Chess tournaments Chess strategy Computer chess Chess players FIDE Chess variants Chess rules and history

Yelena Dembo

Yelena Dembo at Iraklion 2007
Full name Yelena Dembo
Country Greece
Born December 8, 1983
Penza, Russia (then, the USSR)
Title International Master
Woman Grandmaster
Peak rating 2482 (September 2009)

Yelena Dembo (born December 8, 1983) is a Greek International Master of chess. On the May 2010 FIDE rating list for women, she is ranked 31st in the world, with a rating of 2470. She became a Woman Grandmaster when she was seventeen years old, and an International Master at age nineteen. She is also a chess teacher and author.

Family background

Dembo was born on December 8, 1983, in Penza, Russia. She first began to read when she was two-and-a-half years old and at the age of three years and nine months, played for the first time in a chess tournament among boys under twelve, enabling her to become a rated chess-player.

Dembo's mother Nadezhda Fokina is a USSR Master of Sports in chess, a linguist, chess journalist and trainer. In the past she won gold and silver medals in the USSR Chess Championships and was Russian Champion at 'Under 20' level in 1967. She also played for Israel at the 1992 Chess Olympiad in Manila, Philippines. Dembo's father is a professional pianist, who graduated from Leningrad Academy of Music, but is also a chess trainer, journalist and psychologist. He has been her trainer ever since she was three years old.

At seven years of age, her family emigrated to Israel and the young Dembo was Israeli girls' champion five times, including once in the 'Under 20' category.

Chess and coaching career

Much of her time is spent working as a chess coach. Her parents created a chess academy attended by more than one hundred students from thirty plus countries including Germany, France, Italy, Russia, Hungary, UK, US, Canada, Israel, China, India, Malaysia, Brunei, Syria, Kuwait and Ireland. The level of their students ranges from those who are unrated to those Elo rated 2500.

While living in Hungary between 2001 and 2003, she won the Hungarian Women's Championship. At the end of 2003 she moved to Athens, Greece where on May 12, 2004 she married Sotiris Logothetis, a business consultant and chess organizer.

She has eight medals from World and European championships, including the 2002 European Rapid Championship gold medal for girls 'Under 20', gained in Novi Sad and, most significantly, the bronze medal from the Women's European Individual Chess Championship (held Moldova, 2005). At the 2008 EU Individual Open Chess Championship held in Liverpool, she shared the prize for 'highest placed woman' with Jovanka Houska and Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant.

A keen player of team events, Dembo has participated in men’s and women’s leagues in the following countries: Israel, Croatia, Hungary, Germany, UK, Yugoslavia, Greece and Turkey. At Olympiads and at the European Team Chess Championships, she has represented both Hungary and Greece.

She is also a writer on chess and has so far produced two (English text) books for the publisher Everyman Chess.


Her first chess book, The Very Unusual Book About Chess, is about the middlegame and presents several methods of playing this part of the game, complemented by many examples by the world's leading players (Garry Kasparov, Viswanathan Anand, Vladimir Kramnik, Alexei Shirov, Emil Sutovsky, et al.) on each method.

The chapter breakdown is as follows:

  1. Gifted Moves (Gifted Ideas)
  2. Special Chapters (”Easy But Nice”)
  3. “Kasparov’s Rook”
  4. g5-g6 followed by h5-h6 in positions with opposite-side castling
  5. Kings Can Do Even The Impossible
  6. f4-f5 in the Sicilian Defence

Dembo's second book is titled Conversation with a Professional Trainer - Methods of Positional Play. Her third book was Play the Grünfeld, published by Everyman Chess, ISBN 978-1-85744-521-3. Her fourth book (in 2008) was Fighting the Anti-King's Indians: How to Handle White's Tricky Ways of Avoiding the Main Lines, published by Everyman Chess, ISBN 978-1-85744-575-6