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Sergei Karjakin was born on 12 january 1990 in Simferopol, Ukraine. He represented this country till 2009. After that he started playing for the Russian Federation.

His first major succeses were the junior gold medals in 1999 as European U10 Champion  and in 2001 as World U12 Champion.

In 2002, at only 12 years and 7 months he managed to become the youngest grand master in history.

At the 36th Chess Olympiad in Calvià, he was the youngest member of the gold-medal winning Ukrainian team. He also won an individual gold medal thanks to his score of 6½/7 points playing the second reserve board.

Other highlights reached in 2007 (World Champion quarterfinalist), 2009 (Wijk aan Zee winner), 2011 (Kings Tournament – shared 1-2 with Magnus Carlsen), 2012 (Astana – World Rapid Chess Champion), 2015 (World Cup Winner – after beating Peter Svidler at tiebreaks), 2016 (Doha – World Blitz Champion).

2016 is the peak of his career, he won the Candidates Tournament in Moscov and playing the final for the World Champion Title, were he lead the match till the 10th round, losing to Magnus Carlsen in rapid chess tiebreaks.