GM Vladimir Malakhov
Vladimir Malakhov is a professional Russian chess player, he is a great player who comes from a totally different frame. The concepts and opinions of this player are simply incredible and realistic.
Some people have had the pleasure of knowing him to watch his interviews, you can find some interviews on google. But what is amazing is to hear these grandmasters’ shocking opinions about chess in the elite.
Another important aspect about Malakhov is that, although he is not a famous chess player, he is one strong master. The uniqueness of his style and ways are something to admire and surely you will learn a thing or two from him.
You can also find Vladimir Malakhov on lichess.org where he has a +2600 rating, and he is a chess coach on the platform. He was one of the few players in the world who surpassed the 2700 rating barrier when he was young.
He had an interesting and cluttered life since he was young, he was a great student who discovered an astonishing talent for chess. His parents were Physicists so that is what he studied: Physics.
You will not believe the backstory of this grandmaster and how he approaches o chess.
Vladimir Malakhov was a “prodigy” as a child, he won the under 12 Russian chess championship in 1992. Then, he moved one step further and won the under 14 world chess championship in 1993.
His progress in chess was relentless, as every dedicated adolescent devoted to chess in his youth. He kept working until he reached the IM title in 1995 at the age of 15.
He continued to achieve good results in varied chess competitions, which led him to achieve the GM title when he was 18 years old in 1998.
He was not only into chess; he also studied to become a physicist as his parents by the time. He has had problems in school because he was not only good at chess but in maths.
Vladimir tells us at the interview that once he had trouble at his institute regarding his journeys for chess competitions. One time, he says, he didn’t attend the final of a mathematics competition in which he represented his school.
The reason was he had arranged a journey out of his country to meet a chess tournament, and his school took the offense.
Playstyle and favorite ideas
The playstyle of this master is nothing aggressive or dynamic, but actually, is really difficult to define him as a player. This is what makes him unique and, personally, I think is what made him succeed.
He is not to compare to other chess players who, really have very defined styles and are very equivalent in their play. He is a player that can adapt himself to the situation of the board, like any other grandmaster.
The thing with the GM Vladimir Malakhov is that he actually has no preferred playstyle in his chess. In his games you can watch a very varied playstyle, sometimes playing quiet positional lines and sometimes dynamic and dangerous variations.
He is a player who knows about every aspect of the game and performs equally well in any kind of position. This is probably the reason why his opponents have had a hard time preparing against him.
On the other hand, on his lichess.org profile, you can read that he is a specialist in positional strategical wins. This while he is describing himself as a chess coach on this website, which you should really check out!
Vladimir Malakhov’s perception of elite chess
Of course, this master as a chess coach surely has some unique, yet effective tricks to play chess at the top level. But he has been struggling with the same problem that every player at 2700 rating experiments.
At these levels is pretty difficult to achieve the advantage in the opening phase of the game. This converts chess into a purely theoretical game in which there is no swift.
The impossibility to create a misbalance is a problem in elite chess competitions. This turned preparation for chess tournaments into a harsh task, so he found himself stuck.
He has never touched a chess book since he was 19, that came out of his own mouth, it’s possible to become a chess grandmaster without studying chess books. GM Vladimir Malakhov, by no means meant chess players, shouldn’t study chess books, but that it’s important in the first phases of chess improvement.
He says, what is really important to progress in chess when you have a considerably good chess understanding is studying the opening. And what he referred is the raw truth that in 2700 chess the one factor that really makes a difference is the theory.
This may sound discouraging to some players, but this statement actually makes a lot of sense. At the top level, everyone knows the important positional aspects of the game, and the analysis capability of GMs is simply amazing.
The reason why chess is becoming, bit by bit, into a repetitive chess theory’s memory game. That’s the reason why Vladimir Kramnik wants to play chess without castling!
How GM Vladimir Malakhov studies chess
He has a unique methodology, for starters, he doesn’t like to study chess endgames. This may sound contradictory to what the classic masters like Capablanca think, but he has a good reason to say that.
When you study a chess endgame how likely is it to actually get it?
You are right, you NEED to know how to win a king plus pawn against a king endgame. Yet, how many times in your life you needed to checkmate with the bishop and knight?
The amount of time invested in chess endgames can be huge, in the case of these kinds of endgames extremely difficult. However, the amount of times you encounter the position is not worth the effort, and we have GM Vladimir Malakhov to back up.
In the end, that is an individual decision for every chess player, study or not the endgame. This GM in particular DID study his endgames, but he has never really used that knowledge.
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