Top Five Famous Chess Players Of All Time
Being able to mentally track the real-time location of 32 pieces on a board is no joke. Apart from that, it takes great effort to systematically annihilate the opponent’s loyal subjects one move at a time, which is why Chess is known as the game of geniuses. But, not all geniuses have been created equal. When it comes to the best Chess players, we have a list of the dudes that have the one up on genetics and the public school system. Here’s the list.
Garry Kasparov – Russia
One name that is synonymous with Chess is Garry Kasparov. There has been no person who has dominated the world of Chess as long as Kasparov, a Russian Chess Grandmaster who first became world champion at the age of 22 in 1985. That title was held until 1993 when a dispute led Kasparov to set up his own chess organization the PCA to rival governing body FIDE (Fédération Internationale des Échecs) more commonly known as World Chess Federation. While Kasparov lost the title, he was still hailed as the unofficial world champion, and was ranked number one almost continuously from 1986 until his retirement in 2005. Kasparov has also contributed immensely to the theory of the game, and is rightly considered the best Chess player of all time.
Anatoly Karpov – Russia
Another Russian who ruled the roost in the world of Chess is Anatoly Karpov. If it wasn’t for Kasparov, this player would definitely be the greatest player in the history of Chess. Karpov was world champion from 1975 to 1985 and even went one on one against his most bitter rival Kasparov (then world number two) in 1983 in an epic 48-game match, which he won. However, Karpov and Kasparov would later lock horns a few more times in the coming years and lost to Kasparov. Nevertheless, Karpov was one of the best chess players of his time, beating other big name Chess players such as Spassky and Korchinoi for the world title. Karpov learned how to play Chess at the tender age of four and was the Soviet National Master by the age 15. In the Chess Olympiads, Karpov lost only twice in 68 events, and has an incredible 160 first place tournament finishes, which certainly makes him one of the greats, and still plays Chess to this day.
Emanuel Lasker – Germany
The longest ever world champion reign goes to Emanual Lasker who dominated the world of Chess for 27 years. Lasker made great contributions to the game during his professional career apart from winning several high profile tournaments from 1889 to 1893. Emanuel Lasker won the world championship against Wilhelm Steinitz (next on our list) in 1894. Lasker’s rivals such as Dr. Siegbert Tarrasch, who some consider to be the most influential teachers of chess in the late 19th and early 20th century criticized him of defeating an old man, so Lasker did what all true champions do. He beat Steinitz in a rematch in 1896, then Marshall and Schlecter, his most challenging opponents along with Tarrasch, who then blamed his loss on bad weather (tch!). The outbreak of the World War one put an end to any further chess world championship games, and Lasker was finally defeated by Jose Raul Capablanca in 1921 at the age of 53, putting the end to Lasker’s impressive 27-year winning streak. Lasker was considered to be a naturally brilliant chess player and many Russian grandmasters consider him as a major influence in the development of their game.
Wilhelm Steinitz – Austria
Though Steinitz reigned as world champion for only eight years from 1886 to 1894, his contributions to the game and more specifically in the development in modern-day chess is why he makes it to our list of the greatest chess players ever. In 1873, before his championship wins, Steinitz developed a new positioning style which differed significantly from the one that was being used at the time. Though controversial, by the 1890s, his new style was being practiced by next generation chess players, and was widely considered to be far more superior than what was previously being used. Though living in Austria, Steinitz had to move to the US to escape the merciless criticism, due to being a prolific writer on chess, whose commentaries and articles aroused heated debates, famously known as “The Ink Wars.” Steinitz spoke of retiring, but changed his mind when challenged by Emanuel Lasker, who was 32 years younger. Steinitz ruled the chess world for 30 years, which is a feat unmatched by any other chess grandmaster.
Deep Blue – IBM
And finally, we have a computer called “Deep Blue” which was designed to play Chess. Back in the early 90s, Russia had a formidable World Chess Champion in Garry Kasparov. Deep Blue actually competed against Kasparov in a 6-game match, won two, drew three and lost one in a match that shocked the world as it was the first time a computer was able to outthink and outmaneuver a human. While Kasparov didn’t buy it, and accused IBM of cheating, those allegations were denied by IBM. The enrages Russian chess grandmaster challenged IBM to a rematch, but the Deep Blue was dismantled, so we will never know who would win the second time machine and man competed on a game of Chess. But, that doesn’t take away the fact that Deep Blue was truly a unique machine and deserves a mention on this list.