Cinematic Tag

Tov Kronsteen (Russian: Това Кронштейна) is a fictional chess master and the secondary antagonist of the 1963 James Bond film From Russia with Love. Played by the late Polish actor Vladek Sheybal, the character is based on the character of the same name from the 1957 novel From Russia, with Love.


When he is first seen at the film, Kronsteen is participating in a chess tournament against a Canadian grandmaster named MacAdams. During the tournament he receives a message from SPECTRE, hidden in the coaster of a glass of water served to him, which is typed "You are needed at once". He then proceeds to make one more move, which makes MacAdams admit he has been checkmated. Kronsteen seems oblivious to the fanfare that arises from his winning the tournament, abruptly walking out and ignoring reporters and girls, although he graciously shakes hands with MacAdams for a worthy game. 

He then visits a SPECTRE office where he meets with his superiors, Blofeld and Rosa Klebb. Klebb says they know all about him, and he is chastised for concluding the chess match instead of running off immediately after receiving the message. Kronsteen then tells Blofeld that, as he was tasked, he created a plan to steal the Lektor from the Russians. He states that in order for his plan to work, they need a female member of the Russian Kryptograph Section in Turkey and the help of the Secret Service. Klebb is ordered to select the woman, in order to make the plan work. After assuring Blofeld that he has anticipated every possible outcome, Kronsteen tells Blofeld that his plan also ensures revenge for the death of SPECTRE operative Julius No, because the agent used by the Secret Service to get the Lektor will be the same one who killed Dr. No, James Bond. Blofeld tells Kronsteen to ensure that Bond's death will be particularly unpleasant and humiliating.

After the failure of the mission, Blofeld calls both Klebb and Kronsteen before him, asking them what they have to say in their defense. Kronsteen blames Klebb for choosing the wrong people for the job whereas Klebb says that Kronsteen's plan was the reason for the failure; Kronsteen denies that his plan could be anything but flawless, as it was his own genius. After hearing both, Blofeld silences them and summons Morzeny into the room while berating Klebb for the failure, apparently taking Kronsteen's side. Morzeny deploys a blade tipped with poison from his shoe, but most surprisingly stabs Kronsteen with it instead of Klebb as they had been led to believe. Kronsteen has little time to register his shock, as the poison immediately takes effect, managing only a look of disbelief towards Blofeld before he slumps to the floor. After Kronsteen has died, Blofeld remarks that his demise lasted 12 second and that one day they have to create a faster working venom.


Kronsteen had a cold and egotistical manner, he thought he was unbeatable because of his brilliant intelligence as a chess player and strategist. Kronsteen had a chilling and humourless personality, his soft spoken voice was that of a calm and experienced intellect.

Behind the scenes