There is no doubt that throughout the history of chess there have been many excellent players who have reformulated and redefined the way the game is played. They stood out from the crowd, leaving a milestone in the game’s history. Check out the top 10 chess players of all time.
The criteria used are based on a number of factors, including mastery over contemporaries, career time at the top, contributions to chess and individual talent and brilliance.
The 10 Best Chess Players Of All Time
#10. Paul Morphy – United States, 1837-1884
Paul Charles Morphy was an American chess player and one of the greatest chess players of all time. He is considered the greatest chess master of his era and an unofficial World Chess Champion.
He was a chess prodigy popularly called “The Pride and Sadness of Chess”. After learning how to play alone as a child at a very tender age, watching family members gambling, he was considered one of the best players in New Orleans at the age of 9.
#9. Wilhelm Steinitz – Austria, 1836-1900
Wilhelm Steinitz was an Austrian chess player and the first world chess champion, from 1886 to 1894. Steinitz lost his title to Emanuel Lasker in 1894 and also lost his rematch in 1897. He was one of the most dominant players in the history of the game.
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#8. Viswanathan Anand – India, 1969-
He is a great Indian chess master, the current world champion and the highest-ranked player in the world. Anand is one of 6 players in history to break the 2800 mark on the FIDE list, and at the age of 37, for the first time he became number 1 in the world.
Anand became India’s first grandmaster in 1987. And he was described as the most versatile world champion, as he is the only player to have won the world chess championship in various formats.
#7. Alexander Alekhine – Russia, 1892-1946
Alexander was the fourth World Chess Champion and 7th on the list. He is often considered one of the greatest chess players of all time. At the age of 20, he was among the strongest chess players in the world. And during the 1920s, he won most of the tournaments he played. In 1927, he became the world chess champion for defeating Capablanca.
#6. Mikhail Botvinnik – Russia, 1911-1995
Mikhail was a Russian International Grandmaster and 3 times World Chess Champion. He worked as an electrical engineer while playing high-level chess. He also developed a chess algorithm designed to think like a human player.
Playing chess class for decades, being an eminent chess author, one of the pioneers of computer chess and a chess master in his later years, Botvinnik is widely regarded as the most important contributor to chess in the 20th century.
#5. José Raúl Capablanca – Cuba, 1888-1942
José Raúl Capablanca was a Cuban chess player who was a world chess champion from 1921 to 1927. One of the greatest players of all time, he was famous for his exceptional end-of-game ability and speed to play.
For his achievements in the chess world, mastery of the board and his relatively simple playing style, he was nicknamed the Human Chess Machine.
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#4. Bobby Fischer – United States, 1943-2008
Bobby was an American player and eleventh World Champion. He is widely regarded as one of the best chess players of all time. Fischer was also the author of the best-selling chess.
Considered a chess legend. At 13, Fischer became famous for his game, “The Game of the Century” against Donald Byrne in New York. At the age of 15, he became the newest GM and candidate for the World Championship.
#3. Emanuel Lasker – Germany, 1868-1941
Emanuel was a German player, mathematician and philosopher who was a world champion in chess for 27 years. In his first, Lasker was one of the most dominant champions and is still considered one of the strongest players in history.
His contemporaries claimed that Lasker used mind games, and even moved deliberately wrong to confuse his opponents. A recent analysis, however, indicates that he was ahead of his time and used a more flexible approach than his contemporaries. He published 5 chess books and magazines.
#2. Anatoly Karpov – Russia, 1951-
He is a great Soviet / Russian chess master and a former World Champion. He was the world champion official from 1975 to 1985 when he was defeated by Garry Kasparov.
He played 3 games against Kasparov for the title from 1986 to 1990, before becoming FIDE World Champion yet again Kasparov broke from FIDE in 1993. For his long-standing decades remaining among the world’s elite, Karpov is considered one of the greatest players of all time.
#1. Garry Kasparov – Russia, 1963-
Born in Baku, Azerbaijan in 1963, Kasparov is a great chess master who became the world champion in 1985 for defeating Anatoli Karpov. No other player has dominated chess for as long as he has. And he is considered by many to be the best player in the history of chess. Garry also appears on our list of the smartest living people in the world with an IQ of 192 points.
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