Top 18 Most Successful Italy Chess Players of All Time

Alejandro Ramirez Alvarez

Chess is a beloved game in Italy, and there are some incredible players who have come out of the region. They have won national and international competitions, and have been hailed as some of the best in the world.

From the likes of legendary grandmasters like Fabiano Caruana and Domenico D’Angelo to some of the country’s rising stars, here is a list of the best chess players in Italy.

1. Alberto David


Alberto David is a highly-accomplished chess player who hails from two different countries. He is from Luxembourg and Italy and is recognized as a grandmaster of the game of chess.

This title is only given to those who have achieved a certain level of skill in the game and Alberto David has certainly proven himself to be a master of the game.

In addition to his international recognition, Alberto David has also made a name for himself in Italy by winning the Italian Chess Championship three times.

This speaks to his prowess and dedication to the game, as he has managed to win the championship on three different occasions. His successes have made him a well-known figure in the chess world and a source of pride for the nations of Luxembourg and Italy.

2. Daniele Vocaturo


Daniele Vocaturo is an accomplished chess player from Italy. He holds the highest chess title bestowed by the World Chess Federation (FIDE): the Grandmaster title.

As of August 2023, he is the top-ranked chess player in Italy, a position he has held since May 2016. Vocaturo has achieved a number of accolades in the chess world.

He has competed in several World Chess Olympiads and won the gold medal in the 2013 World Junior Chess Championship.

He has also won multiple Italian Chess Championships and holds a number of national and international titles. Vocaturo is well-known for his tactical and positional playing style, which is characterized by its complexity and variations.

He is also known for his deep understanding of the game and his ability to come up with creative ideas to surprise his opponents. The Italian Grandmaster continues to be a leader in the chess world.

He is a role model for aspiring chess players and continues to inspire them to strive for excellence. He is a living testament to the fact that hard work and determination can lead to success, no matter the odds.

3. Lexy Ortega


Lexy Ortega is an internationally renowned chess player. She is the highest-rated female Italian chess player in history, achieving the title of Grandmaster in 2019.

This was a milestone for Italian chess, as it is the highest title a chess player can achieve.A Grandmaster is a title given by the World Chess Federation (FIDE) to chess players who have achieved a certain level of skill.

Players need to reach a certain ELO rating, which is a rating system used to rank chess players in the world. To become a Grandmaster, a player needs to achieve an ELO rating of 2500 or higher. Ortega first began playing chess when she was a child.

She trained extensively and competed in tournaments around the world. She achieved the title of International Master in 2016, and then in 2019 she became a Grandmaster.

This made her the first female Italian chess player to reach the Grandmaster level. Ortega has become an inspiration to aspiring chess players around the world. She has shown that hard work and dedication can lead to great success, even in a traditionally male-dominated field.

As a role model, she encourages others to pursue their dreams and strive for excellence in their chosen field.

4. Carlos Garcia Palermo

Carlos Horacio García Palermo is an Argentine-Italian chess grandmaster who was born in the Argentinian city of La Plata. He began his chess career with a bang, as in 1970 he was able to defeat the legendary Robert James Fischer in a simultaneous display.

This was a remarkable accomplishment, especially considering the fact that Fischer was considered one of the best players in the world at the time.

García Palermo has since gone on to become one of the most successful chess grandmasters in the world, and his victory over Fischer was an early indicator of his potential.

5. Fabiano Caruana


Fabiano Luigi Caruana is an incredibly accomplished chess player who holds dual Italian and American citizenship.

He is the current United States Chess Champion, and with a peak rating of 2844, he is the third-highest-rated player in the history of the game. Caruana was born in Miami, Florida to Italian parents.

Although he was born in the United States, his parents raised him in Brooklyn, New York, where he grew up. This enabled him to develop his skills in the game of chess as a child, and it was clear very early on that he was gifted in the game.

He developed his skills quickly, and he quickly rose to the top of the chess scene. Today, Caruana is recognized as one of the greatest chess players in the world.

He has achieved a number of impressive accomplishments throughout his chess career, and he has been ranked among the highest-rated chess players in history.

He is a shining example of what can be achieved through dedication and hard work, and his accomplishments continue to inspire aspiring chess players all over the world.

6. Alessandro Salvio


Alessandro Salvio was an important figure in Italian chess during the early 17th century. He was a celebrated player and sought to popularize the game by founding a chess academy in Naples. He also contributed to the literature of the game, writing two books on the subject.

The first, Trattato dell’Inventione et Arte Liberale del Gioco Degli Scacchi, was published in Naples in 1604 and detailed the rules of chess, as well as its strategy. His second book, Il Puttino, was published in 1634 and further explored the game’s nuances and complexities.

Salvio’s works were instrumental in popularizing the game of chess in Italy and abroad and his legacy in the game lives on to this day.

7. Giovanni Leonardo Di Bona

Giovanni Leonardo di Bona, also known as Il Puttino, was an important figure in early Italian chess. He was born in Cutro, Calabria, and went on to study law in Rome.

His chess career began in 1560, when he faced off against the renowned Ruy López in Rome, unfortunately losing the match. In the following years of 1566–1572, Giovanni Leonardo di Bona went on a chess-playing journey, visiting cities such as Rome, Genoa, Marseille and Barcelona.

During this time, he played chess matches in each of these locations and gained a great deal of experience in the game. He eventually returned to Rome, where he is believed to have continued playing and teaching chess until his death.

Giovanni Leonardo di Bona is remembered as an important figure in the history of Italian chess. His travels and matches helped to spread the game to different parts of Europe, and the knowledge he gained during his journey was invaluable.

Although he lost his match against Ruy López, Giovanni Leonardo di Bona still left a lasting legacy on the game of chess.

8. Giambattista Lolli

Giambattista Lolli was an influential Italian chess player and theoretician who made a lasting contribution to the game of chess. Born in the Italian town of Nonantola, Modena, he was one of the Modenese Masters.

Lolli is best known for his book, Osservazioni teorico-pratiche sopra il giuoco degli scacchi, which was published in 1763 in Bologna. The book is still widely read and referenced today, and it contains numerous insights into the game of chess that are still relevant.

Through his writings, Lolli was able to influence the development of chess theory and strategy, helping make it into the highly strategic game it is today. His work is still recognized as one of the most important contributions to the game of chess.

9. Serafino Dubois

Serafino Dubois was a renowned Italian chess master and chess writer who was highly regarded among the world’s strongest players in the 1850s. He was well-known for his writings on the game, as well as for his efforts to promote chess in Italy.

Dubois was a great advocate for the game of chess, helping to spread its popularity in Italy. He wrote extensively about the game, creating works that were highly influential in chess circles. His writings provided valuable insights into the strategies and tactics of the game.

His promotion of chess throughout Italy helped to create a vibrant chess culture in the country. Dubois was instrumental in developing the Italian chess scene and laying the groundwork for future generations of chess players in the country.

10. Clarice Benini

Clarice Benini was an Italian chess player who was born in Florence. In 1950, she was awarded the title International Woman Master by FIDE, the World Chess Federation.

Benini had a successful career in chess, having achieved a notable second-place finish in 1936 at the Semmering, Austria tournament. She was narrowly beaten by Sonja Graf, who went on to win the tournament.

Benini is remembered as a successful and formidable chess player who made a significant contribution to the game.

11. Eros Riccio


Eros Riccio is a highly accomplished chess player from Italy. He is an International Correspondence Chess Grandmaster, which is one of the highest titles in the sport.

This means that he has achieved a level of mastery in playing chess by mail, which is a form of chess that was popular before the internet.

He is also an Advanced Chess Champion, which is an advanced form of chess that combines traditional chess with the use of computer assistance. Additionally, he is an accomplished chess opening book author, and he has achieved even higher accolades in the chess world.

He is the FICGS World Champion, the ICCF vice-European Champion, and he has won an Olympic bronze medal with the Italian national team. This is a remarkable record of achievement for any chess player and speaks to the skill and dedication of Eros Riccio.

12. Max Romih

Massimiliano “Massimo” Romi was an Italian chess master who was born in Pinguente, Istria. At the time of his birth, Istria was a part of Austria-Hungary, and thus Romi was a Croatian citizen.

After World War I, however, the region of Julian March, which included Istria, was annexed by Italy. This meant that Romi was now an Italian citizen, as were all the people living in the region.

As a result, Massimiliano “Massimo” Romi is considered to be an Italian chess master even though he was born in what was, at the time, an Austrian-Hungarian territory.

13. Alice Tonini

Alice Tonini was an accomplished Italian chess master who lived in France. She earned great respect in the chess community through her impressive accomplishments. Tonini won the French Chess Championship in Paris in 1932, 1933, and 1934, a great feat for any chess master.

Her success continued in the fourth Women’s World Chess Championship held during the 5th Chess Olympiad at Folkestone in 1933, where she earned fifth place. Tonini was a respected and talented chess player, who made a lasting impact in the chess world.

14. Carlo Cozio


Carlo Cozio was an Italian chess player and theorist that is widely recognized for his contributions to the game of chess. He was born in 1750 and was given the title of Count of Montiglio and Salabue.

He is best known for his book Il giuoco degli Scacchi, which was published in 1809 and detailed the most advanced theories of chess at the time. Additionally, he is remembered for the Cozio Defence, a chess opening characterized by the moves 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5.

It is named after Cozio and is still used by some players today. Cozio was a passionate chess player and theorist throughout his life. He was known to play chess with some of the best players of the time and was often seen in the courts of the Italian chess aristocracy.

His passion was apparent in the detail of the book Il giuoco degli Scacchi which was one of the most advanced chess books of its time. It was one of the first treatises to cover some of the openings and endgames in great detail.

It also contained advice for chess players on how to improve their game. The Cozio Defence is a testament to Cozio’s skill and knowledge of chess. It is still used by some players today, and is considered to be a reliable defence against 1.e4 e5.

It has been used in many notable games and is one of the most popular chess openings in modern play. Overall, Carlo Cozio was an important figure in the history of chess. He was a passionate chess player and theorist that left a lasting impression on the game.

He is remembered for the book Il giro degli scacchi and the Cozio Defence, which are both still used by chess players today.

15. Stefano Rosselli del Turco

Stefano Rosselli del Turco was an Italian chess player, writer, and publisher who came from a prominent noble family in Florence. He was the reigning Italian chess champion for five consecutive years and represented Italy in the Chess Olympiad seven times.

He was a respected member of the Rosselli del Turco family, who had long been respected for their contributions to Italian culture and society. As a chess player, Stefano won numerous tournaments and was known for his creativity and strategic thinking.

His writings and books on the game of chess were widely read and had a lasting impact on the sport. He was also a successful publisher, and his imprint of books and magazines was well known throughout Italy.

Stefano’s legacy as a chess player, writer, and publisher will live on for generations to come.

16. Domenico Lorenzo Ponziani

Domenico Lorenzo Ponziani was an Italian scholar and religious leader who achieved distinction in a number of fields. He was a professor of law, a priest of the Roman Catholic Church, a chess player, a composer, and a theoretician.

Ponziani’s most enduring legacy is his writing on the game of chess. He was highly respected for his chess theory and for producing some of the most influential writings in the history of the game.

He wrote several books and essays on the subject, and his work was used as a reference by many other chess players and scholars. His influence extended beyond the game itself, being cited in works on philosophy, psychology, and mathematics.

Ponziani’s writings were highly respected for their scientific approach and their insight into the underlying principles of chess. His work was studied by many of the great players of the day, and his theoretical contributions are still recognized today.

17. Arturo Reggio

Arturo Reggio was an Italian chess player who was born in Gorizia when it was part of the Austrian Empire. He was an engineering student at both the Graz University of Technology and the Imperial-Royal Polytechnic Institute of Vienna.

It was while attending these universities that he began to learn and play chess, eventually becoming a master of the game. He was known for his brilliant tactical play, often finding ways to outwit and outplay his opponents.

His career was cut short due to the onset of World War I, but he left behind a lasting legacy in the world of chess. Reggio’s skill and passion for the game will be remembered for generations to come.

18. Giulio Cesare Polerio

Giulio Cesare Polerio was an Italian chess theoretician and player. He was born in Lanciano, a town located in the province of Chieti in the region of Abruzzo, Italy.

As a result, he was given the name affixes of “l’Apruzzese,” “Giu[o]lio Cesare da Lanciano,” and “Lancianese.” He spent his life in Italy and eventually passed away in Rome. Polerio was known for his contributions to the game of chess.

He wrote a number of books and pamphlets on the game and is credited with introducing the idea of a pawn “chain” or “battery,” an idea which is still used in chess today. He also wrote about the chess opening called the Polerio Defence, which is named after him.

His work was highly influential in the development of chess theory and helped to shape the game as we know it today. Polerio’s legacy lives on through his works and the chess openings and strategies he popularized.

His contributions to the game of chess are still studied and discussed by chess players and theorists today. He will always be remembered as one of the greatest chess theoreticians and players of all time.


Italy is home to some of the world’s most talented chess players. From the legendary Ulf Andersson to the young and talented Fabiano Caruana, Italy has a long and proud tradition of producing top-level chess players.

With the support of the Italian Chess Federation, talented chess players in Italy have the opportunity to compete at the highest level and show the world their skills.

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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