Top 14 Greatest Netherlands Chess Players in History

Alejandro Ramirez Alvarez

The Netherlands is home to some of the best Chess players in the world. From World Champion Max Euwe to Grandmasters Loek van Wely, Jan Timman and Anish Giri, the Netherlands has produced an impressive number of strong players.

The Dutch Chess Federation (KNSB) is well-known for its international success and is even responsible for organizing the World Chess Championship.

From the youth to the professional level, Dutch Chess players have become some of the most respected and feared players around the world.

Whether it is their tactical skills, strategic understanding or endgame expertise, Dutch Chess players have earned their place in the history books.

We will explore the best Dutch Chess players of all time and how they have made their mark on the world of Chess.

1. Anish Giri


Anish Kumar Giri is a remarkable chess player and a true prodigy. He achieved the grandmaster title at the young age of 14 years, 7 months and 2 days, an incredible feat that is rarely seen in the world of chess.

Giri has also been a five-time Dutch champion and won the Corus Chess B Group in 2010. His clear talent has been recognized by his home country, as he has been selected to represent the Netherlands at six different Chess Olympiads.

Giri’s success is a testament to his hard work and dedication to his craft, and his accomplishments are sure to inspire the next generation of chess players.

2. Ivan Sokolov


Ivan Sokolov is a chess player and writer from the Netherlands and Bosnia. He achieved the title of Grandmaster, the highest title in the chess world, from FIDE (the World Chess Federation) in 1987.

This title was earned after he had previously become a FIDE Master in 1985 and an International Master in 1986. Sokolov was also successful in his national chess championships, having won the Yugoslav Championship in 1988, and the Dutch Championship twice, in 1995 and 1998.

His achievements in the chess world make him a highly respected figure in the international chess community.

3. Erwin l’Ami


Erwin l’Ami is a Dutch chess grandmaster. He has achieved the title at a very young age and is considered one of the most promising chess players in the world. Erwin l’Ami is a chess prodigy, with an impressive track record in tournaments and matches.

He has won several prestigious tournaments, including the Dutch Championship, the European Championship, and the World Open.

He also holds the highest FIDE rating in the Netherlands. Erwin l’Ami’s achievements are no small feat, as becoming a Grandmaster is a long and difficult process. It requires years of dedicated practice and study, as well as intense competition.

Grandmasters must be proficient in all aspects of the game, from openings to endgames.

Furthermore, Grandmasters must also have the mental capacity to outplay their opponents, as well as the physical stamina to compete in grueling tournaments. Erwin l’Ami is a prime example of how hard work and dedication can pay off.

His impressive accomplishments at such a young age are a testament to his skill and commitment to the game of chess. He is an inspiration to aspiring chess players around the world, proving that anything is possible with enough dedication and hard work.

4. John van der Wiel


John van der Wiel is a prominent figure in the world of chess. He is a Dutch grandmaster who has earned the respect of his peers through his skill and accomplishments. He is a two-time Dutch Chess Champion, having won the title in 1997 and 2003.

This is a testament to his talent and dedication to the game, as well as his ability to maintain his high standards of play over a long period of time.

Additionally, John van der Wiel has represented the Netherlands in several international tournaments, including the Chess Olympiad and European Team Championship. His impressive results have helped put Dutch chess on the world map, and he is a source of national pride.

As a result of his accomplishments, John van der Wiel has been inducted into the Dutch Chess Hall of Fame, further cementing his legacy as one of the greatest chess players in the country’s history.

5. Dimitri Reinderman


Dimitri Reinderman is a Dutch chess grandmaster who has achieved much success in the competitive chess world. He was the Dutch Chess Champion in 2013, a title that he holds with pride. As of November 2020, he is the No.

8 ranked Dutch player, a testament to his skill and dedication to the game. He has made a name for himself in the chess world and is respected for his talents. His achievements are an inspiration to aspiring chess players everywhere.

6. Friso Nijboer


Friso Nijboer is a Dutch chess player who achieved the title of Grandmaster in 1996. This title is the highest title a chess player can have and is difficult to obtain.

Nijboer has had considerable success in tournament play, winning the Vlissingen Chess Tournament twice, in 2002 and 2005, and the 3rd Nancy Chess Festival in 2005.

He has also represented the Netherlands in international competitions, participating in six Chess Olympiads and achieving an overall performance record of 18−14=21. His success in tournaments and in international competitions is a testament to his skill as a chess player.

7. Jan Smeets


Jan Smeets is a renowned chess grandmaster from the Netherlands. His skill in the game has earned him the title of two-time Dutch Chess Champion, a testament to his dedication to the game.

Smeets has been playing chess since he was a young boy and he has continued to hone his craft ever since. His success as a chess player has been immense, having won several international chess tournaments in addition to his two Dutch Chess Championship titles.

Smeets is a widely respected figure in the chess world, having established himself as one of the top grandmasters in the Netherlands. His passion for chess is evident in his play and has been an inspiration for many aspiring chess players.

8. Max Euwe


Machgielis “Max” Euwe was a remarkable person who had a wide range of accomplishments in his lifetime. Not only was he a world-renowned chess player, but he was also a mathematician, author, and chess administrator.

He achieved the highest honor in the chess world when he became the fifth World Chess Champion in 1935. He held this title until 1937 when he was defeated by Alexander Alekhine. After his stint as World Champion, Euwe continued to contribute to the chess world in other ways.

He wrote books on chess theory and strategies, and he also served as the President of FIDE (the World Chess Federation) from 1970 to 1978. During this time, he worked to promote and further develop international chess tournaments and competitions.

Euwe’s influence and legacy live on in the chess world. He was a pioneer in chess and a respected figure in the chess community for decades. His contributions to the sport are invaluable and will continue to be celebrated for years to come.

9. Lodewijk Prins


Lodewijk Prins was a highly esteemed Dutch chess player and referee of chess competitions. He was an International Master in 1950 and an International Arbiter in 1960, which are both highly regarded titles in the chess world.

Prins’ career was further honored in 1982 when the FIDE (Fédération Internationale des Échecs) made him an honorary Grandmaster. This is the highest chess title that can be bestowed on someone and is a testament to Prins’ skill and dedication to the sport.

Beyond his individual accomplishments, Prins was also a proud representative of the Netherlands at twelve Chess Olympiads between 1937 and 1968. This is a testament to his passion for the game and his commitment to his country.

Prins’ legacy as a chess master and arbiter is one that will long be remembered.

10. Salo Landau

Salo Landau was a Dutch chess player who lived during World War II. He was a talented player who had gained recognition for his skill in the game. Unfortunately, during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, Landau was sent to a concentration camp, where he eventually died.

The concentration camps during World War II were terrible places. People were subjected to extreme physical and psychological torture, as well as starvation, and many died of illness and exhaustion.

Despite the conditions, Landau was still able to practice chess and even participate in tournaments. His talent was such that he was able to win many of these tournaments, even while in a concentration camp. Unfortunately, Landau’s story does not have a happy ending.

He eventually succumbed to the harsh conditions of the camp and died in 1944. His death came as a great loss to the world of chess, and his memory lives on in the hearts of those who remember his skill and courage in the face of adversity.

11. Peng Zhaoqin

Peng Zhaoqin is an extraordinary chess player who has made a name for herself in the international chess community. She was born in China but has lived in the Netherlands since 1996. Her career in chess is impressive, and she has achieved many accomplishments.

In October 2004, she became the eleventh woman in history to earn the FIDE title of Grandmaster, the highest title that can be obtained in international chess. Additionally, she won the Chinese Women’s Chess Championship three times, in 1987, 1990, and 1993.

Her impressive career has made her a popular figure in the chess world, and her accomplishments are a testament to her skill and dedication to the game.

12. Levi Benima

Levi Benima was a renowned chess master from the Netherlands. He was a highly respected player and a two-time champion of the Dutch Championship. In 1881, he was victorious in The Hague and again in 1883 in Rotterdam.

His skill and expertise made him a formidable opponent, and his successes in the Netherlands only strengthened his reputation as one of the best chess players of his time. Benima’s career began in the mid-19th century and he quickly established himself as a force to be reckoned with in the competitive world of chess.

He was a master of strategy and technique, and his games were known for their precision and finesse.

Benima was also an active member of the Dutch Chess Federation and was part of the board of directors for several years. Throughout his career, Benima continued to be a regular contender in the Dutch Championships, and he won the title twice.

His first win in the Dutch Championship came in 1881 in The Hague and his second win in 1883 in Rotterdam. This only cemented his place among the greats of the game, and he was revered by his peers and the chess community alike. Levi Benima’s legacy lives on to this day.

He was a master of the game and a respected competitor in the Dutch chess scene. His two Dutch Championship wins only added to his already impressive record, and he will always be remembered as one of the greatest Dutch chess players of all time.

13. Tea Lanchava

Tea Lanchava is an impressive chess player who has achieved great success in the game. She holds two prestigious titles, International Master and Woman Grandmaster. She is an incredibly talented individual who has earned the highest accolades in the world of chess.

Her most impressive feat is that she is a former World Youth Chess Champion in the girls Under 14 and Under 16 categories. This is an impressive feat, as it takes a great deal of skill and determination to become a World Youth Chess Champion in two different age groups.

She has worked hard to achieve this level of success and is an inspiration to many aspiring chess players. Tea Lanchava is a testament to the fact that any player with the right amount of dedication and focus can reach the highest level of success in chess.

Her success is a reminder to all aspiring chess players that hard work and dedication can lead to great accomplishments. Her story is a source of inspiration to all who wish to pursue the game of chess.

14. Machteld van Foreest

Jkvr. Machteld van Foreest is an accomplished Dutch chess player. She is an impressive young competitor, having won several Dutch Youth Championships in her career. In 2017 and 2018, she was the victor of the open under-12 division. In 2018, she won the open under-14 division.

An especially impressive feat was her victory in the girls’ under-10 division in 2014; she was only six at the time. This speaks to her talent and dedication to the game of chess.

Machteld van Foreest is certainly a formidable chess player and a source of pride for the Dutch chess community.


The Netherlands has a long and proud history of producing some of the world’s best chess players. From Max Euwe to Anish Giri, there are many Dutch players who have made a name for themselves in the world of chess.

The Netherlands is a great place for chess players to develop their skills and further their career. With strong and diverse chess communities, the Netherlands is definitely a hotbed for chess talent.

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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