Interview with Yusupov during the WYCC in Greece
Artur Yusupov (aka Jussupow) learned to play chess at the age of six and trained at the Young Pioneers’ Palace in Moscow. He was a winner of the World Junior Chess Championship in 1977. This was also the year that he gained the International Master title, qualification as a grandmaster following in 1980. Second place at his first USSR Championship in 1979 (behind Geller). International tournament results in the next decade included first place at Esbjerg 1980, first at Yerevan 1982, equal fourth at Linares 1983, first at the Tunis Interzonal 1985, equal first at Montpellier Candidates 1985, and third at Linares 1988. He also won the 1986 Canadian Open Chess Championship.
By this time Yusupov was also chasing World Championship qualification, reaching the semi-final of the Candidates Tournament on three occasions in 1986 (defeated by Andrei Sokolov), 1989 (defeated by Anatoly Karpov) and 1992 (defeated by Jan Timman).
In the early nineties, he returned to his Moscow apartment one day and disturbed some burglars. During the struggle that broke out, he was shot and considers himself lucky to have survived. Soon after, he decided to move to Germany, which has remained his home ever since.
There were further successes in tournaments; first at Hamburg 1991, first at Amsterdam 1994 and second at Horgen 1994 (a category 18 tournament). It was around this time that he could be regarded as playing his strongest chess, as was reflected by his peak Elo rating of 2680, recorded in July 1995. He notably went on to share first place at the 2002 World Open and won at the Basel Rapid 2005 and at Altenkirchen 2005, making him the German Champion.
In 1999, Yusupov published a book on the Petroff Defence. He was at the time an acknowledged leading authority on the opening, and his book widely considered the most encyclopaedic and comprehensive treatment thus far. He has also been a noted expert on the Lasker Defence of the Queen’s Gambit Declined, bringing many new ideas to an opening over one hundred years old.
“Purposefulness” and “strength of mind” are two of Yusupov’s attributes, according to Alexei Suetin, who described him as “a player with a rational, positional style. He boasts high technical skill in the endgame and detailed knowledge of his customary opening systems. Least of all does he rely on inspiration; his every move is based on industrious study.”
Throughout his playing career, Yusupov has been coached and mentored by Mark Dvoretsky, an International Master who is widely considered to be the world’s leading chess trainer. Yusupov freely acknowledges that Dvoretsky’s influence has been instrumental in many of his biggest victories. The strong alliance and collaboration that developed, led to them setting up the Dvoretsky-Yusupov Chess School. Students of the school have included strong grandmasters Peter Svidler, Sergei Movsesian and Vadim Zvjaginsev. In 2005, Yusupov was awarded the title of FIDE Senior Trainer.
Yusupov has also been a frequent contributor to Dvoretsky’s books and has been a second and advisor to both Viswanathan Anand and Peter Leko during their world championship campaigns. He is a friend and training partner of the Russian GM, Sergey Dolmatov. Dolmatov was another protégé of Dvoretsky and like Yusupov, became a Junior World Champion (in 1978).