Who is the Best Chess Player Ever?
Millions of people are getting into chess, motivated by the recent Netflix hit, The Queen's Gambit. Chess blogs, content growth, and athletic activities are booming. It may not have 100 champions, 50 guns, or insane explosions, but it does have an unrivaled depth of tactics, making it not only a fantastic game to play, but also a very fascinating and engaging esports title.
Chess is the ultimate game that's easy to learn and hard to master. In a few minutes, everyone can learn how the pieces move and understand what is happening between professional players in a game, but very few of us are going to achieve Grandmaster titles ourselves.
To benefit from the hype, the largest chess website Chess.com has added a few Beth Harmon bots with various abilities, so if you want to play against the show's main character, there's your chance.
Chess.com reviewed 125 million games and 5.3 million fair play accounts in October 2020, which is a huge player base and 66 percent higher compared to pre-pandemic days. And in the figures, the Queen's Gambit hype is not even included yet.
With that being said, most people aren’t aware of the grandmasters of chess despite the recent popularity. We are here to bring you the list of top 5 chess grandmaster who are considered as the greatest of all time by chess professionals around the world.
The Best Chess Player Ever – Top 5
1. Magnus Carlsen
The chess career of Magnus Carlsen is full of fine achievements. When he won his Grandmaster's title in 2004, he was just 13 years old. Magnus Carlsen achieved an incredible Elo rating of over 2800 in 2009, and he became the world's No. 1 in the FIDE rankings just one year later.
Three years later, in a game of twelve games (Carlsen also ended the game after 10 games), Carlsen beat reigning World Chess Champion Vishy Anand and became the new World Chess Champion. He retained his title in a rematch against Vishy Anand the following year and claimed the World Rapid Championship and World Blitz Championship in 2014.
Later that year, he achieved a peak ranking of 2882, the highest rating in chess history, in May 2014. He successfully defended his title against Russian Super-GM Sergey Karjakin in the year 2016 for the second time.
What makes Magnus the best in the world is that there are no flaws he appears to have. He plays strategic and positional chess, but tactical openings are still rarely missed. And he knows how to turn it into a win once he gets a slight advantage.
2. Garry Kasparov
Garry began his training at the age of 10 at the chess school of Mikhail Botvinnik. He inadvertently participated in a professional tournament in 1979, which he won. He challenged for the world title in 1984, but lost to Anatoly Karpov in a 48-game series. But he did win the title the following year.
Just some years later, in 2000, he lost his title to Kramnik. In 2005, after winning the prestigious Linares tournament for the 9th time, he declared his retirement. After 20 years as the world's top-ranked player, Garry Kasparov retired from professional chess in 2005.
Many chess fans today hope that Garry Kasparov will return to professional chess to see how he will play against the young chess giants of today, such as Caruana, Karjakin, and Carlsen.
3. Bobby Fischer
Bobby Fischer is considered by many chess fans as being the greatest chess player ever. He won 20 consecutive matches in the "1970 Interzonal" in 1970. After beating Boris Spassky in a match in Reykjavik, he became the World Chess Champion in 1972.
Three years later, Bobby Fischer, because he was dissatisfied with the World Chess Championship format, declined to defend his title against a new challenger, Anatoly Karpov. Bobby Fischer stopped playing serious chess beginning in 1972.
4. Anatoly Karpov
In 1969, Anatoly Karpov was the junior chess champion, beat Korchnoi and Spassky in 1974, and challenged Fischer for the World Title. However, Fischer did not comply with the playing conditions, and by default, Karpov became the Winner. Reigning from 1975-1985, after defending it successfully only a year earlier, he lost his title to Gary Kasparov in 1985.
He won the Linares tournament in 1995, which is known as the most powerful tournament in history. For its positional style, Anatoly Karpov is renowned. It looked like he put his pieces on the best squares effortlessly before launching an assault with constant pressure against the tiniest vulnerabilities in his opponent's camp.
His playing style can be compared to the style of Capablanca and Magnus Carlsen, who both like to gain microscopic benefits and squeeze their opponents until they crumble under relentless pressure. Karpov's accomplishments and talents qualify him to be one of the greatest players in history.
5. Vishy Anand
We sometimes cite Magnus Carlsen, Bobby Fischer or Garry Kasparov when talking about the greatest chess players of all time, and compare their weaknesses and strengths.
But it is also important to remember Vishy Anand of India, the undisputed World Champion from 2007 to 2013. Even though Vishy Anand lives in Magnus Carlsen's shadow today, we should not forget that Anand has won almost every title a professional chess player might want to win.
In addition, it is important to note that Vishy Anand is still very much among the top chess players in the world today with a FIDE rating of close to 2800, as evidenced by his recent title as World Rapid Chess Champion in December 2017. And his longevity as a great chess player is also indisputable. When he was 18 years old, Vishy became India's first ever grandmaster.
In 2007, he became the undisputed World Champion. He defended his title against Vladimir Kramnik successfully in 2008, against Veselin Topalov in 2010 and against Boris Gelfand again in 2012. Today, because of the Elo ranking, Anand is 51 years old, but still a regular member of the Top 10 chess players.
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