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.
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.
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.
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.
Tigran Petrosian was a Soviet-Armenian chess player who achieved the grandmaster title in 1952. Nicknamed Iron Tigran, Petrosian was the World Chess Champion between 1963 and 1969. Regarded as one of the best chess players in Armenia during his generation, Tigran Petrosian is credited with popularizing the game in Armenia. He also won the USSR Chess Championship on four occasions.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.