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The World Chess Championship is played to determine the world champion in chess. Since , the schedule has settled on a two-year cycle with a championship held in every even year. Magnus Carlsen has been world champion since he defeated Viswanathan Anand in He successfully defended the title in , and , and is next due to defend the title in late The official world championship is generally regarded to have begun in , when the two leading players in the world, Wilhelm Steinitz and Johann Zukertort , played a match, which was won by Steinitz.

Who Was The Best World Chess Champion In History?‎

From to , the champion set the terms, requiring any challenger to raise a sizable stake and defeat the champion in a match in order to become the new world champion. Though the world championship is open to all players, there are separate events and titles for the Women's World Chess Championship , the World Junior Chess Championship for players under 20 years of age, though there are younger age events also , and the World Senior Chess Championship for men above 60 years of age, and women above The World Computer Chess Championship is open to computer chess programs and hardware.

The concept of a world chess champion started to emerge in the first half of the 19th century, and the phrase "world champion" appeared in From this time onwards various players were acclaimed as world champions, but the first contest that was defined in advance as being for the world championship was the match between Steinitz and Zukertort in Until world championship contests were matches arranged privately between the players. As a result, the players also had to arrange the funding, in the form of stakes provided by enthusiasts who wished to bet on one of the players.

In the early 20th century this was sometimes a barrier that prevented or delayed challenges for the title. Between and various difficulties that arose in match negotiations led players to try to define agreed rules for matches, including the frequency of matches, how much or how little say the champion had in the conditions for a title match and what the stakes and division of the purse should be. However these attempts were unsuccessful in practice, as the same issues continued to delay or prevent challenges.

The first attempt by an external organization to manage the world championship was in —, but this experiment was not repeated. A system for managing regular contests for the title went into operation in , under the control of FIDE , and functioned quite smoothly until However, in that year reigning champion Kasparov and challenger Short were so dissatisfied with FIDE's arrangements for their match that they set up a break-away organization. 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 before 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's death in December , [3] 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.

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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 a player thought he was strong enough, he or his friends would find financial backing for a match purse and challenge the reigning world champion.

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 's reign is notable for: the first recorded suggestion that a world champion could forfeit the title by declining a credible challenge or by prolonged absence from competition; the first recorded instance of a disputed world championship; the first actual contest that was defined in advance as being for the world championship Bledow's proposal came to nothing ; the first attempt to regulate contests for the world championship; debates about whether the championship should be decided by a match or a tournament; and differences between commentators about when his reign began, which persist to the present day.

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: other commentators had suggested that Zukertort should be regarded as champion because he had won a major tournament London , 3 points ahead of Steinitz [29] ; the Chronicle thought tournaments were an unreliable way of deciding the championship and Steinitz's victories in matches gave him the better claim; but, if Zukertort were the champion, he should forfeit the title if he declined a challenge, especially from a challenger with Steinitz's credentials, and in that case the title should revert to Steinitz.

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 —, he did string together an impressive run of tournament victories and dominated his opponents.

Bobby Fischer vs Garry Kasparov - The Chess Time Machine

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 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 Before world championship matches were financed by arrangements similar to those Emanuel Lasker described for his match with Wilhelm Steinitz : either the challenger or both players, with the assistance of financial backers, would contribute to a purse ; about half would be distributed to the winner's backers, and the winner would receive the larger share of the remainder the loser's backers got nothing.

The players had to meet their own travel, accommodation, food and other expenses out of their shares of the purse. Up to and including the Steinitz—Lasker match, both players, with their backers, generally contributed equally to the purse, following the custom of important matches in the 19th century before there was a generally recognized world champion. This requirement makes arranging world championship matches more difficult, for example: Marshall challenged Lasker in but could not raise the money until ; [41] in Lasker and Rubinstein agreed in principle to a world championship match, but this was never played as Rubinstein could not raise the money.

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. 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: Euwe lost his title to Alekhine; the AVRO tournament in was won by Paul Keres under a tie-breaking rule, with Reuben Fine placed second and Capablanca and Flohr in the bottom places; and the outbreak of World War II in cut short the controversy.

Before a new World Champion had won the title by defeating the former champion in a match. Alexander Alekhine 's death in 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.

From Morphy To Fischer: A History Of The World Chess Championship

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: countries affiliated to FIDE would send players to Zonal Tournaments the number varied depending on how many good enough players each country had ; the players who gained the top places in these would compete in an Interzonal Tournament later split into two and then three tournaments as the number of countries and eligible players increased [52] ; the highest-placed players from the Interzonal would compete in the Candidates Tournament , along with whoever lost the previous title match and the second-placed competitor in the previous Candidates Tournament three years earlier; and the winner of the Candidates played a title match against the champion.

The FIDE system followed its design through five cycles: —, —, —, — and — 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, [55] 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, —, the round-robin tournament was replaced by a series of elimination matches. Initially the quarter-finals and semi-finals 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 — cycle Fischer caused two more crises.

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This would have eliminated him from the — 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.

Who Was The Best World Chess Champion In History? -

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 semi-finals 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.

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Riddled with errors, on all matters, even some unrelated to chess. After game 22, Petrosian hit 12 points and thus retained the title, but there was no winner to the match yet because he hadn't reached This didn't happen until the draw in game It wasn't "then decided" to play on; match rules required them to play on. Hardly "his best form. Errors like these two just make Horowitz look foolish. But, wait, there's more There are many many more. These are just the ones I was able to find quickly in going back through the book. Jason Slemons rated it really liked it Sep 30, Chesshistorian rated it it was ok Mar 09, Steven Vaughan-Nichols rated it liked it Jul 01, Webone marked it as to-read Sep 19,