7 Best Chess Players in Belgium Best of the Country

Alejandro Ramirez Alvarez

Belgium is home to some of the best chess players in the world. For over a century, the country has produced renowned Grandmasters, International Masters, and FIDE Masters who have made their mark on the international chess scene.

From legendary Grandmasters like Robert Jiříček and Edgard Colle to modern-day stars like Grandmaster Vassily Ivanchuk and GM Daniël Stellwagen, Belgium has a long list of chess champions.

We’ll take a look at some of the most successful and influential chess players from Belgium.

1. Mikhail Gurevich


Mikhail Gurevich is a renowned chess player with a unique and interesting background. Born in the Soviet Union, he eventually became a Belgian citizen and has achieved worldwide recognition for his success in the game of chess.

Gurevich was a top-ten-ranked player from 1989 to 1991, a remarkable feat considering the competition at the time. In 1986, he was awarded the prestigious title of International Grandmaster, which is the highest honor bestowed upon chess players.

Today, Gurevich is not just a renowned chess player, but a highly respected FIDE arbiter and senior trainer. As an arbiter, he is responsible for ensuring the rules of the game are followed and that matches are conducted in accordance with the regulations of the FIDE.

As a senior trainer, Gurevich provides instruction to chess players to help improve their game. His expertise in the game of chess and his knowledge of the rules and regulations have made him an invaluable asset to the chess world.

2. Vadim Malakhatko


Vadim Volodymyrovych Malakhatko was a highly accomplished chess grandmaster who was both Ukrainian and Belgian. In 2001, he was an instrumental part of the gold medal-winning Ukrainian team at the World Team Chess Championship.

His expertise in the game was further shown two years prior when he won a bronze medal with the Ukrainian team at the 34th Chess Olympiad in Istanbul.

Malakhatko’s impressive career was the result of his dedication and passion for the game, which ultimately earned him the title of grandmaster. His outstanding achievements and contributions to the sport of chess have cemented his place in history.

3. Edgard Colle


Edgard Colle was a renowned Belgian chess master who achieved impressive results in major international tournaments. In 1926, he won the tournament in Amsterdam ahead of his competitors, the legendary Savielly Tartakower and future world champion Max Euwe.

Colle’s victory was a major feat, as both Tartakower and Euwe were considered to be two of the strongest chess players in the world at the time.

Colle was able to outsmart both of them to secure his victory, and his exceptional skill and intelligence made him a celebrated figure in the world of chess. While Colle was a highly successful chess player, he was also an influential teacher and author.

He wrote a number of acclaimed books on the game, including two of the most widely read works on the endgame, Endgame Strategy and Endgame Practice.

His teachings were highly sought after, and he was credited as the chess master who inspired and trained a number of promising young players, including future world champion Alexander Alekhine. Colle’s legacy lives on today, as his games and strategies are still studied and discussed by chess players all over the world.

He is remembered as one of the greatest chess players of all time, and his success in international tournaments ensured that he would be remembered as a master of the game.

4. Paul Devos

Paul Devos was a renowned chess master from Belgium. He was crowned Belgian Champion seven times and was regarded as a player of great national importance. In 1933, Devos placed second in the Brussels tournament, narrowly missing out on first place to Boruch Israel Dyner.

In 1936, however, Devos achieved great success by winning the international BEL-ch tournament in Brussels. He also placed third in the national BEL-ch tournament at the same venue. Devos’ accomplishments are a testament to his skill and dedication to the game of chess.

His success in both international and national tournaments is an impressive feat that earned him great recognition in the chess world.

5. Victor Soultanbeieff


Victor Ivanovich Soultanbéieff was a renowned Belgian chess master. Born in Antwerp, Belgium in 1866, he was a leading figure in the chess world for more than four decades.

He became a master in 1889 and was active in international tournaments from 1895 to 1933. Soultanbéieff was widely considered to be one of the strongest chess players of his era. He was known for his knowledge of the game, as well as his aggressive playing style.

He was also an immensely popular player, with many admirers in the chess world. Soultanbéieff competed in numerous international tournaments, including the World Chess Championship in 1912.

He finished in fourth place in that competition, behind Emanuel Lasker, future world champion Jose Raúl Capablanca, and Frank Marshall.

His other notable achievements include winning the All-Russian Amateur Tournament in 1898, the All-Russian Masters Tournament in 1908, and second place at the Moscow tournament in 1935. Soultanbéieff was also an accomplished chess writer, having edited the magazine Shakhmatny Bulletin from 1914 to 1917.

He wrote several books on chess, including his most famous work, The Chess Player’s Handbook, which was published in 1921. Victor Ivanovich Soultanbéieff was a highly respected and talented chess master.

He is remembered for his many accomplishments throughout his long and successful career as a chess player and writer. His legacy continues to be celebrated in the chess world today.

6. Andrija Fuderer


Andrija Fuderer was a well-known chess master with a unique background. He was born in Croatia but later moved to Belgium, where he made a name for himself in the world of chess.

At the start of his career, he achieved a major milestone by winning the Yugoslav Junior Chess Championship in 1947. This victory soon propelled him to greater heights, and he went on to become one of the best chess players in the world.

He was known for his sharp tactics and precise calculations, and his skill was highly respected by his peers. His success in the sport of chess was a testament to his hard work and dedication, and he continued to be a major force in the scene for many years.

Even after his retirement, his impact on the game remains strong, and he is remembered as one of the most influential figures in the history of chess.

7. Albéric O’Kelly de Galway


Albéric O’Kelly de Galway was an esteemed chess player and author. He was a Grandmaster in both Belgian Chess and International Correspondence Chess, making him a highly accomplished player.

He was also the third ICCF World Champion in correspondence chess, a prestigious title that he was honored to receive. Additionally, O’Kelly de Galway wrote extensively about the game of chess, contributing to the knowledge and appreciation of the game.

His accomplishments in chess and writing have been celebrated and remembered, making him an important figure in the chess world.


It is clear that Belgium has some of the best chess players in the world. Grandmasters such as Fabiano Caruana, Gata Kamsky, and Vassily Ivanchuk have all achieved great success in the chess world.

Additionally, there are numerous Belgian players who have achieved success in the world of chess, including numerous national champions as well as several notable players who have competed in international tournaments.

As the chess culture continues to grow in Belgium, it is likely that we will see more Belgian players achieve success on the international stage in the future.

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Alejandro Ramirez Alvarez

I am a professional chess player for over 10 years, one of the youngest Grandmasters in the world and amongst the top ranked in the western hemisphere. I have been playing chess since I was a child, and it is something that I have always been passionate about. My passion has taken me to numerous tournaments around the world where I have competed against some of the best players in the world. Through hard work and dedication, I have achieved great success at these tournaments and have become one of the youngest Grandmasters in history. My goal is to continue to improve my game and reach new heights within this sport. LinkedIn