VishyAnand09Here are three chess players you should know. There are too many famous chess players to mention, so I’ll limit myself to three. See my article on World Chess Champions for an overview of all previous World Champions.


World Champion: Viswanathan Anand

Dubbed the Fastest Brain in the World, Indian Grandmaster Anand is known for his amazing calculating ability. He is universally liked by chess players due to his modest, unassuming character and his refrain from political and psychological ploys.  His likeableness is evidenced by the fact that Vladimir Kramnik, Garry Kasparov and Magnus Carlsen, all rivals for the World Championship throughout Anand’s career, each helped him in preparing for the World Chess Championship 2010. Kavalek has also described Anand as the most versatile World Champion, having won in a variety of formats including Tournament, Knockout, Rapid, Match and Blitz.

Anand was FIDE World Champion from 2000 to 2002. He became the undisputed World Champion in 2007 by winning the World Championship tournament. He has since successfully defended his title against Kramnik in 2008 and Topalov in 2010.

MCarlsenWorld No. 1: Magnus Carlsen

You may be asking, “What?! Why isn’t the World Champion the number 1?” Well, in an ideal system the World Champion would also be the highest ranked player, but for whatever reason, there is a lack of unification between the two at the moment. Nevertheless, Anand’s number 2 ranking is not far off.

The number 1 ranked player is Magnus Carlsen, a Norwegian chess prodigy. Becoming a grandmaster at the age of 13 back in 2004 and first achieving the number 1 position in January 2010, Carlsen’s rise has been meteoric. Carlsen is said to be a universal player, although Garry Kasparov (see below), who has coached him in recent times, has repeatedly noted that he has a positional style. To describe a ‘positional style’ to those who are not familiar, imagine not a person who uses aggression and sharp tactics to defeat his opponents, but an anaconda who slowly, typically over a long period of time, squeezes the life out of his opponents.

Garry Kasparov 1980 MaltaWidely considered the greatest player of all time: Garry Kasparov

Garry Kasparov was the 13th World Champion, who carried a very potent combination of insane talent mixed with a work ethic that was unmatched by other chess players. Known for his aggresive, uncompromising style, his rating achievements include being rated world number 1 according to FIDE rating almost continuously from 1986 until his retirement in 2005 and holding the all-time highest rating of 2851. He held the highest ranking for 255 months, nearly three times as long as his predecessor.

Note: All ranking/championship title information is believed to be correct at the time of writing.

Last edited: July 8, 2011

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