Garry Kasparov is a Russian chess player. A grandmaster, Kasparov is a former World Chess Champion who was ranked No. 1 for 255 months during his career that spanned 21 years. After his retirement, Garry Kasparov focused on writing and politics; he founded a social movement called the United Civil Front, which is part of an opposition coalition in Moscow.
Russian chess grandmaster, Anatoly Karpov, was the official world champion from 1975 to 1985, before finally being defeated by Garry Kasparov. With over 160 first-place finishes, Karpov is widely considered one of the greatest players in history. Since his retirement, he has involved himself in several humanitarian causes. He has an extensive stamp collection.
Viktor Korchnoi was a writer and chess grandmaster. He is widely regarded as one of the best players never to have achieved the World Chess Championship title. He played chess until old age and became the oldest player to be ranked in the top 100 players list when he won the World Senior Chess Championship in 2006 at age 75.
Soviet chess player Mikhail Botvinnik was a three-time World Champion. At 14, he defeated the reigning world champion José Raúl Capablanca in an exhibition match. He was also a skilled computer engineer. He adopted a scientific approach to chess and penned several books on chess, too.
Russian super grandmaster Alexander Grischuk is also a three-time World Blitz winner and one of two people to have earned multiple blitz world titles. He has also won four World Team Chess Championship gold medals, including an individual medal, and two Olympiad gold medals. He is married to grandmaster Kateryna Lagno.
Russian super grandmaster Ian Nepomniachtchi is known for winning titles such as the 2020/21 Candidates Tournament. He has a good record against world champions such as Vladimir Kramnik, Viswanathan Anand, and Garry Kasparov. He is also a professional player of the online strategy game Dota and plays on chess.com as lachesisq.
Russian grandmaster Peter Svidler had started playing chess at age 6. Initially mentored by Andrey Lukin, he later grew up to win the Russian Chess Championship eight times. However, in spite of competing in three World Championship tournaments, he never won the world title. He now appears as a chess commentator.
While he created a record with his 17 Chess Olympiad medals, Russian grandmaster Vasily Smyslov has also been a World Chess Champion. He had begun playing chess at age 6, inspired by his chess player father. Initially an opera singer, he stepped into professional chess after being rejected in an audition.
Ukrainian chess player Lyudmila Rudenko made history by becoming the second world women’s chess champion. Though she had begun playing chess as a child, she took it up seriously while on an economic planning meeting in Moscow. She also evacuated countless children during the Siege of Leningrad.
Russian businessman Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, an ethnic Kalymk, has served as the President of Kalmykia, apart from presiding over the chess governing body FIDE. He also established the publishing house Novy Vzglyad. He once stated that he was briefly abducted by aliens in a spaceship and then returned back to Earth.
Alexandra Kosteniuk earned the grandmaster title at 20, thus becoming the 10th woman to achieve the feat. She has won several contests, such as the Russian and European women’s championship. She has also appeared in a film and promotes chess through streams and as a chess ambassador.
Elite Russian grandmaster Sergey Karjakin was 5 years of age when he began playing chess and a little over 12 when he made history by becoming the world’s youngest grandmaster. His skills have also earned him the nickname Minister of Defense. He is best known for his defenses against Magnus Carlsen.
Though initially equally good in chess and draughts, Rashid Nezhmetdinov later chose chess as his career. He had also been part of the military during World War II. He is remembered for his attacking style and for his iconic game against Polugaevsky in Sochi in 1958.
Vladimir Kramnik is a Russian chess player who was honored with the prestigious Grandmaster title in 1992. From 2000 to 2006, Kramnik held the Classical World Chess Championship title. From 2006 to 2007, he held the undisputed World Chess Championship title. He has also won three individual medals and three team gold medals at Chess Olympiads.
Alexander Alekhine was a French and Russian chess player renowned for his imaginative and fierce attacking style. He also possessed great positional and endgame skill, which he used effectively to reign as the World Chess Champion from 1927 to 1935 and then from 1937 to 1946. Also a theoretician, Alexander Alekhine innovated several opening variations, including the Alekhine's Defence.
Unlike other renowned chess players, Mikhail Chigorin began playing chess quite late, at 16, and only began pursuing it seriously after leaving his job as a government officer. He was associated with the Romantic chess style and paved way for the Soviet chess school. He had also launched a chess magazine.
International grandmaster Maia Chiburdanidze made headlines after winning the Women’s World Chess Championship at age 17. She is also the second female chess player to be named a grandmaster by FIDE. She has also been featured on postage stamps and documentaries. She prefers competing against male chess players.
Alexander Morozevich once had a rating of 2788, second only to Viswanathan Anand. He isn’t a fan of draws in chess. He earned the grandmaster title before age 18 and is a two-time Russian champion. He later gained fame in the blindfold chess category. He is also a talented go player.
Russian chess grandmaster Yuri Averbakh remains the oldest living grandmaster in the world. He was active in the world chess arena till the 1980s and played till the age of 85. He has also been an expert in endgame theory and has penned several articles on chess.
Russian grandmaster Alexander Kotov had held major posts in the Soviet Chess Federation. He is also remembered as the author of the bestselling book Think Like A Grandmaster, which remains one of the most influential manuals on the subject of chess and explains peculiar chess-related terms such as the Kotov syndrome.
Apart from being a FIDE world champion, Russian grandmaster Alexander Khalifman has also been part of the gold medal-winning Olympiad teams of his country. He had begun playing chess at 6 and gained the grandmaster title at age 24. He is now an acclaimed chess trainer and runs a chess academy.
Russian International Master and Woman Grandmaster Alina Kashlinskaya has had many accomplishments, including the 2019 European Women’s Individual Chess Championship win and the top women’s prize at the Chess.com Isle of Man tournament. She also won the Russian Junior Girls Championship. She is married to Polish chess Grandmaster Radosław Wojtaszek.
Grandmaster Valentina Gunina has won both the Women's European Individual Chess Championship and the Russian Women's Championship thrice. She also won the 2000 European under-12 girls’ championship and was the first winner of the Cairns Cup. Her accolades include the Medal of the Order "For Merit to the Fatherland."
Three-time European champion, Natalia Pogonina is a Woman Grandmaster. She began learning chess at age 5 from her grandfather. She also pens chess columns and is currently studying to get a law degree. Her accomplishments include being the only player to win the Eurocup and European Team Chess Championship simultaneously.
Aleksandra Goryachkina made headlines after losing the 2020 Women’s World Chess Championship in a tiebreaker. She was also the first player to make it to the Russian Championship Superfinal’s open section. Ranked no.2 by FIDE, the grandmaster is the daughter of chess player parents. However, she initially preferred table tennis.
Woman Grandmaster and International Master Polina Shuvalova has not just won the World Girls Champion thrice but has also earned other major titles such as the Moscow Women’s Chess Champion and the Vice Russian Women Chess Champion. As of 2021, she was the top-ranked under-20 chess player.
Tatiana Kosintseva began learning chess at age 6. Both she and her elder sister Nadya excelled in the game and began competing at tournaments. The grandmaster has also won the European Women's Championship twice and the Russian Women's Championship thrice. She also has a degree in law.
Woman Grandmaster and International Master Alisa Galliamova is not just a three-time Russian national champion but has also been a runner-up at the 1999 and 2006 Women’s World Chess Championships. She was previously married to top Ukrainian chess player and grandmaster Vassily Ivanchuk, though they separated in 1996.
Russian Grandmaster Nadezhda Kosintseva won her first gold at the European Youth Chess Championship (Girls Under-10). Continuing with her winning spree, she eventually became Woman International Master in 2001, Woman Grandmaster in 2002, International Master in 2004 and finally the Grandmaster in 2011. Currently retired from professional chess, she holds a B.A. degree in Jurisprudence and M.Sc. degree in Finance.
30 Miron Sher
Russian-American grandmaster Miron Sher had not just won various tournaments but was also a renowned coach who had groomed top-notch chess players such as world no. 2 grandmaster Fabiano Caruana. He had also attended grad school for physical education. He was married to Woman Grandmaster Alla Grinfeld.
Two-time Soviet champion chess player Grigory Levenfish was one of the first to receive the title of grandmaster. However, his chess career was riddled with lack of recognition, and he was the only grandmaster who didn’t receive any state stipend. He also penned books on chess.
Woman International Master, International Master, and Woman Grandmaster Elisaveta Bykova was a two-time Women's World Chess Champion and had defeated top-rated chess champion Lyudmila Rudenko. Though educated at the Institute for Economic Planning, she later devoted her life to chess. She had also penned chess-related columns and several books on chess.
Though a qualified engineer, Olga Rubtsova later devoted her life to chess and had been a women’s world champion. She also made history by being the only player to be the world champion in both over-the-board and correspondence games. She also won the titles Woman Grandmaster and International Master.
David Bronstein was a chess player. Considered a master of tactics and creative genius, Bronstein was one of the strongest players in the world from the 1940s to the 1970s. Bronstein is also remembered for his skills as a chess writer; his book, Zurich International Chess Tournament, 1953 is regarded as one of the greatest chess books of all time.
Mark Taimanov was a Soviet and Russian chess player. A leading player of his generation, Taimanov was ranked among the top 20 players in the world from 1946 to 1971. In 1952, he was honored with the Grandmaster title. A multi-talented personality, Mark Taimanov was also a concert pianist. He had formed a piano duo with his wife Lyubov Bruk.