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.

Vote for Your Favourite Russian Chess Players

 1 
Garry Kasparov
(Chess Player)

Garry Kasparov
10
Birthdate: April 13, 1963
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Baku, Azerbaijan

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
(Chess player)

Anatoly Karpov
6
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 
Boris Spassky
(Chess Grandmaster)

Boris Spassky
6
Birthdate: January 30, 1937
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia

Boris Spassky is a Russian chess player who held the World Chess Championship title from 1969 to 1972. He was part of the famous World Chess Championship match in 1972 where he lost his championship title to Bobby Fischer of the United States. In Bobby Fischer's 2014 biopic Pawn Sacrifice, Boris Spassky is portrayed by American actor Isaac Liev Schreiber.

 4 
Alexander Alekhine
(Chess player)

Alexander Alekhine
8
Birthdate: October 31, 1892
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
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.

 5 
Tigran Petrosian
(Chess player, Writer)

Tigran Petrosian
3
Birthdate: June 17, 1929
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Tbilisi, Georgia
Died: August 13, 1984

 6 
Mikhail Botvinnik
(Word Chess Champion Known for His Contribution to the Design of the World Chess Championship System)

Mikhail Botvinnik
4
Birthdate: August 17, 1911
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Repino, Saint Petersburg, 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.

 7 
Ian Nepomniachtchi
(Chess Player)

Ian Nepomniachtchi
4
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.

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 8 
Alexander Grischuk
(Chess Player)

Alexander Grischuk
3
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.

 9 
Vasily Smyslov
(Chess grandmaster)

Vasily Smyslov
3
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.

 10 
Lyudmila Rudenko
(Chess player)

Lyudmila Rudenko
4
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.

 11 
Aron Nimzowitsch
(Chess player)

Aron Nimzowitsch
3
Birthdate: November 7, 1886
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Riga, Latvia
Died: March 16, 1935

Latvian-born Aron Nimzowitsch escaped to Berlin and then to Copenhagen to avoid being drafted into the army during the Russian Revolution. He is best known for his cult classic book My System, which promotes the Hypermodern school of chess. In spite of repeated attempts, he failed to secure a world title.

 12 
Vladimir Kramnik
(Chess Player)

Vladimir Kramnik
4
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.

 13 
Sergey Karjakin
(Chess Player)

Sergey Karjakin
6
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.

 14 
Ossip Bernstein
(Chess Player)

Ossip Bernstein
2
Birthdate: September 20, 1882
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Zhytomyr, Ukraine
Died: November 30, 1962

 15 
Viktor Korchnoi
(Chess Player)

Viktor Korchnoi
5
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.

 16 
Alexandra Kosteniuk
(Chess Player)

Alexandra Kosteniuk
3
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.

 17 
Kirsan Ilyumzhinov
(Businessperson, Politician, Journalist, Chess official, Chess player)

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov
3
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.

 18 
Nazi Paikidze
(Chess player)

Nazi Paikidze
3
Birthdate: October 27, 1993
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Irkutsk, Russia

Georgia-born Nazi Paikidze had earned four European Youth Chess Championships by the time she was 16. She is also a six-time World Youth Chess Championship winner. The Woman Grandmaster and International Master later moved to Moscow and then to the US, where she is currently studying information systems.

 19 
Anish Giri
(Chess player)

Anish Giri
2
Birthdate: June 28, 1994
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia

 20 
Peter Svidler
(Chess player)

Peter Svidler
3
Birthdate: June 17, 1976
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia

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.

 21 
Andrey Esipenko
(Chess player)

Andrey Esipenko
2
Birthdate: March 22, 2002
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Novocherkassk, Russia

 22 
Rashid Nezhmetdinov
(Chess Player)

Rashid Nezhmetdinov
3
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.

 23 
Daniil Dubov
(Chess Player)

Daniil Dubov
2
Birthdate: April 18, 1996
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia

 24 
Mikhail Chigorin
(Chess player)

Mikhail Chigorin
2
Birthdate: November 12, 1850
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Gatchina, Russia
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.

 25 
Alexander Morozevich
(Chess player)

Alexander Morozevich
2
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.

 26 
Kirill Alekseenko
(Chess player)

Kirill Alekseenko
2
Birthdate: June 22, 1997
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Vyborg, Russia

 27 

Aleksandra Goryachkina
3
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.

 28 
Yuri Averbakh
(Chess player, Writer)

Yuri Averbakh
2
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.

 29 
Alla Kushnir
(Chess player)

Alla Kushnir
2
Birthdate: August 11, 1941
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia SSR, Soviet Union
Died: August 2, 2013

Alla Kushnir was a  celebrated Soviet-born Israel chess player, who began her career in her birth country, becoming a Woman International Master and winning two Women's Chess Olympiads before migrating to Israel. There she continued to excel, eventually becoming Woman Grandmaster. Also three times Women's World Chess Championship Challenger, she later became a professor of archeology at Tel Aviv University.

 30 
David Bronstein
(Chess player, Writer)

David Bronstein
0
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.

 31 
Vladislav Artemiev
(Chess player)

Vladislav Artemiev
2
Birthdate: March 5, 1998
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Omsk, Russia

 32 
Mark Taimanov
(Chess player)

Mark Taimanov
0
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. 

 33 
Maya Chiburdanidze
(Chess player)

Maya Chiburdanidze
3
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.

 34 
Alexander Khalifman
(Chess player, Coach)

Alexander Khalifman
2
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.

 35 
Alexander Kotov
(Chess player, Non-fiction writer)

Alexander Kotov
2
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.

 36 
Stanislav Bogdanovich
(Chess player)

Stanislav Bogdanovich
3
Birthdate: February 4, 1993
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Odessa, Ukraine
Died: March 5, 2020

 37 
Vladimir Fedoseev
(Chess player)

Vladimir Fedoseev
2
Birthdate: February 16, 1995
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia

 38 
Alina Kashlinskaya
(Chess player)

Alina Kashlinskaya
2
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 RadosÅ‚aw Wojtaszek.

 39 
Mark Dvoretsky
(Chess coach, Writer)

Mark Dvoretsky
2
Birthdate: December 9, 1947
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
Died: September 26, 2016

 40 
Valentina Gunina
(Chess player)

Valentina Gunina
2
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."

 41 
Polina Shuvalova
(Chess player)

Polina Shuvalova
2
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.

 42 
Natalia Pogonina
(Chess player)

Natalia Pogonina
2
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.

 43 
Dmitry Andreikin
(Chess player)

Dmitry Andreikin
1
Birthdate: February 5, 1990
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Ryazan, Russia

 44 
Evgeny Bareev
(Chess player)

Evgeny Bareev
2
Birthdate: November 21, 1966
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Yemanzhelinsk, Russia

Born in the Soviet Union, Evgeny Bareev initially represented the Soviet and Russia in chess and eventually moved to Canada, representing it in the sport. The former world number 4 was also named a Grandmaster. He also co-wrote the popular book From London to Elista and coached the Russian national team.

 45 
Evgeny Sveshnikov
(Chess player, Writer)

Evgeny Sveshnikov
1
Birthdate: February 11, 1950
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Chelyabinsk, Russia
Died: August 18, 2021

 46 
Tatiana Kosintseva
(Chess player)

Tatiana Kosintseva
2
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.

 47 
Alisa Galliamova
(Chess player)

Alisa Galliamova
2
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.

 48 
Nikita Vitiugov
(Chess player)

Nikita Vitiugov
1
Birthdate: February 4, 1987
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia

 49 
Salo Flohr
(Chess player, Writer)

Salo Flohr
1
Birthdate: November 21, 1908
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Horodenka, Ukraine
Died: July 18, 1983

 50 
Lev Polugaevsky
(Chess Player)

Lev Polugaevsky
2
Birthdate: November 20, 1934
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Mogilev, Belarus
Died: August 30, 1995