Quick! Name a Swedish Grandmaster. If you said Gideon Stahlberg you probably named the best known. Stahlberg's highest Chessmetrics rating was 2762 on the March 1948 rating list which placed him number 3 on the list. If your more up-to-date, you may have thought of Ulf Andersson who Chessmetrics rated at 2743 on the October 1983 rating list which also placed him number 3 on the list. Andersson was a very solid positional player with a high percentage of his games against fellow GMs and was known for being a great endgame played, especially R and P, and is famous for winning seemingly unwinnable endgames, often in very long games. Boring, boring, boring.
A lesser known Swedish GM was Pontus Carlsson who was born in Columbia but was one year old when his family died and he was adopted by a Swedish couple. His stepfather, Ingvar Carlsson, former chairman of the Swedish Chess Federation, taught him the game when he was four.
Two lesser known and under appreciated Swedish players are Gösta Stoltz and Erik Lundin. Stoltz (May 9, 1904 – July 25, 1963) was rated 2700 on the January 1942 rating list at Chessmetrics, placeding him number 8 in the world and Lundin's highest Chessmetrics rating was 2661 on the October 1946 rating list making him the 20th rated in the world at the time.
Stoltz played a few matches with strong masters with decent results. In 1926, he lost to Botvinnik (+0 –1 =1) at a team match in Stockholm and in 930, he won against Isaac Kashdan (+3 –2 =1) in Stockholm.
In 1930, he lost to Spielmann (+2–3=1), but in 1931, he won against Salo Flohr (+4 –3 =1) in Göteborg. The same year he lost to Flohr (+1 –4 =3) in Prague. Also, in 1931, he drew with Ståhlberg (+2 –2 =2). In 1934, he narrowly lost to Nimzovich (+1 –2 =3) in Stockholm.
Stoltz played for Sweden in nine Chess Olympiads (1927–1937, 1952,1954) and in 3rd unofficial Chess Olympiad at Munich 1936.
At the beginning of his international career Stoltz' best results were:
1930, tied for 2nd-3rd with Bogoljubow, behind Kashdan, in Stockholm.
1932, won in Swinemünde.
1933, took 2nd, behind Nimzowitsch, in Copenhagen.
1934, took 3rd in Stockholm
1935, tied for 1st with Lindberg in Harnosand.
1936, tied for 2nd-3rd with Böök, behind Vladimirs Petrovs in Helsinki
1936, 3rd in Helsinki .
1937, tied for 3rd-4th in Stockholm
1938, 1st in Stockholm
During World War II, Stoltz played in Sweden and Germany. In 1940, he tied for 4-5th in the Stockholm championship. In 1941, he won, ahead of Lundin and Alekhine, in the Munich 1941 chess tournament. In 1942, he took 6th in the Salzburg 1942 chess tournament and in September 1942, he tied for 9-10th in Munich. In 1943, he tied for 1st with Lundholm in Stockholm. In 1943/44, he took 4 th in Stockholm and finished 3rd, behind Stig Lundholm, and Paul Keres, in Lidköping.
After the war, Stoltz played in a few international tournaments. His best results included 2nd behind O'Kelly in Beverwijk in 1946,. In he tied for 2nd-3rd in Prague (Miguel Najdorf won). In 1947, he tied for 1st with Eero Böök in Helsinki (zonal), and drew a play-off match (+1 –1 =6). In 1951 he tied for 3rd-4th in the zonal at Mariánské Lázně-Prague.
Stoltz won the Swedish championships at Halmstad 1951, Hålland 1952, and Örebro 1953. He was awarded the International Master title in 1950, and the Grandmaster title in 1954.
Erik Lundin (Stockholm, 2 July 1904 – 5 December 1988) was awarded the IM title in 1950, and the Honorary GM title in 1983. Over the course of his career, he won games against such world class players as Bronstein, Euwe, Fine, Flohr, and Najdorf.
Among his best results were winning Oslo, 1928 and tying for 2nd-3rd in Stockholm (Quadrangular, Richard Réti won). In 1929, he took 2nd in Göteborg (Nordic Chess Championship, Gideon Ståhlberg won), and took 3rd in Västerås.
In 1931, Lundin tied for 1st-3rd with Salo Flohr and Gösta Stoltz in Göteborg. In 1932, he tied for 1st with Ståhlberg in Karlskrona. In 1933, he won a match against Rudolf Spielmann (+1 -0 =5) in Stockholm. In 1934, he won in Stockholm, and took 2nd in Copenhagen (Nordic-ch; Nimzovich won).
In 1935, he took 2nd, with a score of 7.5/9, behind Alexander Alekhine's 8.5, in Örebro, after losing to Alekhine in the final round. In 1936, he took 4th in Margate (Flohr won), won in Ostend, and won in Helsinki (Nordic-ch). In 1937, he took 7th in Stockholm (Reuben Fine won), won in Copenhagen (Nordic-ch) and won a match for the Nordic Champion title against Erik Andersen 3.5-2.5.
In 1938, he won in Kalmar, and tied for 2nd-3rd with Henrik Carlsson, behind Ståhlberg, in Örebro (Nordic-ch). In 1939, he took 4th in Alingsås (SWE-ch; Ståhlberg won), and tied for 1st with Ståhlberg in Oslo (Nordic-ch).
During World War II, Lundin won at Göteborg 1941 (Swedish Chess Championship) and tied for 2nd-3rd with Alekhine, behind Stoltz, at Munich 1941. In 1942, he tied for 3rd-4th with Stoltz in Stockholm and finished first in Östersund (SWE-ch). In 1943, he tied for 2nd-3rd in Malmö (SWE-ch). In 1945, he finished first in Visby and in 1946, first in Motala (SWE-ch).
In 1951 he finished 2nd, behind Czerniak in Vienna and in 1952, he won in Zürich ahead of Euwe. In 1960, he won in Kiruna (SWE-ch). In 1961, he won in Avesta (SWE-ch). In 1964, he won in Göteborg (SWE-ch).
Lundin played for Sweden in nine official Chess Olympiads and once in 3rd unofficial Chess Olympiad at Munich 1936. He won four medals; team silver (Warsaw 1935) and bronze (Folkestone 1933), individual gold (Folkestone 1933) and bronze (Buenos Aires 1939).