Spouses of Chess Masters
by Bill Wall
Agrest, Evgenij (1966- ) Belarus Grandmaster living in Sweden. His peak FIDE rating was 2616. He is married to Woman International Master (WIM) Svetlana Agrest.
Akhmilovskaya, Elena (1957-2012)
Woman GM. Her mother qualified several time for the USSR Women’s Championship. In 1988, she married International Master (IM) John Donaldson. She later divorced him and married IM Georgi Orlov. She had a son and a daughter.
Akhsharumova, Anna (1957- )
Woman GM. Her husband is GM Boris Gulko.
Al-Modiahki, Mohamad (1974- )
Grandmaster from Qatar. He married former world women’s champion and grandmaster Zhu Chen in 1999.
Alekhina, Natasha (1954- )
Woman Grandmaster. She is married to GM Sergei Archipov
Alekhine, Alexander (1892-1946)
Former world chess champion. In 1920, he married a Russian baroness several years older than he. In 1921, he married Annelise Ruegg, a Swiss woman journalist, who as 13 years older than he. His fourth wife, Grace Freeman Wishard (1876-1956) was a chess player. They were married in 1934. She was 16 years older than he.
Amura, Claudia (1970- )
Woman GM. She is married to GM Gilberto Hernandez of Mexico.
Andersson, Ulf (1951- )
Swedish grandmaster with a peak rating of 2655. After a tournament in Cuba in 1975, he married a Cuban and settled in Cuba for a year working as the national trainer.
Arkell, Keith (1961- )
English Grandmaster. He was once married to Woman International Master (WIM) Susan Walker. Susan Walker later married GM Bogdan Lalic.
Archipov (Arkhipov), Sergei (1954- )
Grandmaster. His wife is WGM Natasha Alekhina.
Atalik, Suat (1964- )
Turkish Grandmaster. In November, 2005, at the age of 41, he married 22-year old WGM Ekaterina Polovnikova from Russia, rated 2434.
Baburin, Alexander (1967- )
Grandmaster. He married Elena in 1988. They have two children, Ivan and Anastasia.
Baginskaite, Camilla (1967- )
Woman Grandmaster. She is married to GM Alex Yermolinksy. They have a son named Edward.
Barbero, Gerardo (1961-2001)
Argentine Grandmaster and former Argentine champion (1984). He played for Argentina in 6 Olympiads. In 1986 he moved to Budapest, Hungary, where he died of cancer in 2001. He was married to Dr. Katalin Molnar from 1986 until his untimely death in 2001. She is a research scientist and member of the Hungarian Academy of Scuences. Dr. Molnar was also married to Grandmaster Zoltan Ribli between 1974 and 1983.
Barua, Dibyendu (1966- )
Grandmaster. He is married to WIM Saheli Dhar. They both run a chess academy in Calcutta. She gave up competitive chess when they were married.
Woman International Master. She is married to FIDE Master (FM) Tegshuren Enkhbat.
Belakovskaia, Anjelina (1969- )
Woman Grandmaster. She married Lawrence Bernstein and has one son, Brian. She met her future husband at the Marshall Chess Club in 2001.
Bellin, Robert (1952- )
British IM. He is married to WGM Jana Malypetrova Hartston Miles Bellin (1947- ). They have two sons, Robert (born in 1988) and Christopher (born in 1991).
Bellon Lopez, Juan Manuel (1950- )
Spanish GM. He is married to GM Pia Cramling. They have one daughter, Anna.
Benjamin, Joel (1964- )
American Grandmaster. He is married to Deborah Quinn, a strong master from Ireland. She played on the Irish Women’s Olympic Chess team.
Benko, Pal (1928- )
Grandmaster. His father was an engineer. His wife is also a chess player who played in the national women’s championship. She is a former adjunct professor of mathematics.
Bernstein, Sheila Barth
Woman International Master. She is married to IM Bjarke Sahl.
Bilek, Istvan (1932-2010)
Grandmaster. He was once married to one of the top female Hungarian chess players, Edith Bilek. Both were champions of their country at the same time.
Biyiasas, Peter (1950- )
Canadian GM. He is married to IM Ruth Haring.
Blackburne, Joseph (1841-1924)
19th century chess master. He was married to Mary Jane Blackburne. They had one son, Julius.
Milko Bobotsov (1931-2000)
The first Bulgarian GM, was married to WGM Antonia Ivanova.
Boleslavsky, Isaac (1919-1977)
Russian GM. He got married in 1943. His daughter, Tatiana, married GM David Bronstein in 1982.
Woman Grand Master. She was once married to GM Igor Miladinovic.
Botvinnik, Mikhail (1911-1995)
Former world chess champion. His wife was a famous ballet dancer at the Bolshoi theater.
Bronstein, David (1924-2006)
Russian GM. He was married three times. His first wife was Olga Ignatieva, a Soviet woman International Master, and they had one son. In 1984, he married Tatiana Boleslavsky, the daughter of GM Isaac Boleslavsky. She was his third wife.
Browne, Walter (1949- )
American Grandmaster. He was born to an American father and an Australian mother. His wife, Racquel, is a clinical psychologist from Argentina.
Bruzon Batista, Lazaro
Cuban Grandmaster. He is married to National Master Yanet Cueto.
Capablanca, Jose (1888-1942)
Former world champion. In 1921, Jose married Gloria Simoni Beautucourt in Havana. They had a son, Jose Raul, born in 1923, and a daughter, Gloria, born in 1925. They were divorced in 1937. In 1938, he married Olga Choubaroff Chagodaeva (1898-1994), a Russian princess. They were married in Elktron, Maryland. In 1967, Olga married her fourth husband, retired Admiral Joseph James Clark.
Charbonneau, Pascal (1983- )
Grandmaster. He is married to IM Irina Krush.
Christiansen, Larry (1956- )
American Grandmaster. He married Natasha Christiansen, a strong chess player, in 1989.
Cmilyte, Victoria (1983- )
Lithuanian Woman Grandmaster. She is married to GM Alexei Shirov. They have two children.
Cramling, Pia (1963)
Swedish GM. She is married to GM Juan Bellon. Her brother, Dan, is an international master.
Cuban National Master. She is married to GM Lazaro Bruzon Batista.
Dake, Arnold (1910-2000)
American Grandmaster. He met his wife, Helen, on an ocean liner coming home from the chess Olympiad in Warsaw in 1935. They had a daughter, Marjorie Metzger.
Divinsky, Nathan (1925- )
Canadian chess master. He was once married (from 1972 to 1983) to the Prime Minister of Canada, Kim Campbell.
Dlugy, Maxim (1966- )
Grandmaster. He is married to Marina Dlugy and have two children, Michelle and Matthew.
Dolzhikova, Kateryna (1988- ). Woman grandmaster from the Ukraine. In 2009 she married GM Sergey Karjakin.
Donaldson, John (1958- )
American IM. He married WGM Elena Akhmilovskaya in 1988. They later divorced.
Eljanov, Pavel (1983- )
Ukrainian GM. He is married to WIM Olena Dvoretska.
Epstein, Esther (1954- )
Woman IM. She married GM Alexander Ivanov in 1977. Epstein’s brother, Shmuel, was jailed for over three years. His crime was reading Solzhenitsyn and meeting with Nobel Peace Prize winner Andrei Sakharov.
Fine, Reuben (1914-1993)
American Grandmaster. In 1942, he married Emma Thea Keesing. They were divorced in 1944. In 1946, he married Sonya Lebeaux, with whom he had two children. Reuben’s son, Benjamin, was a chess player. Together, they wrote The Teenage Chess Book.
Finegold, Benjamin (1969- )
American IM. His wife, Kelly Cottrell, qualified for the 2006 US Championship.
Woman FIDE Master from Germany. She is married to GM John Nunn.
Fischer, Robert (1943-2007)
Former world chess champion. He had a wife and child living in the Philippines. In 2004, Robert Fischer married Miyoko Watai of Japan. She is a former Japanese women’s chess champion, and the general secretary of the Japan Chess Association.
Flear, Glenn (1959- )
Grandmaster. He is married to WIM Christine Leroy. They have two sons, James and Nathan.
French Grandmaster. In February 2009, he married GM Kateryna Lahno.
Fressinet, Laurent (1981- )
French grandmaster. He is married to International Master and WGM Almira Skripchenko.
Fridman, Daniel (1976- )
Grandmaster. He is married to International Master and WGM Anna Zatonskih. In 2007, they had a daughter.
Galliamova, Alisa (1972- )
International Master and Woman Grandmaster. She was once married to GM Vassily Ivanchuk.
Gretarsson, Helgi (1977 - ) GM from Iceland is married to WGM Lenka Ptacnikova.
Woman Grandmaster. She is married to GM Miron Sher.
Grischuk, Alexander (1983- )
Russian Grandmaster. He is married to IM Natalia Zhukova.
Woman International Master. She is married to GM Zoltan Ribli.
Gulko, Boris (1947- )
Grandmaster. He is married to WGM Anna Akhsumarova.
Gunsberg, Isidor (1854-1930)
19th century chess master. He was married to Agnes Jane Gunsberg. They had three children, Alfred, Kathleen, Marium, Bertie, and Lionel.
Guseinov, Aidyn (1956-2003)
Russian GM married to WIM Elmira Alieva of Azerbaijan.
Grandmaster. He is married to WGM Nora Medvegy.
Hamdouchi, Hichem (1972- )
Moroccan GM is married to WGM Adina-Maria Hamdouchi of France.
Haring, Ruth (1955- )
Woman International Master. She is married to GM Peter Biyiasas.
Hartston, William (1947- )
British IM. He was once married to WGM Jana Malypetrova.
Hernandez, Gilberto (1970- )
Mexican Grandmaster. He is married to WGM Claudia Amura of Argentina
Hund, Barbara (1959- )
Woman Grandmaster. In 1989, she married Peter Bolt, the editor of a Swiss chess magazine. They have one daughter, Sarah, born in 1998.
Illescas, Miguel (1965- )
Spanish grandmaster. He is married to IM Olga Alexandrova.
Ivanchuk. Vassily (1969- )
Grandmaster. His peak rating was 2787. He was once married to IM (and Woman Grandmaster) Alisa Galliamova. Her peak rating was 2554.
Ivanka, Maria (1950- )
Woman Grandmaster from Hungary. She was married to a fellow-chessplayer named Budinsky who later became a computer engineer. They had 3 sons.
Ivanov, Alexander (1956- )
Grandmaster. He married WIM Esther Epstein in 1977.
Grandmaster. He is married to a former “Miss Argentina.”
Karff, Mona May Ratner (1914-1998)
7-time winner of the US Women’s Chess Championship. She married her cousin, an attorney named Abe Karff, in the 1930s. She later divorced and was romantically linked with Dr. Edward Lasker, International Master.
Karjakin, Sergey (1990- ). Youngest grandmaster (12 years, seven months). He is married to WGM Kateryna Dolzhikova. They were married July 24, 2009.
Karpov, Anatoly (1951- )
Former world champion. He has a son from his first marriage. His second wife, Natasha, was a librarian. They were married in 1987.
Kasparov, Garry (1963- )
Former world chess champion. He has been married three times (Masha, Yulia, and Daria), and has three children.
Keene, Raymond (1948- )
In 1974, Keene married Annette, the sister of IM David Goodman. They have one son, Alexander, born in 1991.
Kharlov, Andrei (1968- )
Russian grandmaster. He was married to WGM Elena Zaiatz.
Koltanowski, George (1903-2000)
Grandmaster (emeritus). He learned the game while watching his father play his older brother. In 1944, he met and marred his wife, Leah.
Woman Grandmaster. She is married to GM Oleg Korneev (1969- ).
Korchnoi, Viktor (1931- )
Grandmaster. He was married to Bella Korchnoi, but they were later divorced in 1983. His son, Igor, was sent to a Siberian labor camp for 30 months for refusing military service.
Korneev, Oleg (1969- )
Chess Grandmaster. He is married to WGM Tatiana Kononenko.
Kosashvili, Yona (1970- )
Israeli Grandmaster, rated 2549. He married WGM Sofia Polgar, rated 2540, in 1999. They now have a son, Alon.
Koshnitsky, Gregory (1907-1999)
International master. In 1966 he won the championship of South Australia. His wife, Evelyn, took the women’s title.
Kramnik, Vladimir (1975- )
World chess champion. In 2006, he married Marie-Laurie Germon of France.
Woman Grandmaster. She is married to GM Sergei Movsesian.
Lawson, Agnes ( -1935)
Four-time British Ladies champion. She was married to Rufus Henry Streatfeild Stevenson (1878-1943). When she died, he married world women’s chess champion Vera Menchik.
Lalic, Bogdan (1964- )
Grandmaster. He is married to WIM Susan Walker Arkell Lalic. They have a son, Peter, born in 1994.
Lasker, Emanuel (1868-1941)
Former world champion. In 1911, at the age of 42, he Emanuel married Martha Bamberger Cohn (who died in 1937).
Lautier, Joel (1973- )
Grandmaster, rated 2687. He married WGM Almira Skripchenko, rated 2498, in 1997. They later divorced.
Leko, Peter (1979- )
Hungarian Grandmaster. In 2000, he married Sofia Petrosian of Armenia.
Five time French Ladies’ Chess Champion. She is married to GM Glenn Flear. They have two children, James and Nathan.
Levitt, Jonathan (1963- )
English Grandmaster. He is married to Tinni and they have one sone, Nicholas.
Woman Grandmaster. She is married to GM Zhang Zhong.
International Master. He is married to WIM Gao Zhiqian.
Grandmaster. He is married to WGM Julia Demina.
Ukrainian grandmaster. He is married to IM Anna Zozulia.
Malypetrova, Jana (1947- )
Woman Grandmaster. She has been married to IM William Hartston and GM Tony Miles. She is currently married to IM Robert Bellin. They have two sons, Robert (born in 1988) and Christopher (born in 1991).
Serbian Grandmaster. He is married to WGM Ana Srebrnic from Slovenia.
Marshall, Frank (1877-1944)
Former U.S. chess champion. In 1905, he married Caroline (Carrie). She ran the Marshall Chess Club until her death in 1971.
Woman Grandmaster. She is married to GM Zoltan Gyimesa.
Menchik, Vera (1906-1944)
Former world women’s chess champion. In 1937, Vera married Rufus Streatfeild Stevenson (1878-1943), the secretary of the British Chess Federation. In 1944, a V-1 buzz bomb killed Vera, Olga, and their mother, when the bomb hit their home.
Grandmaster. He was once married to WGM Maria Botsari.
Miles, Anthony (1955-2001)
British GM. He was once married to WGM Jana Malypetrova. He was divorced twice and had no children.
Mitchell, Reginald Price
Former British Amateur chess champion. He is married to Edith Mitchell, who won the British Women’s Chess Championship several times.
Movesian, Sergei (1978)
Grandmaster, rated 2751. He was married to WGM Petra Krupkova, rated 2362.
Nagel, Yvette (1964- )
Woman FIDE Master. She is married to GM Yasser Seirawan. She is the daughter of former Leefbaar Nederland political party president and politician, Jan Nagel.
Najdorf, Miguel (1910-1997)
Polish-Argentine Grandmaster of Jewish origin. He married his second wife, Rita, and had a daughter, Mirta.
Napier, William (1881-1952)
American chess master of English origin. He married Florence Gillespie, Harry Pillsbury’s niece. They had two daughters.
English Grandmaster. He is married to WFM Petra Fink.
Orlov, Georgi (1964- )
International Master. He was married to WGM Elena Akhmilovskaya.
Pachman, Ludek (1924-2003)
Grandmaster. His brother, Vladimir, was a grandmaster in chess composition.
Peng Xiomin (1973 - )
Grandmaster. He is married to WGM Qin Kanying.
Serbian International Master. He is married to Sanja, a Woman International Master. They have one son, Djordje.
Plaskett, Jim (1960- )
British Grandmaster. He is married to the poet Fiona Pitt-Kethley, the author of The Literary Companion to Sex.
Pogonina, Natalia (1985)
Woman Grandmaster (WGM) and three-times European champion. She is married to Peter Zhdanov, rated 2038 by FIDE.
Polgar, Judit (1976- )
Grandmaster and considered the greatest woman chess player ever. Judit married Gustav Fonts, a veterinary surgeon from Budapest.
Polgar, Susan (1969- )
Her oldest sister Susan (1969- ) is a Grandmaster. Susan married Jacob Shutzman in 1994 and moved to New York. She as two sons, Tommy and Leeam. Susan divorced her first husband in 2006 and married Paul Truong.
Polgar, Sofia (1974- )
Woman Grandmaster. Sofia is married to GM Yona Kosashvili. They were married in 1999 and have a son, Alon.
Polovnikova, Ekaterina (1982- )
Woman Grandmaster. She is married to GM Suat Atalik.
Purdy, Cecil (1906-1979)
Former world correspondence chess champion. In 1934, he married Anne Crakenthorp. His daughter, Diana, was a keen chessplayer.
Qin Kanying (1974- )
Woman Grandmaster. She is married to GM Peng Xiaomin.
Quinteros, Miguel (1947- )
Argentine GM. His wife is a former model from the Philippines.
Rajlich, Vaski (1971- ) International Master and author of Rybka. He is married to WIM Iweta Radziewicz.
Woman Grandmaster. She is married to GM R.B. Ramesh. They are India’s first Grandmaster couple.
Grandmaster. He is married to WGM Aarti Ramaswami. They are India’s first Grandmaster couple.
Reshevsky, Samuel (1911-1992)
American Grandmaster. He married Norma Minkick in 1941 and had three children.
Reti, Richard (1889-1929)
One of the strongest chess players in the world. Richard married Rogneda Sergeivna Gorodetskaia, daughter of the Russian poet Sergei Gorodetsky (1884-1967).
Ribli, Zoltan (1951- )
Hungarian Grandmaster. He is married to WIM Maria Grosch. He was previously married to Dr. Katalin Molnar from 1974 to 1983. She later married GM Gerardo Barbero (see Barbero) from 1986 to 2001.
Rogers, Ian (1960- )
Australian Grandmaster. He is married to Woman FIDE Master Cathy Rogers. She is also an International Arbiter and a lawyer.
Root, Doug (1963- )
International Master. He married WIM Alexey Rudolph in 1989.
Rootare, Vidrik (1900-1985)
He was one of the top Estonian players. He was married to WIM Salme Rootare, 15-time Estonian Women's Champion.
Rubinstein, Akiba (1882-1961)
One of the strongest chess players in the world. He was married to the owner of restaurant in Belgium. They had two sons. One son, Sami, was a chess master.
Woman International Master. She married IM Doug Root in 1989.
Grandmaster. He is married to WIM Olga Sagalchik.
International Master. He is married to Woman International Master Sheila Barth Berntsen.
Lithuanian International Master. He is married to WIM Zivile Sarakauskiene.
Saunders, Elaine (1926- )
Strong British woman chess player. She married David Brine Pritchard, a strong chess master.
Grandmaster. He is married to Woman FIDE Master Yvette Nagel. She is the daughter of former Leefbaar Nederland political party president and politician, Jan Nagel.
Shabalov, Alexander (1967- )
Grandmaster. He has a wife and two daughters in Pittsburgh.
Shamkovich, Leonid (1923-2005)
Russian-born Grandmaster. He was married and divorced three times. He had a son, Andrei, and two half-sisters, Sofia and Tatiana.
Grandmaster. He is married to WGM Alla Grinfeld.
Woman FIDE Master (WFM). She is married to GM Alexander Stripunsky.
Shirov, Alexei (1972- )
Grandmaster with a peak rating of 2755. In 1994, he married Veronica Alvarev from Argentina. He was married to International Master and Woman Grandmaster Victoria Cmilyte, rated 2512, from Lithuania. Cmilyte was Shirov’s third wife. He has four children.
Skripchenko, Almira (1976- )
French Woman Grandmaster (WGM). Almira married GM Joel Lautier in 1997. They later divorced. She is now married to GM Laurent Fressinet of France.
Socko, Bartosz (1978- )
Polish GM, rated 2660. He is married to grandmaster Monika Socko, rated 2505.
Serbian Grandmaster. He is married to former Turkish female champion Yildiz Cavusoglu. (thanks to Goran Urosevic for this information)
Spassky, Boris (1937- )
Former world chess champion. In 1975, Boris married Marina Stcherbatcheff, a secretary at the French embassy in Moscow. This was his third marriage.
Srebrnic, Ana (1984- )
Slovene Woman Grandmaster. She is married to GM Robert Markus.
Indian International Master. He is married to WGM Subbaraman Vijayalakshmi.
Staunton, Howard (1810-1874)
World’s strongest chess player in the 1840s. In 1849, at the age of 39, he married Frances Carpenter Nethersole, a widow of a London solicitor. His marriage certificate says that he was the son of William Staunton, gentleman. They were married in Brighton.
Steiner, Lajos (1903-1975)
International chess master. In 1939, Lajos married Augusta Edna Kingston, who had won the New South Wales women’s chess championship 6 times. They had no children.
Steinitz, William (Wilhelm) (1836-1900)
Former world chess champion. His wife, Caroline, and daughter, Flora, both died in 1892. He re-married a few years later and had two more children. In 1900, his wife committed him to the insane asylum at Ward’s Island, New York.
Grandmaster. He is married to WFM Julia Shiber.
Suetin, Alexey (1926-2001)
Russian GM who was married to WGM Kira Zvorykina. Together, they had a son, Aleksandr, born in 1951.
Taimanov, Mark (1926- )
Russian Grandmaster. His first wife was Lyubov Bruk, his piano duet partner. They married at age 19. Between the late 1950s and early 1970s, they were among their country’s leading exponents of the two-piano repertoire. They divorced in the early 1970s.
Tal, Mikhail (1936-1992)
Former world chess champion. His first wife was Sally Landau. They were married from 1959 to 1971.
Tarrasch, Siegbert (1862-1934)
One of the strongest chess players in the world. He had five children. He lost two sons in the early days of World War I. In 1924, he married Rosa Anna Tarrasch. From his first marriage, he had five children, three sons and two daughters. His oldest son, Fritz, was killed in action on May 14, 1915. He was a Lieutenant in the 15th Bavarian reserve infantry regiment. Siegbert’s second son committed suicide in 1915. His third son was run over by a train in Munich in 1916 and died. He married a second time in the 1930s.
Grandmaster. He is married to International Woman Master (IWM) Bhagyashree Sathe Thipsay.
Truong, Paul (1965- ) FIDE master. He is married to GM Susan Polgar.
Turov. Maxim (1979- )
Russian grandmaster, rated 2584. He is married to WGM Irina Turova (2415).
Unzicker, Wolfgang (1925-2006)
German Grandmaster. Wolfgang’s wife was Freia, and they had three sons, Alexander, Ferdinand, and Stefan.
Vidmar, Milan (1885-1962)
Grandmaster. He was married twice and had several children. His son, Milan Vidmar Jr. (1909-1980) was an International Master and an electrical engineer.
International Master from Massachusetts. He married Heather Kroll in June, 2009.
India’s first Woman Grandmaster. She is married to IM Jha Sriram.
Walker, Susan (1965- )
Woman International Master. She was once married to GM Keith Arkell, She is now married to GM Bogdon Lalic.
Wojtkiewicz, Aleksander (1963-2006)
Grandmaster. He had a son, Yosef, with Laima Domarkaite, a Lithuanian.
Grandmaster. He is married to GM Xie Jun.
International Master. He is married to WIM Lou Hongyu.
Xie Jun (1970- )
Grandmaster and former world women’s chess champion. She is married to GM Shaobin Wu.
Grandmaster. He is married to WGM Camilla Baginskaite. They have a son named Edward.
Zhong Zhang (1978- )
Chinese Grandmaster, rated 2667. He is married to WGM Li Ruofan, rated 2433.
Zhu Chen (1976- )
Former world women’s chess champion. She married GM Mohamad al-Modiahki in 1999.
International Master. She is dating GM Alexander Grischuk and they may be married.