|GM Ildar Ibragimov|
Ildar’s a quiet monster, steadily raising his rating and his profile since his move to the United States in 2002. Starting in 2004, he began to share first place in most of the American Opens he played in!
Ildar’s mainstay openings have consisted of 1.d4, Double King Pawn, Queen’s Gambit Accepted and the Queen’s Indian defense. Maybe there was something in the U.S. water that made him want to experiment, because since moving, Ildar has added 1.e4 and the French defense to his repertoire. He is a tremendous fighter, and wins a lot of even or worse positions by sheer determination and endurance. His solid opening choices compliment a creative and aggressive style that keeps his opponents’ guessing.
Despite excellent showings at his first two tries for the U.S crown, both events finished with heartbreak for Ildar. The first time, in 2005 he missed a win after hours of fighting against Hikaru Nakamura. Ildar later called this loss his favorite game, a funny and modest choice for what most players would consider a disaster.
Ironically, in 2006 he had to count on Hikaru defeating Alex Onischuk in the last round, which would guarantee him a ticket to the final on tiebreak. Ildar said that he wasn’t too disappointed in these narrow misses because those were his first two U.S Championships. In other words, he’ll be in the hunt for the title for many years coming.
In contrast to his generally quiet demeanor, Ildar Ibragimov opened himself up to the chess community when he entered a poem into the 2006 U.S Championship blogging contest, run by Mig Greengard of chessninja. Called, “Our Day Off and its Consequences. Or, How Siberian Cats Play Chess.” it detailed a tough loss Ibragimov suffered against Nick Defirmian, along with a trip to the zoo with his friend Alex Stripunsky. Ildar calls literature and poetry treasured hobbies, emphasizing that they are “only hobbies”, and he’s sticking to chess for now.