Marriage and Chess
by Bill Wall
Here is a list of strong chess players and their spouses, usually another strong player.
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 Bronislavovna (1957-2012) In 1988, she married International Master (IM) John Donaldson. She later divorced him and married IM Georgi Orlov. She had a daughter and a son. Her peak rating was 2430.
Akhsharumova, Anna Markovna (1957- ) Woman GM. Her husband is GM Boris Gulko. She won the USSR Women's Chess Championship in 1976 and 1984. She won the US Women's Chess Championship in 1987 with a perfect 9-0 score.
Al-Modiahki, Mohamad (1974- ) Grandmaster from Qatar, rated 2588 in 2003. He married the 2001 world women’s champion and grandmaster Zhu Chen in 1999. She is rated 2574.
Alekhina, Natasha (1954- ) Woman Grandmaster. She is married to GM Sergei Archipov
Alekhine, Alexander (1892-1946) 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 Noemi (1970- ) Woman GM from Argentina and the first South American WGM. 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 Grandmaster Master (WGM) and International Master 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, rated 2632. 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 Sciences. 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.
Battsetseg, Tsagaan 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, rated 2510. He is married to GM Pia Cramling, rated 2550. They have one daughter, Anna.
Benjamin, Joel (1964- ) American Grandmaster. He is married to Deborah Quinn. She played on the Irish Women’s Olympic Chess team, though only rated 1841 as her highest rating.
Benko, Pal (1928- ) His wife played in the Hungarian national women’s championship.
Bernstein, Sheila Barth Woman International Master. She is married to IM Bjarke Sahl.
Bilek, Istvan (1932- ) 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.
Milko Bobotsov (1931-2000), the first Bulgarian GM, was married to WGM Antonia Ivanova.
Botsari, Anna-Maria Woman Grandmaster. 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 (see photo). They were married in Elktron, Maryland.
Charbonneau, Pascal (1983- ) Grandmaster, rated 2510. He is married to IM Irina Krush, rated 2479.
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.
Cueto, Yanet 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.
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.
Duchamp, Marcel (1887-1968), the artist married Alexina “Teeny” Sattler. They were both avid chess players.
Eljanov, Pavel (1983- ) Ukrainian GM, rated 2716. He is married to WIM Olena Dvoretska, rated 2212.
Epstein, Esther (1954- ) Woman IM. She married GM Alexander Ivanov in 1977.
Euwe, Max (1901-1981). Former world chess champion. His wife was Caroline Elisabeth. They had three daughters: Caroline, Elisabeth, and Fietie.
Finegold, Benjamin (1969- ) American IM. His wife, Kelly Cottrell, qualified for the 2006 US Championship.
Fink, Petra Woman FIDE Master from Germany. She is married to GM John Nunn.
Fischer, Robert (1943-2007) Former world chess champion. Early press reports claimed 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.
Fountaine, Robert French Grandmaster, rated 2572. In February 2009, he married GM Kateryna Lahno, rated 2509.
Fressinet, Laurent (1981- ) French grandmaster, rated 2676. He is married to International Master and WGM Almira Skripchenko, rated 2498.
Fridman, Daniel (1976- ) Grandmaster, rated 2646. He is married to International Master and WGM Anna Zatonskih, rated 2462. 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.
Grinfeld, Alla Woman Grandmaster. She is married to GM Miron Sher.
Grischuk, Alexander (1983- ) Russian Grandmaster, rated 2748.. He is married to IM Natalia Zhukova, rated 2490.
Grosch, Maria Woman International Master. She is married to GM Zoltan Ribli.
Gulko, Boris (1947- ) Grandmaster, rated 2644. He is married to WGM Anna Akhsumarova, rated 2400.
Guseinov, Aidyn (1956-2003) was a Russian GM married to WIM Elmira Alieva of Azerbaijan.
Gyimesi, Zoltan 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 Guerrero, Gilberto (1970- ) Mexican Grandmaster, rated 2572. He is married to WGM Claudia Amura of Argentina, rated 2405.
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, rated 2640. He is married to IM Olga Alexandrova, rated 2462.
Ivanchuk. Vassily (1969- ) Grandmaster. His peak rating was 2787. He was once married to IM (and Woman Grandmaster) Alisa Galliamova, and they had a son named Misha. 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.
Ivkov, Boris 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, rated 2656. He was married to WGM Elena Zaiatz, rated 2422.
Kononenko, Tatiana Woman Grandmaster. She is married to GM Oleg Korneev (1969- ).
Korneev, Oleg (1969- ) Chess Grandmaster, rated 2671. He is married to WGM Tatiana Kononenko, rated 2442.
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.
Krupkova, Petra Woman Grandmaster. She is married to GM Sergei Movsesian.
Kursova, Mariya, Russian woman GM, married GM Arman Pashikyan of Armenia.
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, rated 2600. He was married to WIM Susan Walker Arkell Lalic, rated 2405. Together, they have a son, Peter, born in 1994.
Lasker, Emanuel (1868-1941) Former world champion. In 1911, at the age of 42, 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.
Leroy, Christine Five time French Ladies’ Chess Champion. She is married to GM Glenn Flear. They have two children, James and Nathan.
Li Ruofan Woman Grandmaster. She is married to GM Zhang Zhong.
Li Wenling International Master. He is married to WIM Gao Zhiqian.
Makarov, Marat Grandmaster rated 2560. He is married to WGM Julia Demina, rated 2405.
Malakhatko, Vadim Ukrainian grandmaster, rated 2621. He is married to IM Anna Zozulia, rated 2412.
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).
Markus, Robert 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.
Medvegy, Nora 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.
Michell, Reginald Pryce (1873-1938) was the British Amateur Chess Champion in 1902. He was married to Edith Tapsell, British Women's Champion in 1931, 1932, and 1935.
Miladinovic, Igor Grandmaster. He was once married to WGM Anna-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.
Napier, William (1881-1952) American chess master of English origin. He married Florence Gillespie, Harry Pillsbury’s niece. They had two daughters.
Nunn, John English Grandmaster. He is married to WFM Petra Fink.
Orlov, Georgi (1964- ) International Master. He is married to WGM Elena Akhmilovskaya.
Peng Xiomin (1973 - ) Grandmaster, rated 2657. He is married to WGM Qin Kanying, rated 2501.
Petronic, Jovan 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 rated 2501 by FIDE. She married Peter Zhdanov, rated 2038, in 2009.
Polovnikova, Ekaterina (1982- ) Woman Grandmaster. She is married to GM Suat Atalik.
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.
Ramaswami, Aarti Woman Grandmaster. She is married to GM R.B. Ramesh. They are India’s first Grandmaster couple.
Ramesh, R amachandran B. Grandmaster. He is married to WGM Aarti Ramaswami. They are India’s first Grandmaster couple.
Rause, Olita is an International Master and woman GM. She was married to GM Igors Rausis.
Rausis, Igors (1961- ) is a Grandmaster who was once married to woman GM Olita Rause.
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) was one of the top Estonian players. He was married to WIM Salme Rootare, 15-time Estonian Women's Champion.
Rudolph, Alexey Woman International Master. She married IM Doug Root in 1989.
Sagalchik, Gennady Grandmaster. He is married to WIM Olga Sagalchik.
Sahl, Bjarke International Master. He is married to Woman International Master Sheila Barth Berntsen.
Sarakauskas, Gedimanas - 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.
Seirawan, Yasser 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.
Sher, Miron Grandmaster. He is married to WGM Alla Grinfeld.
Shiber, Julia 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 (born in 1978), rated 2505.
Solak, Dragan Serbian Grandmaster. He is married to former Turkish female champion Yildiz Cavusoglu.
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.
Sriram, Jha Indian International Master. He is married to WGM Subbaraman Vijayalakshmi.
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.
Stripunsky, Alexander 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- ) GM. 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.
Thipsay, Pravin GM. 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).
Vigorito, David. International Master from Massachusetts. He married Heather Kroll in June, 2009.
Vijayalakshmi, Subbaraman India’s first Woman Grandmaster. She is married to IM Jha Sriram.
Walker, Susan (1965- ) Woman Grandmaster (WGM) and International Master. She was once married to GM Keith Arkell. She is now married to GM Bogdon Lalic.
Wu Shaobin Grandmaster. He is married to GM Xie Jun.
Wu Xibin International Master. He is married to WIM Lou Hongyu.
Xie Jun (1970- ) GM and former world women’s chess champion. She is married to GM Shaobin Wu.
Yermolinsky, Alex Grandmaster. He is married to WGM Camilla Baginskaite, rated 2365 in 2002. 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. Married GM Mohamad al-Modiahki in 1999.
Zhukova, Natalia, International Master. She is married to GM Alexander Grischuk.