Dubov’s coach Sergey Shipov has compared his student’s solid and strategic style to that of former World Champion Tigran Petrosian, though they’re working on sharpening up his play. Dubov revealed his talent when he won the 2009 Young World Stars tournament despite being the youngest of twelve Russian and foreign rivals. He claimed the grandmaster title at 14 but really announced his arrival as a 16-year-old in 2012, when he dominated the Russian Higher League to qualify with a round to spare for the full Russian Championship. He was expected to struggle, but instead more than held his own against the stars of Russian chess, even if his final result of eight draws and one loss (to Nikita Vitiugov) was mildly disappointing.
Dubov continues to attend a normal school, which was a bone of contention with his previous coach Sergey Dolmatov, who stopped working with the young star after describing him as “unpromising”. The Russian Chess Federation also gives Dubov little support, but the seemingly nerveless youngster looks likely to prove a lot of people wrong. In 2013 he knocked knockout specialist Ruslan Ponomariov out of the World Cup after their 2nd round match went all the way to Armageddon, though he fell to Anton Korobov in the next round.