FIDE World Champion, 2002 - 2004
Born in Horlivka in Ukraina, 1983. In 1994 he came third in the World Under-12 Championship at the age of ten, and the following year won it at the age of eleven. In 1996 he won the European Under-18 Championship at the age of just twelve, and the following year won the World Under-18 Championship. In 1998, at the age of fourteen, he was awarded the Grandmaster title, making him the youngest ever player at that time to hold the title.
In 2002 he beat his fellow countryman Vassily Ivanchuk in the final of the FIDE World Chess Championship 2002 by a score of 4½ - 2½ to become FIDE World Champion at the age of 18, the first teenager and youngest person to ever become FIDE World Champion. Ponomariov remained FIDE champion until Rustam Kasimdzhanov won the FIDE World Chess Championship 2004.