Anyone who’s ever played chess or even just dabbled in the game knows about the importance of a strong chess player. The best chess players in history have helped shape the world we live in and have even influenced wars.
So, to find out which chess players are truly the best of all time, we’ve compiled a list of twelve of them. From world champion Garry Kasparov to grandmaster Viswanathan Anand, these players have left an indelible mark on the game of chess.
Best Chess Players in The History of Chess – 2024 Rankings
Here is the list of top rankings of best chess players in History.
12. Emanuel Lasker
Known for his relentless attacking style, Emanuel Lasker was a difficult opponent to beat. He won many prestigious tournaments and was extremely consistent in his play. With a record like that, it’s no wonder he is considered one of the best chess players.
Died young at only 39 years old, leaving behind an indelible legacy as one of the most celebrated chess players of all time.
11. José Raúl Capablanca
José Raúl Capablanca was a truly iconic figure in the world of chess. He is credited with inventing modern chess and held world championships in both chess and Checkers Called “the world’s Best Chess Player“ by many, he was a master of the game who set numerous records and won countless tournaments.
Sadly, Capablanca died in 1941 but his legacy lives on through players like Magnus Carlsen – one of today’s best-known players – who continue to learn from him and explore new ways to play the game. A prolific writer as well, Capablanca published over 50 books on Chess throughout his lifetime.
10. Alexander Alekhine
Alexander is one of the best chess players, with an impressive record that includes five world championship titles. He was a formidable opponent, known for his lightning-fast moves and comprehensive game knowledge.
His rivalry with World Champion Emanuel Lasker is legendary and remains one of the most exciting matches in chess history. A chess enthusiast himself, Alekhine has left an indelible mark on the game we all love – an impression that will last long into future centuries.
9. Mikhail Botvinnik
Mikhail Botvinnik was an impressive chess player and one of the greatest ever. His strategies for developing pawn structures and combinations are still used by top players today. He was a master of defense, often winning games by checkmate or forced resignation.
Needless to say, he never lost a game at the World Chess Championship – making him one of the most successful chess players in history!
8. Mikhail Tal
Tal is without a doubt one of the greatest chess players of all time. He has an astonishing record of winning against lower-ranked opponents, something that very few can boast about!
His rapid chess play has influenced many modern-day chess players. Ranked number one for a record-breaking thirty years, Mikhail Tal must be regarded as an ultimate champion in the world of chess.
7. Bobby Fischer
Bobby Fischer is without a doubt one of the greatest chess players of all time. He dominated the world stage for many years and won numerous titles, most notably the World Chess Championship five times.
His strategic genius was unrivaled and he always seemed to know what was going on. Playing chess can be a very intellectual experience that lets you explore your tactical skills as well as your strategic thinking.
6. Anatoly Karpov
Anatoly Karpov is one of the most celebrated chess players of all time. As a world champion for over 20 years, he was known for his strategic play and never-give-up attitude in tournaments. His memoirs, published after his death, are an insightful read for any chess fan!
5. Garry Kasparov
Garry Kasparov is a world-champion chess player and one of the most celebrated chess players of all time. Retired from professional chess in 2005 after beating Vladimir Kramnik in a match that lasted twelve games. He was known for his strategic brilliance and rapid gameplay.
4. Vladimir Kramnik
Vladimir Kramnik is a chess grandmaster and one of the world’s greatest players. He has won numerous tournaments and championships throughout his long career, making him an indisputable champion.
Kramnik was born in the Soviet Union in 1967 and now resides in Russia. Known for his strategic play as well as his ability to outsmart opponents with deft moves, he has been called “the greatest chess player of all time”.
3. Judit Polgár
Judit Polgár is a world-class chess player and one of the greatest ever. Her achievements over an illustrious career include winning numerous international tournaments, holding many world records, and inspiring others to greatness.
Even at an early age, she showed great promise as a chess player and continues to inspire others with her skills today. Her style of play was unique—arousing both aggression and calculated moves—resulting in her being known as “the queen of attacking chess”. Want to read about top female chess Players?
2. Viswanathan Anand
Viswanathan Anand is an Indian chess grandmaster and one of the greatest players of all time. He was born to play chess, having an IQ of 168 which makes him one of the smartest people in the world.
Anand has a record of seven World Chess Championships titles, making him considered by many a genius. His playing style relies heavily on calculating moves – which has earned him the nickname “The Genius”.
1. Magnus Carlsen
Magnus Carlsen is an incredible chess player who has a record that speaks for itself. He was born in Norway in 1994 and started playing chess at the age of four. His meteoric rise to fame began when he won the world championship title in 2013 at just 21 years old!
Since then, he has consistently produced world-class performances, winning multiple other top tournaments along the way. A genius on the chessboard as well as off it – this champion will surely leave an indelible mark on history!
Grand Vizier Sissa Ben Dahir is said to have invented chess, which was then presented to King Shirham of India as a gift. The king was so happy that he promised him whatever he wanted, as long as it seemed fair to him.
GM Magnus Carlsen is the current world chess champion. Although GMs Garry Kasparov and Bobby Fischer continue to be discussed, he is considered by many people the finest player to have ever played the game.
On Monday, in the fifth round of the Classical portion of the Norway Chess tournament, Indian Grandmaster Viswanathan Anand returned to winning form by defeating World No 1, Magnus Carlsen.
Fischer was defeated in round one of the 1962/63 US Championship by Edmar Mednis. In a US Championship, it was his first defeat.
From world-champion grandmaster chess players to prodigies who have just entered the professional chess world, these are the best chess players of all time. Take a look at their stories and learn about the strategies and techniques that have made them some of the world’s best players.