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|GM Igor Novikov|
Novikov is known as the “grinder” because of his technical and positional skills. A weaker player often gets an equal, dry position against Igor Novikov, and becomes excited about a draw. “Not so easy!” is the Novikov philosophy.
Novikov famously said to chess journalist Jerry Hanken that he doesn’t enjoy playing chess. This stark statement is countered by Novikov’s second point: He loves the social, experimental act of analyzing chess. The playing on the other hand, is a job.
Novikov has a solid, narrow and well-studied opening repertoire, consisting of 1.d4, the Najdorf and the Semi-Slav.
In both Europe and America, Igor Novikov has played in many tournaments in which he is the highest rated player in the event. Often, these tournaments are Round Robins in which other players are after Grandmaster norms (you need three to get the title); as a high-rated Grandmaster, Igor is paid to play in such events. Igor usually comes through with a first place, from Smartchess’ two New York invitationals to round robins in Cairo and Lvov.
In addition to chess, Igor is a part-time travel agent. He helps friends find nice, cheap hotels near tournament sites—if you’re a GM staying at a central Holiday Inn for 39$ a night, chances are that Igor Novikov had something to do with it. For an American professional, this reduces tournament expense overhead, effectively increasing prizes. Just another way in which Igor Novikov is the ultimate chess professional.