The Top Chess Players in the World

GM Leonid Stein

Leonid Stein
Photo: B. Verhoeff/Dutch National Archives, CC.
Full name
Leonid Zakharovich Stein
Nov 12, 1934 - Jul 4, 1973 (age 38)‎
Place of birth
Kamianets-Podilskyi, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union


Leonid Stein was a Soviet grandmaster and a three-time USSR chess champion. His first title came in 1963, which marked his emergence as one of the best players in the world. In fact, from that point until his untimely death in 1973, he was within or just outside of the best-10 players in the world. A good example came in the elite international tournament in 1967 in Moscow, when Stein topped a field of GMs, including the then-current world champion (Tigran Petrosian), two former world champions (Vasily Smyslov and Mikhail Tal), along with Boris Spassky, Paul Keres, and others.

Stein was on the short list of players who had an even record against Smyslov, Petrosian, and Mikhail Botvinnik. He had plus records against Tal, Spassky, and Keres. He passed away from a heart attack at the age of 38.

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