The Most Famous

CHESS PLAYERS from Ukraine

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This page contains a list of the greatest Ukrainian Chess Players. The pantheon dataset contains 376 Chess Players, 30 of which were born in Ukraine. This makes Ukraine the birth place of the 2nd most number of Chess Players.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Ukrainian Chess Players of all time. This list of famous Ukrainian Chess Players is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Ukrainian Chess Players.

Photo of David Bronstein

1. David Bronstein (1924 - 2006)

With an HPI of 68.83, David Bronstein is the most famous Ukrainian Chess Player.  His biography has been translated into 35 different languages on wikipedia.

David Ionovich Bronstein (Russian: Дави́д Ио́нович Бронште́йн; February 19, 1924 – December 5, 2006) was a Soviet and Russian chess player. Awarded the title of International Grandmaster by FIDE in 1950, he narrowly missed becoming World Chess Champion in 1951. Bronstein was one of the world's strongest players from the mid-1940s into the mid-1970s, and was described by his peers as a creative genius and master of tactics. Also a renowned chess writer, his book Zurich International Chess Tournament 1953 is widely considered one of the greatest chess books ever written.

Photo of Efim Bogoljubov

2. Efim Bogoljubov (1889 - 1952)

With an HPI of 67.38, Efim Bogoljubov is the 2nd most famous Ukrainian Chess Player.  His biography has been translated into 30 different languages.

Efim Dmitriyevich Bogoljubov (Russian: Ефим Дмитриевич Боголю́бов; also Romanized Bogolyubov, Bogoljubow; April 14, 1889 – June 18, 1952) was a Russian-born German chess player who played two matches against Alexander Alekhine for the world championship. He was granted the title of grandmaster by FIDE in 1951.

Photo of Salo Flohr

3. Salo Flohr (1908 - 1983)

With an HPI of 66.24, Salo Flohr is the 3rd most famous Ukrainian Chess Player.  His biography has been translated into 25 different languages.

Salomon Mikhailovich Flohr (November 21, 1908 – July 18, 1983) was a Czechoslovak and Soviet chess player and writer. He was among the first recipients of the title International Grandmaster from FIDE in 1950. Flohr dominated many tournaments of the pre-World War II years, and by the late 1930s was considered a contender for the World Championship. However, his patient, positional style was overtaken by the sharper, more tactical methods of the younger Soviet echelon after World War II.

Photo of Lyudmila Rudenko

4. Lyudmila Rudenko (1904 - 1986)

With an HPI of 66.15, Lyudmila Rudenko is the 4th most famous Ukrainian Chess Player.  Her biography has been translated into 35 different languages.

Lyudmila Vladimirovna Rudenko (Russian: Людми́ла Влади́мировна Руде́нко, Ukrainian: Людмила Володимирівна Руденко; 27 July 1904 – 4 March 1986) was a Soviet chess player and the second women's world chess champion, from 1950 until 1953.She was awarded the FIDE titles of International Master (IM) and Woman International Master (WIM) in 1950, and Woman Grandmaster (WGM) in 1976. She was the first woman awarded the International Master title. Rudenko was also USSR women's champion in 1952.

Photo of Mark Taimanov

5. Mark Taimanov (1926 - 2016)

With an HPI of 65.15, Mark Taimanov is the 5th most famous Ukrainian Chess Player.  His biography has been translated into 26 different languages.

Mark Evgenievich Taimanov (Russian: Марк Евгеньевич Тайманов; 7 February 1926 – 28 November 2016) was one of the leading Soviet and Russian chess players, among the world's top 20 players from 1946 to 1971. Also a prolific chess author, Taimanov was awarded the title of Grandmaster in 1952 and in 1956 won the USSR Chess Championship. Several chess variations are named after him. A modern Renaissance man, Taimanov was also a world-class concert pianist.Taimanov was a World Championship Candidate twice, in 1953 and 1971. In 1971, however, he lost his Candidates match by 6–0 to Bobby Fischer, causing embarrassment for the Soviet Union. Nonetheless, throughout his career, he generally excelled in representing the USSR internationally in the chess field.

Photo of Isaac Boleslavsky

6. Isaac Boleslavsky (1919 - 1977)

With an HPI of 64.45, Isaac Boleslavsky is the 6th most famous Ukrainian Chess Player.  His biography has been translated into 26 different languages.

Isaac Yefremovich Boleslavsky (Ukrainian: Ісаак Єфремович Болеславський, Russian: Исаак Ефремович Болеславский; June 9, 1919 – February 15, 1977) was a Soviet Ukrainian chess player and writer.

Photo of Ossip Bernstein

7. Ossip Bernstein (1882 - 1962)

With an HPI of 60.98, Ossip Bernstein is the 7th most famous Ukrainian Chess Player.  His biography has been translated into 20 different languages.

Ossip Samoilovich Bernstein (20 September 1882 – 30 November 1962) was a Russian-French chess player. He was one of the inaugural recipients of the title International Grandmaster from FIDE in 1950. A famous story goes that in 1918, after the October Revolution, Bernstein was arrested in Odessa by the Cheka (Bolshevik secret police). He was ordered to be shot by a firing squad because he was a legal advisor to bankers. As the firing squad lined up, a superior officer asked to see the list of prisoners' names. Discovering the name of Ossip Bernstein, he was asked whether he was the famous chess master. Not satisfied with Bernstein's affirmative reply, the officer made Bernstein play a game with him. If Bernstein lost or drew, he would be shot. Bernstein won in short order and was released. He escaped on a British ship and settled in Paris.

Photo of Georg Marco

8. Georg Marco (1863 - 1923)

With an HPI of 60.78, Georg Marco is the 8th most famous Ukrainian Chess Player.  His biography has been translated into 18 different languages.

Georg Marco (29 November 1863 – 29 August 1923) was an Austrian chess player. He was born in Chernivtsi (Cernăuţi), Bukovina (then part of Austria-Hungary). He later settled in Vienna and was secretary of the Viennese Chess Association. In tournaments he was 6th at Graz 1890, 6th= at Vienna 1890, 1st at Vienna 1891, 4th= at Dresden 1892, 1st at Vienna 1892, 2nd at Vienna 1893, 6th= at Leipzig 1894, 2nd= at Pressburg 1894, 1st at Vienna 1895, 17th= at Hastings 1895, 13th at Nuremberg 1896, 11th at Budapest 1896, 6th= at Berlin 1897, 3rd at Vienna 1897, 2nd= at London 1899/1900, 7th= at Paris 1900, 5th= at Munich 1900, 9th at Monte Carlo 1901, 15th at Monte Carlo 1902, 6th at Monte Carlo 1903, 3rd at the Vienna Gambit tournament 1903, 4th at Cambridge Springs 1904, 4th= at Coburg 1904, 5th= at Ostend 1905, 6th at Ostend 1906, 9th at Ostend 1907, 2nd= at Moscow 1907, 3rd at Stockholm 1912, 4th= at Budapest 1913, 4th at Vienna 1915, 9th= at Gothenburg 1920, 7th at The Hague 1921, and 18th at Pistyan 1922. In match play he drew with Carl Schlechter twice; (+0 –0 =10) in 1893 and (+4 –4 =3) in 1894. He also drew with Arthur Kaufmann (+5 –5 =0) in 1893, lost to Max Weiss (+1 –5 =1) in 1895 and beat Adolf Albin (+4 –2 =4) in 1901. However, he is probably best known for his work as editor of the Wiener Schachzeitung from 1898 to 1916 and his annotations in the books Vienna Gambit Tournament (1903), Barmen 1905, Ostend 1906, Carlsbad 1907, Lasker-Tarrasch match for the World Chess Champion title in 1908, Baden on Vienna Gambit Tournament 1914, and Meister des Problems (Vienna 1924). A very large man, he was jokingly referred to as "the strongest chess player in the world".

Photo of Leonid Stein

9. Leonid Stein (1934 - 1973)

With an HPI of 58.75, Leonid Stein is the 9th most famous Ukrainian Chess Player.  His biography has been translated into 15 different languages.

Leonid Zakharovich Stein (Леонид Захарович Штейн; November 12, 1934 – July 4, 1973) was a Soviet chess Grandmaster from Ukraine. He won three USSR Chess Championships in the 1960s (1963, 1965, and 1966), and was among the world's top ten players during that era.

Photo of Alexander Beliavsky

10. Alexander Beliavsky (1953 - )

With an HPI of 58.00, Alexander Beliavsky is the 10th most famous Ukrainian Chess Player.  His biography has been translated into 24 different languages.

Alexander Genrikhovich Beliavsky (Russian: Алекса́ндр Ге́нрихович Беля́вский, Ukrainian: Олександр Генріхович Бєлявський; also romanized Belyavsky; born December 17, 1953) is a Ukrainian and Slovenian chess player. He was awarded the title of Grandmaster by FIDE in 1975. Beliavsky was born in Lviv, USSR, now Ukraine. Since 1994, he lives in Slovenia and he plays for its national team.

Pantheon has 30 people classified as chess players born between 1863 and 1993. Of these 30, 18 (60.00%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living chess players include Alexander Beliavsky, Vassily Ivanchuk, and Ruslan Ponomariov. The most famous deceased chess players include David Bronstein, Efim Bogoljubov, and Salo Flohr. As of October 2020, 10 new chess players have been added to Pantheon including Leonid Stein, Boris Verlinsky, and Eduard Gufeld.

Living Chess Players

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Deceased Chess Players

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Newly Added Chess Players (2020)

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Which Chess Players were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 12 most globally memorable Chess Players since 1700.