Keyword Q&A
[ Chess Champions ]


Keyword Query: Chess Champions
Interpretation:
You want to know who have been the top Chess players ... Who were the best of the best?

The following is a list of Champions of World Chess. They're listed here in order of when they first  won a major World title, starting with the most recent, all the way back to the first Undisputed World Champion (way back in 1886).

Competitive Chess is dominated by men. However, that's not to say that women haven't had a go - far from it, and they'll calculate most men off the board, any day of the week:


Jump to:
Mens Champions | Womens Champions

Mens Chess Champion #18

KQA - Chess Players - Chess Champions - Vladimir Kramnik
Player
Vladimir Kramnik

Country
Russia

Championship Winning Years
2006-2007

Details
Became the Classical World Chess Champion, in 2000, after beating Garry Kasparov. While, from 2006-2007, he was the undisputed World Chess Champion.

Wikipedia Page
Vladimir Kramnik

Mens Chess Champion #17

KQA - Chess Players - Chess Champions - Veselin Topalov
Player
Veselin Topalov

Country
Bulgaria

Championship Winning Years
2005-2006

Details
Won the FIDE World Chess Championship in 2005 and was ranked World #1 between April 2006 and January 2007.

Wikipedia Page
Veselin Topalov

Mens Chess Champion #16

KQA - Chess Players - Chess Champions - Rustam Kasimdzhanov
Player
Rustam Kasimdzhanov

Country
Uzbekistan

Championship Winning Years
2004-2005

Details
Claimed the 2004 FIDE World Chess Championship title by defeating Garry Kasparov. in a 6-match game, featuring two rapid-play tie-break games.

Wikipedia Page
Rustam Kasimdzhanov

Mens Chess Champion #15

KQA - Chess Players - Chess Champions - Ruslan Ponomariov
Player
Ruslan Ponomariov

Country
Ukraine

Championship Winning Years
2002-2004

Details
Played and defeated Vassily Ivanchuk, a fellow Ukranian, in the 2002 final, thus became FIDE World Chess Champion, becoming the youngest player to hold that title, aged 18 years old.

Wikipedia Page
Ruslan Ponomariov

Mens Chess Champion #14

KQA - Chess Players - Chess Champions - Viswanathan Anand
Player
Viswanathan Anand

Country
India

Championship Winning Years
2000-2002, 2007-2010

Details
Holder of two World titles - first, the FIDE World Chess Championship title, between 2000-2002. Then, in 2007, he became the undisputed World Champion.

Wikipedia Page
Viswanathan Anand

Mens Chess Champion #13

KQA - Chess Players - Chess Champions - Alexander Khalifman
Player
Alexander Khalifman

Country
Russia

Championship Winning Years
1999-2000

Details
In 1972, from the age of 6, Khalifman was taught to play chess by his father. 27 years later, in 1999, Khalifman defeated Vladimir Akopian, becoming FIDE World Chess Champion.

Wikipedia Page
Alexander Khalifman

Mens Chess Champion #12

KQA - Chess Players - Chess Champions - Garry Kasparov
Player
Garry Kasparov

Country
Russia & USSR (Azerbaijan)

Championship Winning Years
1985-1993

Details
Garry Kasparov is one of the most recognizable Chess players throughout the world. Aged just 22, he became the youngest ever undisputed World Chess Champion, in 1985.

Wikipedia Page
Garry Kasparov

Mens Chess Champion #11

KQA - Chess Players - Chess Champions - Anatoly Karpov
Player
Anatoly Karpov

Country
Russia

Championship Winning Years
1975-1985, 1993-1999

Details
Karpov was Official World Champion between 1975-1985, finally losing his title to Garry Kasparov, only to regain it from Kasparov, in 1993, which he held till 1999.

Wikipedia Page
Anatoly Karpov

Mens Chess Champion #10

KQA - Chess Players - Chess Champions - Bobby Fischer
Player
Bobby Fischer

Country
USA

Championship Winning Years
1972-1975

Details
Legend. At age 13, he won a match that went on to become known as "The Game of the Century". He beat Boris Spassky in 1972, to become World Champion.

Wikipedia Page
Bobby Fischer

Mens Chess Champion #9

KQA - Chess Players - Chess Champions - Boris Spassky
Player
Boris Spassky

Country
USSR (Russia)

Championship Winning Years
1969-1972

Details
Was a candidate for the World Chess Championship on seven occasions between 1956 and 1985. during which he did become World Champion, in 1969 and held the title for 3 years.

Wikipedia Page
Boris Spassky

Mens Chess Champion #8

KQA - Chess Players - Chess Champions - Tigran Petrosian
Player
Tigran Petrosian

Country
USSR (Armenia)

Championship Winning Years
1963-1969

Details
World Championship candidate on eight occasions between 1953 and 1980.
He became the World Champion in 1963; defended it against Spassky, in 1966 and lost it - to Spassky - in 1969.

Wikipedia Page
Tigran Petrosian

Mens Chess Champion #8

KQA - Chess Players - Chess Champions - Mikhail Tal
Player
Mikhail Tal

Country
USSR (Latvia)

Championship Winning Years
1960-1961

Details
Dubbed "The magician from Riga", for his plucky combinational style. Aged 23, Tal defeated Mikhail Botvinnik to become World Champion, in 1960.

Wikipedia Page
Mikhail Tal

Mens Chess Champion #7

KQA - Chess Players - Chess Champions - Vasily Smyslov
Player
Vasily Smyslov

Country
USSR (Russia)

Championship Winning Years
1957-1958

Details
World Chess Champion between 1957-1958, beating Mikhail Bottvinik. World Championship candidate on eight occasions, between 1948-1985.
Amassed an all-time record haul of 17 Chess Olympiad medals.

Wikipedia Page
Vasily Smyslov

Mens Chess Champion #6

KQA - Chess Players - Chess Champions - Mikhail Botvinnik
Player
Mikhail Botvinnik

Country
USSR (Russia)

Championship Winning Years
1948-1957, 1958-1960, 1961-1963

Details
Not only winner of the World Championship on three seperate occasions, Botvinnik helped design and organize the World Chess Championship system, post World War II.

Wikipedia Page
Mikhail Botvinnik

Mens Chess Champion #5

KQA - Chess Players - Chess Champions - Max Euwe
Player
Max Euwe

Country
Netherlands

Championship Winning Years
1935-1937

Details
Euwe, a Dutch Mathematician and former president of FIDE (1970-1978), was the 5th player to claim the title of World Chess Champion, beating Alexander Alekhine in 1935, which he held for 2 years.

Wikipedia Page
Max Euwe

Mens Chess Champion #4

KQA - Chess Players - Chess Champions - Alexander Alekhine
Player
Alexander Alekhine

Country
France & Russia

Championship Winning Years
1927-1935, 1937-1946

Details
Defeated Jose Raul Capablanca, in 1927, to land the first of his two stints as World Champion. At the time, Capablanca was considered by many to be invincible.

Wikipedia Page
Alexander Alekhine

Mens Chess Champion #3

KQA - Chess Players - Chess Champions - Jose Raul Capablanca
Player
Jose Raul Capablanca

Country
Cuba

Championship Winning Years
1921-1927

Details
So good, his peers called him the "Human Chess Machine". Capablanca claimed the World Champion title by agreement, when Emanuel Lasker resigned and declared Capablanca the Champion, due to his "brilliant mastery".

Wikipedia Page
Jose Raul Capablanca

Mens Chess Champion #2

KQA - Chess Players - Chess Champions - Emanuel Lasker
Player
Emanuel Lasker

Country
Germany

Championship Winning Years
1894-1921

Details
Known as being the 2nd World Chess Champion, holding the title for 27 years. Reputed to use a 'psychological' approach to the game. Some say he deliberately played inferior moves to dupe his opponents.

Wikipedia Page
Emanuel Lasker

Mens Chess Champion #1

KQA - Chess Players - Chess Champions - Wilhelm Steinitz
Player
Wilhelm Steinitz

Country
Austro-Hungarian Empire

Championship Winning Years
1886-1894

Details
Steinitz takes the recognition for being the first ever, undisputed World Chess Champion. Prior to Steinitz, all previous World Championships weren't regarded as 'official sporting events'.

Wikipedia Page
Wilhelm Steinitz

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Mens Champions | Womens Champions

Womens Chess Champion #12

KQA - Chess Players - Chess Champions - Alexandra Kosteniuk
Player
Alexandra Kosteniuk

Country
Russia

Championship Winning Years
2008-2010

Details
Born 1984. Learned to play chess at the age of 5 (taught by her father). Won the Women's World Chess Championship, in 2008, having reached the final once before, in 2001, but didn't win.

Wikipedia Page
Alexandra Kosteniuk

Womens Chess Champion #11

KQA - Chess Players - Chess Champions - Xu Yuhua
Player
Xu Yuhua

Country
China

Championship Winning Years
2006-2008

Details
Defeated Russian IM Alisa Galliamova, in 2006, to become Women's World Chess Champion.

Wikipedia Page
Xu Yuhua (chess player)

Womens Chess Champion #10

KQA - Chess Players - Chess Champions - Antoaneta Stefanova
Player
Antoaneta Stefanova

Country
Bulgaria

Championship Winning Years
2004-2006

Details
Born in 1979. As a four year old, Stefanova's father spotted her interest in Chess and began to teach her. In 2004, she became Women's World Chess Champion.

Wikipedia Page
Antoaneta Stefanova

Womens Chess Champion #9

KQA - Chess Players - Chess Champions - Zhu Chen
Player
Zhu Chen

Country
China

Championship Winning Years
2001-2004

Details
In 2001, Shu Chen became China's second Women's World Chess Champion, following in the footsteps of Xie Jun.

Wikipedia Page
Zhu Chen

Womens Chess Champion #8

KQA - Chess Players - Chess Champions - Susan Polgar
Player
Susan Polgar

Country
Hungary / United States

Championship Winning Years
1996-1999

Details
In 1985, Susan Polgar was FIDE's top-ranked woman chess player in the world, (age 15). Became Women's World Chess Champion in 1996 and held the title for three years.

Wikipedia Page
Susan Polgar

Womens Chess Champion #7

KQA - Chess Players - Chess Champions - Xie Jun
Player
Xie Jun

Country
China

Championship Winning Years
1991-1996, 1999-2001

Details
Holds the distinction of being only the second woman, after Elisabeth Bykova (below), to reign as Women's World Chess Champion for two seperate occasions.

Wikipedia Page
Xie Jun

Womens Chess Champion #6

KQA - Chess Players - Chess Champions - Maia Chiburdanidze
Player
Maia Chiburdanidze

Country
USSR (Georgia)

Championship Winning Years
1978-1991

Details
Defeated Nona Gaprindashvili, in 1978, to become Women's World Chess Champion. Also notable as the only chess player ever to win nine Chess Olympiads.

Wikipedia Page
Maia Chiburdanidze

Womens Chess Champion #5

KQA - Chess Players - Chess Champions - Nona Gaprindashvili
Player
Nona Gaprindashvili

Country
USSR (Georgia)

Championship Winning Years
1962-1978

Details
Played against Elisabeth Bykova, in 1961, and beat her to become Women's World Chess Champion. Heralded as the strongest female player of her generation.

Wikipedia Page
Nona Gaprindashvili

Womens Chess Champion #4

KQA - Chess Players - Chess Champions - Olga Rubtsova
Player
Olga Rubtsova

Country
USSR (Russia)

Championship Winning Years
1956-1958

Details
After finishing second, behind Lyudmila Rudenko, in the 1950 World Championship, Rubstova became the Women's World Chess Champion in 1958; this time, Rudenko finished behind her.

Wikipedia Page
Olga Rubtsova

Womens Chess Champion #3

KQA - Chess Players - Chess Champions - Elisabeth Bykova
Player
Elisabeth Bykova

Country
USSR (Russia)

Championship Winning Years
1953-1956, 1958-1962

Details
First of only two women to hold the World Championship title, for female players, on two seperate occasions. Her first title was secured against Lyudmila Rudenko, in 1953.

Wikipedia Page
Elisabeth Bykova

Womens Chess Champion #2

KQA - Chess Players - Chess Champions - Lyudmila Rudenko
Player
Lyudmila Rudenko

Country
USSR (Ukraine)

Championship Winning Years
1950-1953

Details
Became the second Women's World Chess Champion, in 1950 following a specially arranged tournament to find a new female World Champion, after Vera Menchik's death during World War II.

Wikipedia Page
Lyudmila Rudenko

Womens Chess Champion #1

KQA - Chess Players - Chess Champions - Vera Menchik
Player
Vera Menchik

Country
USSR (Russia), British-Czech

Championship Winning Years
1927-1944

Details
Became the first ever Women's World Chess Champion, in 1927 and only lost one game during the 6 subsequent attempts by other players, to defeat her. Notable for beating World Champion Max Euwe. She died in an air-raid, during World War II, in 1944.

Wikipedia Page
Vera Menchik

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