Emil Sutovsky was born on September 19, 1977 in Baku, Azerbaijan. In 1996, he won the World Junior Chess Championship in Medelln. In 1997, he finished 1st in a double round-robin VAM Hoogeveen Tournament, ahead of Judit Polgar, Loek van Wely and Vassily Smyslov. He won Hastings in 2000 ahead of Alexey Dreev and Jonathan Speelman. In 2001, Sutovsky participated in the 2nd European Chess Championship in Ohrid, Macedonia. Among the 204 participants, 143 were Grandmasters. He started with an ordinary 3.5/6, but then he began a series of resounding victories and finished the tournament with 9.5/13, along with future FIDE World Champion Ruslan Ponomariov. He finished ahead of Judit Polgar, Nigel Short, and many other world-class players. He went on to beat Ponomariov 1.5-0.5 in a rapid chess tie-break and was crowned European Champion.
Sutovsky finished tied for 1st in two major open tournaments in 2005. He scored 7.5/10 in Gibraltar, the same score as Levon Aronian, Zahar Efimenko, Kiril Georgiev and Alexei Shirov. At the Aeroflot Open in Moscow, he scored 6.5/9, the same score as Vasily Ivanchuk, Alexander Motylev, Andrei Kharlov and Vladimir Akopian. His superior tie-break in Moscow gave him 1st place and earned him an invitation to the prestigious Dortmund tournament later in the year, in which he beat classical World Champion Vladimir Kramnik and finished with a score of 3.5/9. Sutovsky has played in three FIDE Knock-out World Championships. He was eliminated in the 1st round by Guildardo Garcia in 1997; in 2000 he was eliminated in the 1st round by Igor Nataf; Vasily Ivanchuk, the eventual runner-up, eliminated him in the 3rd round in 2001. He did not participate in the controversial 2004 championship because of concerns about how its hosts, Libya, would treat Israeli players.
Sutovsky's uncompromising style means his tournament results can be somewhat inconsistent. Before his successes in Gibraltar and Moscow, he had performed disappointingly in 2004 at round-robin events at Pamplona (3/7), Pune (3.5/9), and Ashdod (1.5/5). He has won nearly 40 International Grandmaster Tournaments and is arguably the most volatile player among top Grandmasters. His style has also resulted in some spectacular games: in the 2002 Israeli Championship, his sacrificial victory over Ilya Smirin was voted the best game of issue 86 of Chess Informant, and his victory of Danny Gormally at Gibraltar of 2005 earned him the prize for best game. This game was highly appraised by FIDE World Champion Vishwanathan Anand who picked this game as the best chess game he had ever seen.
Sutovsky nearly always plays 1. e4 with White, occasionally testing unfashionable or old-fashioned openings such as the Two Knights Defense, the King's Gambit, and the Scotch Game. With Black, he usually plays the Gr nfeld Defence or King's Indian Defense against 1. d4 and almost exclusively the Sicilian Defense against 1. e4. On the October 2005 FIDE rating list, he ha an Elo rating of 2654, making him Israel's number 3 (behind Boris Gelfand and Ilia Smirin) and number 48 in the world.
Back to Famous Chess Players