Lev Alburt


U.S. Chess

Hall of Fame

Inducted 2003







A grandmaster of both chess and chess teaching, Lev Alburt is a three-time U.S. Champion (1984, 1985, 1990), winner of the European Cup (1976, 1979), the U.S. Open (1987, 1989), and many other titles. Born in Orenburg, Russia, and raised in Odessa, Ukraine, he trained as a theoretical physicist before gaining International Master status in 1976 and the Grandmaster title in 1977. He won three consecutive Ukrainian Championship titles and competed in five USSR Championships before leaving the Soviet Union in 1979. He defected to the United States and settled in New York City, where he resides today. Known for a somewhat unorthodox style of play, the Alburt Variation in Alekhine’s Defense carries his name. From 1985-88, he served on the Board of Directors of the U.S. Chess Federation, with the goal of promoting the game and growing USCF membership.

In recent years, Alburt has devoted his chess life to teaching, writing, and publishing. He has authored or co-authored more than twenty books, including the bestselling Comprehensive Chess Course series, and his “Back to Basics” column in Chess Life commands a worldwide readership. In recognition of Alburt’s skill and success as an instructor, FIDE awarded him with the Senior Trainer title in 2004.

Notable Games

Photographer unknown
GM Garry Kasparov with GM Lev Alburt and Others
Date unknown
Collection of the World Chess Hall of Fame
Photographer unknown
Lev Alburt
c 1990
Collection of the World Chess Hall of Fame, gift of Raquel Browne