Top 10 Male Chess Players of All Time
One of the most popular indoor games in the world is Chess. It is a strategy game that requires the highest level of concentration, patience, presence of mind, strategic approach, intelligence, and is often considered as the biggest test of functioning of mental faculties. This two-player board game, played with 16 pieces on a checkered board, is believed to have originated in Eastern India circa 2800500 CE, played as Chaturanga, while the earliest evidence of chess is found in Sasanid around 600. From there the game has evolved into what it is today, with many different styles and strategies. Chess players are among the most respected in the world, even though they are not involved in an athletic sport. Let us take a look at the Top 10 Male Chess Players of All Time.
Top 10 Male Chess Players of All Time
1. Garry Kasparov
Russian chess Grandmaster Garry Kimovich Kasparov was born on 13 April 1963, and is regarded by many as the greatest chess player of all time. He is also a former World Chess Champion, political activist and writer. He was ranked world No. 1 from 1986 till he retired in 2005 for 225 out of 228 months. Kasparov holds the record for the most Chess Oscars, with 11 Oscars, and also holds most consecutive professional tournament victories with 15 championship wins from 1981 to 1990. He competed in a highly publicized match against IBM supercomputer Deep Blue in 1997 which he lost under standard time controls. Kasparov is currently working on the board of directors for the Human Rights Foundation and is the chairman of its International Council.
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2. Bobby Fischer
American chess prodigy Robert James “Bobby” Fischer was with us from his birth on March 9, 1943, till he died on January 17, 2008. He was a grandmaster and the eleventh World Chess Champion. Fischer is regarded by many as the greatest chess player of all time. He won a match with unexpected sacrifice and moves at the age of just 13 which later became known as The Game of the Century. He participated in eight United States Championships while winning each of them at the age of just 14. He became both youngest grandmaster and the youngest participant of the World Championship at the age of 20. Fischer achieved the U.S. Championship in 1964 at the age of 20 with 11/11 score which is the sole perfect score in the history of chess. His book “My 60 Memorable Games” published in 1969 is one of the most shining gems in the chess literature.
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3. Viswanathan Anand
Indian chess Grandmaster Viswanathan “Vishy” Anand was born on 11 December 1969, and is a former World Chess Champion. He held the top spot in the FIDE World Chess Championship from 2000 to 2002. He became the undisputed World Champion in 2007 and defended his title in 2008 while beating Vladimir Kramnik. Anand then defended his title against Veselin Topalov in the World Chess Championship 2010 and again defended it against Boris Gelfand in the World Chess Championship 2012. He is among only eight players in history to pass 2800 Elo rating. Anand held the world No. 1 spot for 21 months which is the 6th longest in chess history. He became India’s first grandmaster in 1988 and won the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award in 1991. Anand was honored by the “Indian sportsperson of the year” and “Indian of the year” awards in 2012.
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4. Magnus Carlsen
Norwegian chess grandmaster Sven Magnus Øen Carlsen was born on 30 November 1990, and is the current No. 1 ranked player in the world. He is the reigning World Chess Champion in several genres including classical, rapid and blitz. His Elo rating of 2885 is the highest rating in the history of chess. Carlsen became a Grandmaster at the age of just 13 years 148 days in 2004, and started to be known as a chess prodigy. He then became e youngest chess player in history to achieve the world No. 1 spot on 1 January 2010 at the age of just 19 years 32 days. Carlsen defeated Viswanathan Anand in November 2013 in the World Chess Championship 2013 and defended his title against Anand again in November 2014. He achieved the Chess Oscars four times till now in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.
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5. Anatoly Karpov
Russian chess grandmaster Anatoly Yevgenyevich Karpov was born on May 23, 1951, and is a former World Chess Champion. He held the spot of the official world champion from 1975 until he was defeated by Garry Kasparov in 1985. Karpov for his amazing strategy and technique on the chess board is considered by many as one of the greatest players of all time. He achieved more than 160 first-place finishes in his active career. He held the world number one spot for a total 90 months which is the second longest of all time. Karpov had a peak Elo rating of 2780, and achieved 19 wins, 21 losses and 104 draws in five world championship matches. He is a member of the Public Chamber of Russia since 2005. An asteroid was named after Anatoly Karpov as the “Asteroid 90414 Karpov”.
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6. Levon Aronian
Armenian chess Grandmaster Levon Grigori Aronian was born on 6 October 1982, and is the world number two in the world on the March 2014 FIDE rating list. His Elo rating of 2830 is the fourth highest in the history of Chess. He became the Armenian Chess Championship and World Junior Champion in 2002. He achieved the Chess World Cup in 2005 and led his national team to the Gold medals in the Chess Olympics three times in Turin 2006, Dresden 2008 and Istanbul 2012. Aronian won the World Chess960 Championship twice in 2006 and 2007, World Rapid Chess Champion in 2009 and World Blitz Chess Champion in 2010. He is counted as the leading Armenian chess player since 2000s. Aronian was named the best sportsman of Armenia in 2005 and received the title of Honoured Master of Sport of the Republic of Armenia in 2009.
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7. Mikhail Botvinnik
Legendary former Soviet and Russian International Grandmaster Mikhail Moiseyevich Botvinnik was with us from his birth on March 9, 1943, till he died on January 17, 2008. He is a three-time World Chess Champion and widely regarded by many as one of the greatest chess players of all time. Besides his active chess career, Botvinnik was also a pioneer of computer chess. He is considered as the first world-class player to develop within the Soviet Union which later influenced the history of Soviet chess. He is noted for his contribution to the design of the World Chess Championship system after World War II. Botvinnik announced his retirement from competitive play in 1970 at the age of 59 and started to devote his time to the development of computer chess programs. Botvinnik was nicknamed the “Patriarch of the Soviet Chess School”.
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8. Vladimir Kramnik
Russian chess grandmaster Vladimir Borisovich Kramnik was born on 25 June 1975, and is the Classical World Chess Champion from 2000 to 2006. He became the undisputed World Chess Champion from 2006 to 2007. He achieved three individual medals and three team gold medals at Chess Olympiads. He defeated Garry Kasparov and became the Classical World Chess Champion in October 2000, and later defended his title against Péter Lékó in 2004. He held both FIDE and Classical titles and became the first undisputed World Champion. Kramnik played six-game match against the computer program Deep Fritz from 25 November to 5 December 2006 in Bonn, Germany. Viswanathan Anand once stated about him that “His stamp on opening theory is much more significant than mine.”
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9. José Raúl Capablanca
Legendary former Cuban International Grandmaster José Raúl Capablanca y Graupera was with us from his birth on 19 November 1888, till he died on 8 March 1942. He was the world chess champion from 1921 to 1927. Due to his exceptional endgame skill and speed of play, Capablanca is widely regarded as one of the greatest chess players of all time. He was nicknamed the “Human Chess Machine” for his relatively simple but excellent style of play. Capablanca enrolled at Columbia’s School of Mines in September, 1910 and later left Columbia after one semester for advance training of chess and to devote his full time to this game. He first became the World Chess Champion by beating Emanuel Lasker in 1921. Lasker once said about him, “I have known many chess players, but only one chess genius: Capablanca.”
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10. Emanuel Lasker
Legendary former German International Grandmaster Emanuel Lasker was with us from his birth on December 24, 1868, till he died on January 11, 1941. He is also known as a great mathematician, and philosopher. He held the title of World Chess Champion from 1894 to 1921 for 27 years and was one of the most dominant champions. Many of his fellow players showed honor to him because of his “psychological” approach to the game. Besides chess, Lasker was also a first-class contract bridge player. He is also known for his contributions to commutative algebra and for decomposition of the ideals of polynomial rings. Viktor Korchnoi noted him as “My chess hero” while Mikhail Tal noted about him, “The greatest of the champions was, of course, Emanuel Lasker.”
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Chess players may not be athletes who show their muscle power to the world, but, the way they use their mental faculties is exceptional. That is why, they earn huge respect, because these players have mastered one of the most difficult games in the world.