Abram Khasin was born in 1923 in Zaporizhzhia, eastern Ukraine. Shortly after his birth, the family moved to Kiev. In 1932, his father was arrested by the NKVD (the Soviet secret police) and executed. Abram and his elder brother were brought up by their mother. In the late 1930s, Abram left school and worked as a lathe operator at a plant in Kiev. During the 1930s, Abram showed an aptitude for chess, and he took part in championships in Kiev at the end of that decade.
Following the outbreak of the Soviet-German War, the family was evacuated to the Perm Region in northeastern Russia. In February 1942, Abram turned 19, and he was drafted into the Red Army. Initially, the recruitment office rejected him on account of his poor eyesight, but Abram insisted that he had to enlist – as he would later recall, he was ashamed to be the only adult male among women and underage boys in the village where he worked.1
Abram was sent to a military school in the city of Perm. However, in late 1942, because of the deteriorating situation in the south, the cadets were removed from the school in Perm and sent to Stalingrad as privates. Khasin was attached to the 928th Rifle Regiment (65th Army), as a mortar gunner with a 120-milimeter mortar. In December 1942, he was wounded in an enemy bombing raid. At the rear hospital to which he had been evacuated, the surgeons amputated his feet, but managed to save his severely frostbitten hands. While recuperating, Khasin played chess with the other convalescing patients, and this helped keep up his morale. Only in 1944 was Khasin released from his last hospital and discharged from the army. His sole wartime decoration was the medal "For Courage."
Khasin settled in Moscow and, despite his disabilities, he married and studied at the English Department of the Moscow Institute of Foreign Languages, later working as a teacher. In the 1950s-70s, he worked as a chess trainer at various chess clubs in Moscow; one of his students was the future grandmaster Boris Gulko (who would twice win the U.S. Chess Championship in the 1990s). Grandmaster Abram Khasin authored several books on chess theory; however, he never won any chess championship.
In 2002, Abram Khasin immigrated to Germany. He died in 2022.