French Grandmaster born in Russia. World Junior Champion 1982, USSR Champion in 1984, USSR Junior Champion in 1982. World Candidates finalist in 1987. Living in France since the 1990s.
Sokolov began playing chess at the age of 6, learning from father, a master’s Candidate. When the family moved from the northern city of Vorkuta to Moscow, he continued studying chess under the coaching of Vladimir Yurkov and Dolmatovsky and was advised by the former World Champion Mikhail Botvinnik.
The years 1985 and 1986 were the most successful in Sokolov’s career. He took the third place in the Interzonal Tournament at Biel and the second and the third places in the Candidates Tournament in 1986 at Montpellier. He got the right to play Candidates matches and won the first round versus Rafael Vaganian 6-2, then beat Arthur Jussupow 7½-6½ for the second round. In the final match, he lost to Anatoly Karpov 3½-7½. In 1988, he qualified once more to the world championship cycle but lost to Kevin Spraggett (+1-2=9). Won or shared first at Moscow Open 1990, Clichy Masters 1991 and 1993, Bern Open 1992, Reunion 1991, Cap d’Agde 2000, Metz 2001, Lenk 2005, Jura Open 2007. A participant in the World Championship 1997 and in the Olympiads of 1984 and 1986 for the USSR Team (with two gold medals) and in 2002 and 2006 with the French Team.
Peak rating: 2645 in 1986-87, he was then the third world-rated player.