Top Chess Players Nick Names


The Beast of Baku (Kasparov)

Justin Bieber of Chess (Carlsen)

White Russian (Alekhine)

The Austrian Morphy (Steinitz)

The Drawing Master (Schlechter)

The Kentucky Lion (Showalter)

The Chess Machine (Capablanca)

Der Kleine Capablanca (Kashdan)

The Stormy Petrel (Nimzowitsch)

Praeceptor Germaniae (Tarrasch)

Richard the Fifth (Teichmann)

The Dean of American Chess (Helms)

The Magician from Riga (Tal)

The Great Stone Face (Botvinnik)

Baby Snake (Karpov)

The Iceberg (Kramnik)

The Wizard (Topalov)

Der Scharfrichter (Kurt) 

Tiger of Madras (Anand) aka 'Fast Breeder' (anyone know why?).


Can anyone else add to the list of chess players and their nicknames ?


Dzindzi (Dzindzichashvili)

The Pride and Sorrow of Chess (Morphy)

The Iron Tigran (Petrosian)


The Hungarian Botvinnik = Lajos Portisch 


Michael Adams = the spider 

Alexander Beliavsky =  big Al 

Joseph Henry Blackburne = the black death 

Walter Browne = Mr 6-time

Robert Byrne = rapid Robert 

Doel , Erik van den = the flying dutchman 

John Fedorowicz =  fed/Rocky 

Reuben Fine = kid dangerous 

Semyon Furman = the walking ECO 

Vassily Ivanchuk = Chucky 

Anatoly Karpov = Tolya 

Keres, Paul (1916-1975) was an Estonian chess grandmaster. He has been nicknamed “Paul the Second,” “The Crown Prince of Chess,” and “The Eternal Second.” Boris Spassky nicknamed him “the pope of chess.”

Keres, Paul (1916-1975) was an Estonian chess grandmaster. He has been nicknamed “Paul the Second,” “The Crown Prince of Chess,” and “The Eternal Second.” Boris Spassky nicknamed him “the pope of chess.”

Kholmov, Ratmir (1925-2006) was a Soviet grandmaster. His nickname by Soviet players was the “Central Defender.” He was an extremely tough opponent for any attacking chess player.

Koltanowski, George (1903-2000) was a Belgian-born American chess player and promoter. His nickname was “Kolty.” He was named the ?Dean of American Chess” by the US Chess Federation in the 1970s.

Korchnoi, Victor (1931- )is the oldest grandmaster still playing in chess tournaments. His nickname is “Iron Victor” and “Victor the Terrible.”

Kosteniuk, Alexandria (1984- ) was the 12th women’s world chess champion. Her nickname is the “Chess Queen” and the “Kournikova of Chess.”

Kramnik, Vladimir (1975) was world chess champion from 2000 to 2007. His nickname is “Vlad the Impaler” and the “Iceman.”

Giovanni Leonardo Di Bona (1542-1587) was an early Italian chess master. He was known as “Il Puttino” (the little boy) because of his small stature.

Loyd, Sam (1841-1911) was an American chess player, chess composer, and puzzle author. He was known as “The Puzzle King.”

Mariotti, Sergio (1946- ) is an Italian grandmaster. In 1974, he was nicknamed “The Italian Fury” by the British Chess Magazine.

Matulovic, Milan (1935-2013) was a Yugoslavian grandmaster. In 1967, he played a losing move at the Souse Interzonal against Istvan Bilke, but then took it back after saying “j’adoube.” His opponent complained to the arbiter, but the move was allowed to stand as there were no other witnesses. He was then nicknamed “J’adoubovic.”

Miles, Tony (1955-2001) was the first UK=born over the board grandmaster. His nickname was the “Beast of Birmingham.” He was born in Birmingham, England.

Morphy, Paul (1837-1884) was one of the greatest chess players of his day and an unofficial world chess champion. He has been called “The Pride and Sorrow of Chess.”

Nimzowitsch, Aron (1886-1935) was a Russian-born Danish chess master. He gave himself the title “Crown Prince of the Chess World.”

Owen, John (1827-1901) was a strong amateur chess player from England. He played and wrote under the pseudonym “Alter.” He was ordained and became a vicar in Chesire from 1862 to 1900.

Petrov, Alexander (1794-1867) was a Russian chess player, chess composer, and chess writer. He was known as the “Northern Philidor.”

Petrosian, Tigran (1929-1984) was world champion from 1963 to 1969. He was known as “The Iron Tigran” due to his almost impenetrable defensive playing style. He was also nicknamed “the boa constrictor.”

Pillsbury, Harry (1872-1906) was a leading American chess player. He was called the “Hero of Hastings” after winning at Hastings in 1895.

Polgar, Judit (1976- ) is the strongest woman chess player in the world. Vassily Smyslov nicknamed her “Tal in a skirt.”

Portisch, Lajos (1937- ) is a Hungarian grandmaster. His nickname is the “Hungarian Botvinnik” because of his positional style.

Richter, Kurt (1900-1969) was an International Master from Berlin. His nickname was “Der Scharfrichter” (the executioner) because of his fierce attack on the chessboard.

Sarratt, Jacob (1772-1821) was one of the top English chess players of his day. He claimed the title “Professor of Chess” while teaching chess at the price of a guinea per game.

Schlechter, Carl (1874-1918) was a leading Austrian chess master. Early on, he was given the nickname “remis Koening” (draw king or drawing master) for his high percentage of draws.

Seirawan, Yasser (1960- ) is a 4-time US chess champion. His nickname is “Yaz.”

Sherzer, Alex (1971- ) is an American grandmaster. His nickname is “The Surgeon.” He has a medical degree from Hungary.

Shirov, Alexei (1972- ) is a Soviet-born Latvian grandmaster. He is nicknamed the “Leonardo da Vinci of chess” for his exception chess beauty of his games.

Showalter, Jackson (1860-1935) was a 5-time US chess champion. His nickname was “The Kentucky Lion.” He lived in Kentucky and he had a large head of reddish hair.

Smith, Ken (1930-1999) was a FIDE master and professional poker player. His nickname was “Top Hat” for wearing top hat while playing poker. He was an expert in the Smith-Morra gambit and we wrote two chess books together on the Smith-Morra.

Spielmann, Rudolf (1883-1942) was an Austian-Jewish chess master. His nickname was “The Last Knight of the King’s Gambit” because he played the King’s Gambit often.

Steinitz, Wilhelm (1836-1900) was the first official world chess champion. His nickname was “The Austrian Morphy” after winning the Vienna chess championship in 1861 with the score of 31 out of 31.

Szen, Joseph (1805-1857) was a Hungarian chess master. His nickname was “The Hungarian Philidor.”

Tal, Mikhail (1936-1992) was world champion in 1960-61. His nickname was “The Magician of Riga” because of his birthplace.

Tarrasch, Siegbert (1862-1934) of Germany was one of the strongest players of is day. He was nickmaned “Praeceptor Germaniae” (Teacher of Germany) because of his influential chess writing.

Teichmann, Richard (1868-1925) was a German chess master. He was nicknamed “Richard the Fifth” for coming in 5th place in many chess tournaments.

– Bill (the Wall) Wall

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