Sergey Karjakin was born in Simferopol on the Crimean peninsula of Ukraine. He represented Ukraine until 2009, when he changed federations and now represents Russia. Karjakin was a childhood chess prodigy; he still holds the honor of being the youngest player to earn the grandmaster title at the age of 12 years and 7 months. Sergey showed in all eight of the Chess Olympiads in which he competed, earning three gold, two silver and two bronze medals. In 2016, Karjakin won the Candidates Tournament and with it, the honor to challenge World Champion Magnus Carlsen for the title. After a hotly contested November match in New York, Karjakin had a tied score against the world champion, but lost the match on playoffs. His defensive skills during the match earned him the playful title of Russia’s “Minister of Defense”. He is a former World Blitz and World Rapid Champion. He has won team gold with team Russia during the 2013 and 2019 World Team Championship.