Chess world champions
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The split in the world championship continued until the reunification match in ; however, the compromises required in order to achieve reunification had effects that lasted until the match.
After reunification, FIDE retains the right to organize the world championship match, stabilizing to a two-year cycle. The first match proclaimed by the players as for the world championship was the match that Wilhelm Steinitz won against Johannes Zukertort in However, a line of players regarded as the strongest or at least the most famous in the world extends back hundreds of years beyond them, and these players are sometimes considered the world champions of their time.
Something resembling a world championship match was the La Bourdonnais - McDonnell chess matches in , in which La Bourdonnais played a series of six matches — and 85 games — against the Irishman Alexander McDonnell.
The idea of a world champion goes back at least to , when a columnist in Fraser's Magazine wrote, "To whom is destined the marshal's baton when La Bourdonnais throws it down, and what country will furnish his successor?
At present de La Bourdonnais, like Alexander the Great , is without heir, and there is room to fear the empire may be divided eventually under a number of petty kings.
After La Bourdonnais' death in December ,  Englishman Howard Staunton 's match victory over another Frenchman, Pierre Charles Fournier de Saint-Amant , in is considered to have established Staunton as the world's strongest player.
The first known proposal that a contest should be defined in advance as being for recognition as the world's best player was by Ludwig Bledow in a letter to von der Lasa , written in and published in the Deutsche Schachzeitung in The London tournament was won by the German Adolf Anderssen , establishing Anderssen as the leading player in the world.
Anderssen was himself decisively defeated in an match against the American Paul Morphy , after which Morphy was toasted across the chess-playing world as the world chess champion.
Morphy played matches against several leading players, crushing them all. Stanley was uncertain about whether to describe the Morphy— Harrwitz match as being for the world championship.
Finding no takers, he abruptly retired from chess the following year, but many considered him the world champion until his death in His sudden withdrawal from chess at his peak led to his being known as "the pride and sorrow of chess".
This left Anderssen again as possibly the world's strongest active player, a reputation he reinforced by winning the strong London chess tournament.
Wilhelm Steinitz narrowly defeated Anderssen in an match, which some commentators consider the first "official" world championship match.
In , Johannes Zukertort won the Paris chess tournament though Steinitz did not play , and later won the London chess tournament by a convincing 3 point margin, ahead of nearly every leading player in the world, including Steinitz.
Graham Burgess lists Philidor, de la Bourdonnais, Staunton, and Morphy as players who were acclaimed as the greatest players of their time Burgess The championship was conducted on a fairly informal basis through the remainder of the 19th century and in the first half of the 20th: If he won, he would become the new champion.
There was no formal system of qualification. However, it is generally considered that the system did on the whole produce champions who were the strongest players of their day.
Wilhelm Steinitz ' reign is notable for: There is no evidence that Steinitz claimed the title for himself immediately after winning a match against Adolf Anderssen in , although in his International Chess Magazine September and April he claimed to have been the champion since The Irish Times 6 March argued that Steinitz had forfeited the title by prolonged absence from competitive chess and therefore Zukertort should be regarded as champion.
The Chess Player's Chronicle 18 July made a more complex argument: In the American Chess Congress started work on drawing up regulations for the future conduct of world championship contests.
Steinitz supported this endeavor, as he thought he was becoming too old to remain world champion. The proposal evolved through many forms as Steinitz pointed out, such a project had never been undertaken before , and resulted in the New York tournament to select a challenger for Steinitz, rather like the more recent Candidates Tournaments.
The tournament was duly played, but the outcome was not quite as planned: Mikhail Chigorin and Max Weiss tied for first place; their play-off resulted in four draws; and neither wanted to play a match against Steinitz — Chigorin had just lost to him, and Weiss wanted to get back to his work for the Rothschild Bank.
The third prizewinner Isidore Gunsberg was prepared to play Steinitz for the title in New York, and Steinitz won their match in — Lasker was the first champion after Steinitz; although he did not defend his title in — or —20, he did string together an impressive run of tournament victories and dominated his opponents.
His success was largely due to the fact that he was an excellent practical player. In difficult or objectively lost positions he would complicate matters and use his extraordinary tactical abilities to save the game.
He held the title from to , the longest reign 27 years of any champion. In that period he defended the title successfully in one-sided matches against Steinitz, Frank Marshall , Siegbert Tarrasch and Dawid Janowski , and was only seriously threatened in a tied match against Carl Schlechter.
Lasker's negotiations for title matches from onwards were extremely controversial. Capablanca objected to the two-game lead clause; Lasker took offence at the terms in which Capablanca criticized the two-game lead condition and broke off negotiations.
Further controversy arose when, in , Lasker's terms for a proposed match with Akiba Rubinstein included a clause that, if Lasker should resign the title after a date had been set for the match, Rubinstein should become world champion American Chess Bulletin , October Capablanca argued that, if the champion abdicated, the title must go to the challenger as any other arrangement would be unfair to the challenger British Chess Magazine , October Nonetheless Lasker agreed to play a match against Capablanca in , announcing that, if he won, he would resign the title so that younger masters could compete for it "Dr Lasker and the Championship" in American Chess Bulletin , September—October After the breakdown of his first attempt to negotiate a title match against Lasker , Capablanca drafted rules for the conduct of future challenges, which were agreed by the other top players at the Saint Petersburg tournament, including Lasker, and approved at the Mannheim Congress later that year.
The main points were: Following the controversies surrounding his match against Lasker, in world champion Capablanca proposed the "London Rules": The only match played under those rules was Capablanca vs Alekhine in , although there has been speculation that the actual contract might have included a "two-game lead" clause.
Before the match, almost nobody gave Alekhine a chance against the dominant Cuban , but Alekhine overcame Capablanca's natural skill with his unmatched drive and extensive preparation especially deep opening analysis, which became a hallmark of most future grandmasters.
The aggressive Alekhine was helped by his tactical skill, which complicated the game. Immediately after winning, Alekhine announced that he was willing to grant Capablanca a return match provided Capablanca met the requirements of the "London Rules".
In , Alekhine was unexpectedly defeated by the Dutch Max Euwe , an amateur player who worked as a mathematics teacher.
Alekhine convincingly won a rematch in World War II temporarily prevented any further world title matches, and Alekhine remained world champion until his death in Attempts to form an international chess federation were made at the time of the St.
Petersburg , Mannheim and Gothenburg Tournaments. FIDE's congresses in and expressed a desire to become involved in managing the world championship.
Alekhine agreed to place future matches for the world title under the auspices of FIDE, except that he would only play Capablanca under the same conditions that governed their match in Although FIDE wished to set up a "unification" match between Alekhine and Bogoljubow, it made little progress and the title "Champion of FIDE" quietly vanished after Alekhine won the world championship match that he and Bogoljubow themselves arranged.
While negotiating his World Championship rematch with Alekhine, Euwe proposed that if he retained the title FIDE should manage the nomination of future challengers and the conduct of championship matches.
FIDE had been trying since to introduce rules on how to select challengers, and its various proposals favored selection by some sort of committee.
While they were debating procedures in and Alekhine and Euwe were preparing for their rematch later that year, the Royal Dutch Chess Federation proposed that a super-tournament AVRO of ex-champions and rising stars should be held to select the next challenger.
FIDE rejected this proposal and at their second attempt nominated Salo Flohr as the official challenger. Euwe then declared that: Most chess writers and players strongly supported the Dutch super-tournament proposal and opposed the committee processes favored by FIDE.
While this confusion went unresolved: Before a new World Champion had won the title by defeating the former champion in a match.
Alexander Alekhine 's death created an interregnum that made the normal procedure impossible. The situation was very confused, with many respected players and commentators offering different solutions.
FIDE found it very difficult to organize the early discussions on how to resolve the interregnum because problems with money and travel so soon after the end of World War II prevented many countries from sending representatives.
The shortage of clear information resulted in otherwise responsible magazines publishing rumors and speculation, which only made the situation more confused.
But the Soviet Union realized it could not afford to be left out of the discussions about the vacant world championship, and in sent a telegram apologizing for the absence of Soviet representatives and requesting that the USSR be represented in future FIDE Committees.
The AVRO tournament had brought together the eight players who were, by general acclamation, the best players in the world at the time.
However, FIDE soon accepted a Soviet request to substitute Vasily Smyslov for Flohr, and Fine dropped out in order to continue his degree studies in psychology , so only five players competed.
Botvinnik won convincingly and thus became world champion, ending the interregnum. The proposals which led to the Championship Tournament also specified the procedure by which challengers for the World Championship would be selected in a three-year cycle: The FIDE system followed its design through five cycles: A defeated champion would have the right to a return match.
FIDE also limited the number of players from the same country that could compete in the Candidates Tournament , on the grounds that it would reduce Soviet dominance of the tournament.
Averbakh claimed that this was to Botvinnik's advantage as it reduced the number of Soviet players he might have to meet in the title match.
Thus Smyslov and Tal each held the world title for a year, but Botvinnik was world champion for rest of the time from to The return match clause was not in place for the cycle.
Tigran Petrosian won the Candidates and then defeated Botvinnik in to become world champion. After the Candidates, Bobby Fischer publicly alleged that the Soviets had colluded to prevent any non-Soviet — specifically him — from winning.
He claimed that Petrosian, Efim Geller and Paul Keres had prearranged to draw all their games, and that Korchnoi had been instructed to lose to them.
Yuri Averbakh , who was head of the Soviet team, confirmed in that Petrosian, Geller and Keres arranged to draw all their games in order to save their energy for games against non-Soviet players,  and a statistical analysis in backed this up.
FIDE responded by changing the format of future Candidates Tournaments to eliminate the possibility of collusion. Beginning in the next cycle, —66, the round-robin tournament was replaced by a series of elimination matches.
Initially the quarter-finals and semifinals were best of 10 games, and the final was best of Fischer, however, refused to take part in the cycle, and dropped out of the cycle after a controversy at Interzonal in Sousse.
In the —72 cycle Fischer caused two more crises. This would have eliminated him from the —72 cycle, but Benko was persuaded to concede his place in the Interzonal to Fischer.
Even then Fischer raised difficulties, mainly over money. It took a phone call from United States Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and a doubling of the prize money by financier Jim Slater to persuade him to play.
An unbroken line of FIDE champions had thus been established from to , with each champion gaining his title by beating the previous incumbent.
This came to an end when Anatoly Karpov won the right to challenge Fischer in Fischer objected to the "best of 24 games" championship match format that had been used from onwards, claiming that it would encourage whoever got an early lead to play for draws.
Instead he demanded that the match should be won by whoever first won 10 games, except that if the score reached 9—9 he should remain champion.
He argued that this was more advantageous to the challenger than the champion's advantage under the existing system, where the champion retained the title if the match was tied at 12—12 including draws.
Fischer privately maintained that he was still World Champion. He went into seclusion and did not play chess in public again until , when he offered Spassky a rematch, again for the World Championship.
The Fischer—Spassky match attracted good media coverage, but the chess world did not take this claim to the championship seriously.
Karpov dominated the s and early s with an incredible string of tournament successes. He convincingly demonstrated that he was the strongest player in the world by defending his title twice against ex-Soviet Viktor Korchnoi , first in Baguio City in 6—5 with 21 draws then in Meran in 6—2, with 10 draws.
His " boa constrictor " style frustrated opponents, often causing them to lash out and err. This allowed him to bring the full force of his Botvinnik-learned dry technique both Karpov and Kasparov were students at Botvinnik's school against them, grinding his way to victory.
He eventually lost his title to Garry Kasparov , whose aggressive tactical style was in sharp contrast to Karpov's positional style.
In the five matches Kasparov and Karpov played games with draws, 21 wins by Kasparov and 19 wins by Karpov. In , Nigel Short broke the domination of the two K's Kasparov and Karpov by defeating Karpov in the candidates semifinals followed by Jan Timman in the finals, thereby earning the right to challenge Kasparov for the title.
Kasparov defeated Short while Karpov beat Timman, and for the first time in history there were two World Chess Champions. Kasparov and Karpov both won their respective cycles.
Negotiations were held for a reunification match between Kasparov and Karpov in —97, but nothing came of them.
The Armenian chess Grandmaster had an especially successful year in He lived in Germany for several years and played for the German Chess Organization.
Although Aronian has already held the title in the area of Blitz Chess, the official World Chess Champion title is not yet one he holds.
At the Candidates Tournament for the World Chess Championship in , Caruana, born in , was at the head of the pack, second behind Sergej Karjakin.
Directly following the Candidates Tournament in , he goes head-to-head with reigning champion Carlsen at the Grenke Chess Classics.
Blitz Chess is a style of game during which each player has just 15 minutes to consider their moves. Grischuk, born in in Moscow, has won the championship twice.
The duo delivered a long, exciting tournament, as Carlsen was surprisingly unable to take the lead quickly. A showdown in the last round was what decided the outcome — delivering Carlsen a win on his 26th birthday.
He was only eight when he first won at an adult tournament. In , however, the Russian genius was delivered a spectacular loss against the "Deep Blue" computer.
He has met Carlsen at numerous tournaments since — and usually goes home with a loss. Ding Liren is the first Chinese person to have qualified for the Candidates Tournament.
The Azerbaijani Mamadeyarov comes from a family of chess talents. Born in , the Grandmaster has two sisters who have both won the title of Woman Grandmaster.
His native Azerbaijan has a long chess tradition and supports up-and-coming talents, something they are clearly quite successful at. The most famous of these talents is Garry Kasparov.
Although representing the US Chess Federation, So does not need to hold citizenship to represent the country.
Lasker became World Chess Champion in and retained the title 27 years — longer than anyone else to date. The mathematician and philosopher is also the only German among the world champions.
To commemorate him on the year of his th birthday, coming up on December 24, the German Chess Federation and the Emanuel Lasker Association call for a Lasker Year in Eight world class chess players compete from March 10 to March 28, The winner of this tournament will challenge current World Chess Champion, Norway's Magnus Carlsen, in November at the chess world championships in London.