Famous Russian Chess Players

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Garry Kasparov

Garry Kasparov.
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Famous As: Chess Player
Birthdate: April 13, 1963
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Baku

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.

 2 Anatoly Karpov

Anatoly Karpov.
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Famous As: Former World Chess Champion
Birthdate: May 23, 1951
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Zlatoust, Russia

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.

 3 Viktor Korchnoi

Viktor Korchnoi.
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Famous As: Chess Player
Birthdate: March 23, 1931
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Died: June 6, 2016

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.

 4 Mikhail Botvinnik

Mikhail Botvinnik.
3
Famous As: Chess player
Birthdate: August 17, 1911
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Repino, Russia
Died: May 5, 1995

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.

 5 Alexander Grischuk

Alexander Grischuk.
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Famous As: Chess Player
Birthdate: October 31, 1983
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia

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.

 6 Ian Nepomniachtchi

Ian Nepomniachtchi
3
Famous As: Chess Player
Birthdate: July 14, 1990
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Bryansk, Russia

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.

 7 Peter Svidler

Peter Svidler
3
Famous As: Chess player
Birthdate: June 17, 1976
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg

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.

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 8 Vasily Smyslov

Vasily Smyslov
3
Famous As: Chess grandmaster
Birthdate: March 24, 1921
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Moscow, Soviet Union
Died: March 27, 2010

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.

 9 Lyudmila Rudenko

Lyudmila Rudenko
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Famous As: Chess player
Birthdate: July 27, 1904
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Lubny, Ukraine
Died: February 28, 1986

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.

 10 Kirsan Ilyumzhinov

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov
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Famous As: Businessperson, Politician, Journalist, Chess official, Chess player
Birthdate: April 5, 1962
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Elista

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.

 11 Alexandra Kosteniuk

Alexandra Kosteniuk
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Famous As: Chess Player
Birthdate: April 23, 1984
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Perm, Russia

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.

 12 Sergey Karjakin

Sergey Karjakin
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Famous As: Chess Player
Birthdate: January 12, 1990
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Simferopol, Ukraine

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.

 13 Rashid Nezhmetdinov

Rashid Nezhmetdinov
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Famous As: Chess Player
Birthdate: December 15, 1912
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Aktiubinsk, Russia
Died: June 3, 1974

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.

 14 Vladimir Kramnik

Vladimir Kramnik
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Famous As: Chess Player
Birthdate: June 25, 1975
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Tuapse, Russia

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.

 15 Alexander Alekhine

Alexander Alekhine.
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Famous As: French chess player
Birthdate: October 31, 1892
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Moscow
Died: March 24, 1946

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.

 16 Mikhail Chigorin

Mikhail Chigorin
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Famous As: Chess player
Birthdate: November 12, 1850
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Gatchina
Died: January 25, 1908

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.

 17 Maya Chiburdanidze

Maya Chiburdanidze
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Famous As: Chess player
Birthdate: January 17, 1961
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Kutaisi, Soviet Union

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.

 18 Alexander Morozevich

Alexander Morozevich
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Famous As: Chess player
Birthdate: July 18, 1977
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia

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.

 19 Yuri Averbakh

Yuri Averbakh
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Famous As: Chess player, Writer
Birthdate: February 8, 1922
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Kaluga, Russia

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.

 20 Alexander Kotov

Alexander Kotov
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Famous As: Chess player, Non-fiction writer
Birthdate: August 12, 1913
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Tula, Russia
Died: January 8, 1981

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.

 21 Alexander Khalifman

Alexander Khalifman
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Famous As: Chess player, Coach
Birthdate: January 18, 1966
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia

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.

 22 Alina Kashlinskaya

Alina Kashlinskaya
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Famous As: Chess player
Birthdate: October 28, 1993
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia

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.

 23 Valentina Gunina

Valentina Gunina
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Famous As: Chess player
Birthdate: February 4, 1989
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Murmansk, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union

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."

 24 Natalia Pogonina

Natalia Pogonina
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Famous As: Chess player
Birthdate: March 9, 1985
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Vladivostok, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union

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.

 25 Aleksandra Goryachkina

Aleksandra Goryachkina
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Famous As: Chess player
Birthdate: September 28, 1998
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Orsk, Russia

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.

 26 Polina Shuvalova

Polina Shuvalova
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Famous As: Chess player
Birthdate: March 12, 2001
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Orsk, Russia

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.

 27 Tatiana Kosintseva

Tatiana Kosintseva
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Famous As: Chess player
Birthdate: April 11, 1986
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Arkhangelsk, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union

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.

 28 Alisa Galliamova

Alisa Galliamova
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Famous As: Chess player
Birthdate: January 18, 1972
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Kazan, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union

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.

 29 Nadezhda Kosintseva

Nadezhda Kosintseva
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Famous As: Chess player
Birthdate: January 14, 1985
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Arkhangelsk, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union

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

Miron Sher
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Famous As: Chess player
Birthdate: June 29, 1952
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Chernivtsi, Ukrainian SSR,[1] USSR
Died: August 20, 2020

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.

 31 Grigory Levenfish

Grigory Levenfish
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Famous As: Chess player, Writer
Birthdate: March 19, 1889
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Piotrków Trybunalski, Poland
Died: February 9, 1961

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.

 32 Elisaveta Bykova

Elisaveta Bykova
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Famous As: Chess Player
Birthdate: November 4, 1913
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Bogolyubovo, Russia
Died: March 8, 1989

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.

 33 Olga Rubtsova

Olga Rubtsova
1
Famous As: Chess player
Birthdate: August 20, 1909
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
Died: December 30, 1994

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.

 34 David Bronstein

David Bronstein
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Famous As: Chess player, Writer
Birthdate: February 19, 1924
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Bila Tserkva, Ukraine
Died: December 5, 2006

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.

 35 Alexander Baburin

Alexander Baburin
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Famous As: Chess player, Writer
Birthdate: February 19, 1967
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Nizhny Novgorod, Russia

 36 Mark Taimanov

Mark Taimanov
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Famous As: Chess player
Birthdate: February 7, 1926
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Kharkiv, Ukraine
Died: November 28, 2016

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. 

 37 Alexey Sarana

Alexey Sarana
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Famous As: Chess player
Birthdate: January 26, 2000
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia

 38 Evgeny Sveshnikov

Evgeny Sveshnikov
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Famous As: Chess player, Writer
Birthdate: February 11, 1950
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Chelyabinsk, Russia
Died: August 18, 2021

 39 Dmitry Andreikin

Dmitry Andreikin
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Famous As: Chess player
Birthdate: February 5, 1990
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Ryazan, Russia

 40 Nikita Vitiugov

Nikita Vitiugov
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Famous As: Chess player
Birthdate: February 4, 1987
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia

 41 Alexander Petrov

Alexander Petrov
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Famous As: Chess player, Writer
Birthdate: February 12, 1794
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Russia
Died: April 22, 1867

 42 Salo Flohr

Salo Flohr
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Famous As: Chess player, Writer
Birthdate: November 21, 1908
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Horodenka, Ukraine
Died: July 18, 1983

 43 Veniamin Sozin

Veniamin Sozin
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Famous As: Chess player
Birthdate: 1896 AD
Birthplace: Russia
Died: 1956 AD

 44 Pavel Tregubov

Pavel Tregubov
1
Famous As: Chess player
Birthdate: December 21, 1971
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Russia

 45 Semyon Alapin

Semyon Alapin
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Famous As: Chess player
Birthdate: November 19, 1856
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Died: August 15, 1923

 46 Lev Polugaevsky

Lev Polugaevsky
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Famous As: Chess Player
Birthdate: November 20, 1934
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Mogilev, Belarus
Died: August 30, 1995

 47 Andrey Esipenko

Andrey Esipenko
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Famous As: Chess player
Birthdate: March 22, 2002
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Novocherkassk, Russia

 48 Mark Dvoretsky

Mark Dvoretsky
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Famous As: Chess coach, Writer
Birthdate: December 9, 1947
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
Died: September 26, 2016

 49 Stanislav Bogdanovich

Stanislav Bogdanovich
2
Famous As: Chess player
Birthdate: February 4, 1993
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Odessa, Ukraine
Died: March 5, 2020

 50 Kirill Alekseenko

Kirill Alekseenko
2
Famous As: Chess player
Birthdate: June 22, 1997
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Vyborg, Russia