finals.
In 1995, he won the British Rapidplay Championship.
In 1996, he lost to Boris Gelfand in the first round of the Candidates matches for the 1996 FIDE World Chess Championship.
In 1996, he won the British Rapidplay Championship.
In 1996, he wrote Chess in the Fast Lane.
In 1997, he tied for 1st in the British Championship with Matthew Sadler. The event was played in Hove, England.
In 1997 he lost to Anand in the semi-finals of the 1997-1998 FIDE World Chess Championship.
In 1998 he had an Elo rating of 2715 and was the 5th strongest player in the world.
In 1999, he won the British Rapidplay Championship.
In 1999, he reached the semi-finals in the 1999 FIDE World Chess Championshiop before losing to Vladimir Akopian.
In 2000, he reached the semi-finals in the 2000 FIDE World Chess Championship before losing to Anand.
In the 2002 FIDE World Championship, he won his first three rounds before losing to Peter Svidler.
In 2002 he was rated 2757 and was the 4th strongest player in the world (behind Kasparov, Kramnik, and Anand). Three times he has reached the semi-finals of the FIDE World Chess Championship (1997, 1999, 2000).
In 2004, he reached the finals in the World Chess Championship, losing to Rustam Kasimdzhanov in the tie-break games.
In the 2005 FIDE World Chess Championship, he finished 6th-7th.
In June, 2005, while ranked 7 in the world, he lost a chess match with the HYDRA chess program, losing 5 games and drawing one game.
In May-June 2007, Adams lost to Alexey Shirov in the Candidates Tournament to qualify for the 2007 FIDE World Chess Championship.
On the July 2007 FIDE rating list, he is #15 in the world with an Elo rating of 2724.
In July 2007, he married the actress Tara MacGowran.
In August 2007, he won the 5th Howard Staunton Memorial Tournament, held in London.
In 2008, he won the 2nd Ruy Lopez Masters tournament in Merida, Spain.
In 2008, he won the 6th Howard Staunton Memorial Tournament. His highest rating is 2755 (July 2000).
In 2010, he won a strong open tournament in Gibralter.
In 2010, he won the British Championship, held in Canterbury with an undefeated score of 9.5 out of 11.
In 2011, he won the British Championship, held in Sheffield.
In July 2011, he tied for 1st place with Gata Kamsky at the 39th World Open in Philadelphia, but lost in a final Armageddon game.
In September 2011, he got knocked out of the World Cup by Peter Heine Nielsen.
In 2012 he shared 1st place with Nigel short at the Bunratty International. In 2012, he shared 3rd place at the Lndon Chess Classic.
In August 2013, he won at the Dortmund Spakrassen Chess Meeting, scoring 7 out of 9 with a performance rating of 2925.
In October 2013, he took 2nd at the 6th Grand Slam Chess Masters final in Blibao, Spain, behind Aronian.
In 2014, he took 1st place at the London Chess Classic blitz tournament.