I am interested in the History of chess and looking at old FIDE ranking lists I am a bit puzzled by the lack of information about some very good players.

For instance, in the list of July 1972:

  1. Shmit, from Soviet Union, and ranked #95 in the world with 2480 Elo https://www.olimpbase.org/Elo/player/Shmit.html
  2. Zurakov, from Soviet Union, and ranked #275 in the world with 2415 Elo https://www.olimpbase.org/Elo/player/Zurakov.html
  3. Abaharov, from Soviet Union, and ranked #285 in the world with 2410 Elo https://www.olimpbase.org/Elo/player/Abaharov.html

Does anyone know them?

The complete list offers other examples https://www.olimpbase.org/Elo/Elo197207e.html

I am also looking to know more about a player called Donnelly, from Ireland, and ranked #416 in 1970 with FIDE rating of 2240 (a very decent rating at that time!) https://www.olimpbase.org/Elo/player/Donnelly.html

  • It would also be interesting to find out where they are now.
    – m4n0
    Jun 4, 2018 at 3:35
  • 1
    Surely the most impressive "underdog player" on the list was Wolfgang Unziker a GM, =47 and 2530. He was not a full time player; he worked as a Judge. So he might have been the last "amateur" player to have had the GM title. To have had a genuine rating as well: 2530 would be a respectable GM rating even now. There are GM's now with much lower ratings than that. Actually that could be a question for someone: was Unziker the last Amateur GM? I won't post it. Also, is Istvan Polgar =531, 2370 [Hun] any relation to the more famous Hungarian female trio? Jun 30, 2019 at 2:39
  • 1
    You give the same link for Zurakov and Abaharov
    – M.M
    Apr 19, 2020 at 23:40

3 Answers 3


From Jeremy Gaige's Chess Personalia: a biobibliography (2005 paperback edition (originally from 1987), MacFarland), if no other source is given.

1) Shmit
Anatoly Shmit, a pseudonym, actual name is Anatolijs Šmits, p. 389
Anatolijs Šmits, born 1941.09.02 in Pskov gov., URS, p. 397
Pskov is a city in Russia very close to Estonia.

I found Anatolijs Šmits in wikipedia, where it's said he died on January 30, 1998.

2) Zurakov
Vladen Yakovlevich Zhurakov, born 1930.05.19, URS, p. 482

3) Abaharov
Jarullakh Ibadullakh Ogli Abakarov, born 1934.05.10, URS, p. 1

On page 280 of Gino Di Felice's Chess Results 1956-1960 (MacFarland, 2010), Abakarov is said to be from Azerbaijan.

4) Donnelly
4.1) B. Donnely, IM in 1982, Zimbabwe, p. 97
4.2) Ruth Donnelly, born 1929.01.19, USA, p. 97

Next I looked at Edward Winter's Chess History website and found a Donnelly in his 1997 article War Crimes on Karlis Alexandrs Ozols. A game is given Karlis Ozols – Donnelly from the 1987 Correspondence Olympiad. It was a KID Ozols won in 24 moves.
Then I looked up the ICCF Chess Olympiad in 1987 and the preliminaries (no earlier records), but without success.

David McAlister's Blog Irish Chess History has a page about Irish Junior Championship. A F. Donnelly competed in 1954 in the Dublin Chess Club, but was not too successful (last place with 0/5).


I found one in Big Database 2016. Anatoly Shmit, born 1941 in Latvia, with 157 games between 1959 and 1989, all played within the USSR. Many strong Soviet players never got the chance to play outside the Soviet Union, and Shmit does not seem to have ever been awarded a FIDE title, although he was undoubtedly a very strong player, having beaten a number of well known players including Mikhail Tal.

According to chessgames.com, his name was more accurately Anatolijs Šmits. He won the Soviet Junior Championship in 1960, and was Latvian Champion in 1969 and 1975. He died in 1998, aged 56.


Perhaps the others are:

Vladlen Yakovlevich Zurakhov http://www.chessgames.com/player/vladlen_yakovlevich_zurakhov.html


Jarullakh Abakarov https://www.365chess.com/players/Jarullakh_Abakarov

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