Comparison of top chess players throughout history

Several methods have been suggested for comparing the greatest chess players in history. There is agreement on a statistical system to rate the strengths of current players, called the Elo system, but disagreement about methods used to compare players from different generations who never competed against each other.

Statistical methods edit

Elo system edit

The best-known statistical method was devised by Arpad Elo in 1960 and elaborated on in his 1978 book The Rating of Chessplayers, Past and Present.[1] He gave ratings to players corresponding to their performance over the best five-year span of their career. According to this system the highest ratings achieved were:

Though published in 1978, Elo's list did not include five-year averages for later players Bobby Fischer and Anatoly Karpov. It did list January 1978 ratings of 2780 for Fischer and 2725 for Karpov.[2]

In 1970, FIDE adopted Elo's system for rating current players, so one way to compare players of different eras is to compare their Elo ratings. The best-ever Elo ratings are tabulated below. As of September 2023, there are 133 chess players in history who broke 2700, and 14 of them exceeded 2800.

Table of top 20 rated players of all-time, with date their best ratings were first achieved
Rank Rating Player Date Age
011 2882 Magnus Carlsen 2014-05May 2014 23 years, 5 months
022 2851 Garry Kasparov 1999-07July 1999 36 years, 2 months
033 2844 Fabiano Caruana 2014-10October 2014 22 years, 2 months
044 2830 Levon Aronian 2014-03March 2014 31 years, 4 months
055 2822 Wesley So 2017-02February 2017 23 years, 3 months
066 2820 Shakhriyar Mamedyarov 2018-09September 2018 33 years, 4 months
077 2819 Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 2016-08 August 2016 25 years, 9 months
088 (tie) 2817 Viswanathan Anand 2011-03March 2011 41 years, 2 months
088 (tie) 2817 Vladimir Kramnik 2016-10October 2016 41 years, 3 months
1010 (tie) 2816 Veselin Topalov 2015–07July 2015 40 years, 3 months
1010 (tie) 2816 Hikaru Nakamura 2015-10October 2015 27 years, 9 months
1010 (tie) 2816 Ding Liren 2018-11November 2018 26 years
1313 2810 Alexander Grischuk 2014-12December 2014 31 years, 1 month
1414 2804 Alireza Firouzja 2021-11December 2021 18 years, 5 months
1515 2798 Anish Giri 2015-10October 2015 21 years, 3 months
1616 2795 Ian Nepomniachtchi 2023-03March 2023 32 years, 7 months
1717 2793 Teimour Radjabov 2012-11November 2012 25 years, 7 months
1818 (tie) 2788 Alexander Morozevich 2008-07July 2008 30 years, 11 months
1818 (tie) 2788 Sergey Karjakin 2011-07July 2011 21 years, 5 months
2020 2787 Vassily Ivanchuk 2007–10October 2007 38 years, 6 months

Average rating over time edit

The average Elo rating of top players has risen over time. For instance, the average of the top 10 active players rose from 2751 in July 2000 to 2794 in July 2014, a 43-point increase in 14 years. The average rating of the top 100 players, meanwhile, increased from 2644 to 2703, a 59-point increase.[3] Many people believe that this rise is mostly due to an anomaly known as ratings inflation, making it impractical to compare players of different eras.[4]

Elo said it was futile to attempt to use ratings to compare players from different eras and that they could only measure the strength of a player as compared to their contemporaries. He also stated that the process of rating players was in any case rather approximatehe compared it to "the measurement of the position of a cork bobbing up and down on the surface of agitated water with a yard stick tied to a rope and which is swaying in the wind".[5][6]

Chessmetrics edit

Many statisticians besides Elo have devised similar methods to retrospectively rate players. Jeff Sonas' rating system is called "Chessmetrics". This system takes account of many games played after the publication of Elo's book, and claims to take account of the rating inflation that the Elo system has allegedly suffered.[according to whom?]

One caveat is that a Chessmetrics rating takes into account the frequency of play. According to Sonas, "As soon as you go a month without playing, your Chessmetrics rating will start to drop."[7]

Sonas, like Elo, claims that it is impossible to compare the strength of players from different eras, saying:

Of course, a rating always indicates the level of dominance of a particular player against contemporary peers; it says nothing about whether the player is stronger/weaker in their actual technical chess skill than a player far removed from them in time. So while we cannot say that Bobby Fischer in the early 1970s or José Capablanca in the early 1920s were the "strongest" players of all time, we can say with a certain amount of confidence that they were the two most dominant players of all time. That is the extent of what these ratings can tell us.[8]

Nevertheless, Sonas' website does compare players from different eras. Including data until December 2004, the ratings were:

Rank 1-year peak[9] 5-year peak[10] 10-year peak[11] 15-year peak[12] 20-year peak[13]
1 Bobby Fischer, 2881 Garry Kasparov, 2875 Garry Kasparov, 2863 Garry Kasparov, 2862 Garry Kasparov, 2856
2 Garry Kasparov, 2879 Emanuel Lasker, 2854 Emanuel Lasker, 2847 Anatoly Karpov, 2820 Anatoly Karpov, 2818
3 Mikhail Botvinnik, 2871 José Capablanca, 2843 Anatoly Karpov, 2821 Emanuel Lasker, 2816 Emanuel Lasker, 2809
4 José Capablanca, 2866 Mikhail Botvinnik, 2843 José Capablanca, 2813 José Capablanca, 2798 Alexander Alekhine, 2781
5 Emanuel Lasker, 2863 Bobby Fischer, 2841 Bobby Fischer, 2810 Alexander Alekhine, 2794 Viktor Korchnoi, 2766
6 Alexander Alekhine, 2851 Anatoly Karpov, 2829 Mikhail Botvinnik, 2810 Mikhail Botvinnik, 2789 Vasily Smyslov, 2759

In 2005,[14] Sonas used Chessmetrics to evaluate historical annual performance ratings and came to the conclusion that Kasparov was dominant for the most years, followed by Karpov and Lasker. He also published the following list of the highest ratings ever attained according to calculations done at the start of each month:[15]

Rank Rating Player
1 2895 Bobby Fischer
2 2886 Garry Kasparov
3 2885 Mikhail Botvinnik
4 2878 Emanuel Lasker
5 2877 José Capablanca
6 2860 Alexander Alekhine
7 2848 Anatoly Karpov
8 2833 Viswanathan Anand
9 2826 Vladimir Kramnik
10 2826 Wilhelm Steinitz

Warriors of the Mind edit

In contrast to Elo and Sonas's systems, Raymond Keene and Nathan Divinsky's book Warriors of the Mind[16] attempts to establish a rating system claiming to compare directly the strength of players active in different eras, and so determine the strongest player of all time (through December 2004). Considering games played between sixty-four of the strongest players in history, they came up with the following top ten:[17]

These "Divinsky numbers" are not on the same scale as Elo ratings (the last person on the list, Johannes Zukertort, has a Divinsky number of 873, which would be a beginner-level Elo rating). Keene and Divinsky's system has met with limited acceptance,[18] and Warriors of the Mind has been accused of arbitrarily selecting players and bias towards modern players.[19]

Moves played compared with computer choices edit

The idea of this approach is to compare the moves played by humans to top engine moves, with the rationale that players more likely to choose these moves are also stronger.

Early efforts edit

A computer-based method of analyzing chess abilities across history came from Matej Guid and Ivan Bratko at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, in 2006.[20] A similar project was conducted for World Champions in 2007–08 using Rybka 2.3.2a (then-strongest chess program) and a modified version of Guid and Bratko's program "Crafty".[21] CAPS (Computer Aggregated Precision Score) is a system created by that compares players from different eras by finding the percentage of moves that matches that of a chess engine.[22]

Markovian model (2017) edit

In 2017, Jean-Marc Alliot of the Toulouse Computer Science Research Institute (IRIT) presented a new method,[23] based on a Markovian interpretation of a chess game. Starting with those of Wilhelm Steinitz, all 26,000 games played since then by chess world champions have been processed by a supercomputer using the Stockfish chess engine (rated above 3310 Elo).

These predictions have proven not only to be extremely close to the actual results when players have played concrete games against one another, but to also fare better than those based on Elo scores. The results demonstrate that the level of chess players has been steadily increasing. Magnus Carlsen (in 2013) tops the list, while Vladimir Kramnik (in 1999) is second, Bobby Fischer (in 1971) is third, and Garry Kasparov (in 2001) is fourth.

Larry Kaufman (2023) edit

GM Larry Kaufman published an article in 2023 estimating the ratings of chess players throughout history by comparing their games with the choices of top engines, using accuracy scores. He considered only world championship matches and tournaments (official or unofficial, and including women's championships), Candidates and Interzonal events, and non-title matches between the world champion and top contenders. In order to avoid the problem that draws show much fewer inaccuracies than decisive games, he only considered decisive games. He gave the following estimated ratings for 47 players at their peak years, on a scale corresponding to Elo ratings in 2023. (In his view, ratings inflated from their introduction in the 1970s until about 2006, when deflation began; by 2023, this had more or less cancelled out the earlier inflation, so that the 1970s ratings and the 2023 ratings are comparable, but those in between are not.)[24]

  1. Magnus Carlsen, 2858 (peak years 2013–2021)
  2. Garry Kasparov, 2821 (peak years 1993–2001)
  3. Bobby Fischer, 2802 (peak years 1970–1972)
  4. Ian Nepomniachtchi, 2786 (peak years 2020–2022)
  5. Vladimir Kramnik, 2785 (peak years 2000–2007)
  6. Viswanathan Anand, 2780 (peak years 2007–2014)
  7. Veselin Topalov, 2773 (peak years 2005–2009)
  8. Anatoly Karpov, 2746 (peak years 1974–1984)
  9. Mikhail Tal, 2711 (peak years 1958–1960)
  10. Vasily Smyslov, 2687 (peak years 1953–1957)
  11. Boris Spassky, 2681 (peak years 1965–1970)
  12. Tigran Petrosian, 2675 (peak years 1963–1969)
  13. Judit Polgár, 2669 (peak years 1998–2005)
  14. Paul Keres, 2663 (peak years 1956–1965)
  15. Mikhail Botvinnik, 2659 (peak years 1948–1955)
  16. Viktor Korchnoi, 2658 (peak years 1974–1981)
  17. Samuel Reshevsky, 2655 (peak years 1953–1961)
  18. Vasyl Ivanchuk, 2654 (peak years 1990–1992)
  19. Reuben Fine, 2651 (peak years 1932–1949)
  20. Hou Yifan, 2651 (peak years 2011–2016)
  21. Alexander Alekhine, 2648 (peak years 1927–1934)
  22. José Raúl Capablanca, 2633 (peak years 1921–1931)
  23. Susan Polgar, 2616 (peak years 1990–1996)
  24. Emanuel Lasker, 2596 (peak years 1907–1914)
  25. Maia Chiburdanidze, 2585 (peak years 1978–1988)
  26. David Bronstein, 2582 (peak years 1950–1954)
  27. Ju Wenjun, 2566 (peak years 2018–2023)
  28. Harry Nelson Pillsbury, 2554 (peak years 1897–1898)
  29. Nona Gaprindashvili, 2529 (peak years 1969–1975)
  30. Xie Jun, 2522 (peak years 1991–1999)
  31. Max Euwe, 2500 (peak years 1935–1938)
  32. Wilhelm Steinitz, 2458 (peak years 1872–1886)
  33. Akiba Rubinstein, 2454 (peak years 1908–1912)
  34. Efim Bogoljubow, 2414 (peak years 1928–1934)
  35. Paul Morphy, 2411 (peak years 1857–1859)
  36. Siegbert Tarrasch, 2402 (peak years 1893–1908)
  37. Alla Kushnir, 2396 (peak years 1965–1972)
  38. Géza Maróczy, 2362 (peak years 1905–1907)
  39. Johannes Zukertort, 2262 (peak years 1872–1886)
  40. Elisaveta Bykova, 2254 (peak years 1958–1960)
  41. Louis Paulsen, 2232 (peak years 1861–1862)
  42. Adolf Anderssen, 2214 (peak years 1861–1866)
  43. Vera Menchik, 2155 (peak year 1929)
  44. Mikhail Chigorin, 2144 (peak years 1889–1893)
  45. Howard Staunton, 1976 (peak years 1843–1851)
  46. Louis de la Bourdonnais, 1859 (peak year 1834)
  47. Alexander McDonnell, 1704 (peak year 1834)

(Morphy's top four opponents averaged 2021 over the years 1857–1859. The games at the 2020–21 Candidates averaged 2777, and those at the 2019 Women's Candidates averaged 2530. The level of the reference engine is roughly 3400.)[24]

In some cases, Kaufman offered caveats. La Bourdonnais and Morphy usually played much faster than their opponents, essentially playing rapid rather than classical by today's standards, and so their true strengths were likely about 100 points higher than their games suggest. There were not enough non-handicap games against roughly matched opposition to judge the earlier French players François-André Danican Philidor and Alexandre Deschapelles (moreover, Philidor did not play by the modern rules, as then a player could not have two queens). According to Rod Edwards' Edo ratings, Deschapelles and La Bourdonnais were almost exactly tied in 1821, the one year when both were active.[24] Regarding Philidor, Harold James Ruthven Murray wrote in his 1913 book A History of Chess: "It was an age of mediocre players, among whom Philidor stood easily first, but even he made mistakes repeatedly which would have been fatal against players of average skill who were not frightened into incapacity by the reputation of the master. At its best Philidor's play falls short of that accuracy of conception and richness of combination which characterized the play of De la Bourdonnais and MacDonnell."[25] The contemporary Modenese masters (Ercole del Rio, Giambattista Lolli, and Domenico Lorenzo Ponziani) criticised Philidor's analyses of the opening, and modern theory sides with the Modenese masters: Philidor's favoured Bishop's Opening (1.e4 e5 2.Bc4) and Philidor's Defence (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6) are considered inferior nowadays, while the King's Knight Opening (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3, a move Philidor thought was bad) is today considered the best second move for White after 1.e4 e5. The Modenese masters did praise Philidor's endgame analysis, though even that has some problems: Philidor correctly analyses his eponymous position in the rook and bishop versus rook endgame, but he wrongly thought that all positions in this endgame could be reduced to that one, which is false.[25] IM Jeremy Silman and IM Willy Hendriks both consider the 17th-century player Gioachino Greco superior to Philidor.[26][27]

Returning to Kaufman's caveats regarding the ratings he gave, Chigorin is likely underrated because of his predilection for gambit play, which increases the number of inaccuracies; similarly, Euwe and Bogoljubow are likely underrated because most of their games considered were against Alekhine, who tended to play extremely sharp openings. Menchik's games that were considered were against stronger opposition, so she is somewhat underrated (her real strength probably passed 2200). There were too few decisive games assessed to judge Fabiano Caruana (because his 2018 title match against Carlsen had all classical games drawn), but Kaufman suggests that "he might well be number two of all time, based on peak FIDE rating and the deflation since Kasparov's peak".[24]

Kaufman finds that the quality of play rose steadily by about 2.5 Elo points per year from 1900 to 2023 (though the rate may have increased in the most recent years due to the advent of the Internet and strong chess engines); the rate was greater in the 19th century. Correcting for this leads to a list comparing players relatively according to their time, rather than the above list which compares them absolutely. The following list is valid for 2017 (the midpoint of Carlsen's peak):[24]

Again, Kaufman considers that this somewhat underrates Morphy because of his fast play and the much higher rate of improvement per year before 1900; Kaufman writes "he might have rivaled Fischer for the top spot if we could properly correct for these factors." Finally, Kaufman provided a third list reducing the adjustment for earlier players to 2 Elo points per year rather than 2.5, which Kaufman estimated "should make the list a fairly accurate estimate of how these players would, in fact, rate in 2017 if born around 1987":[24]

Morphy is similarly again underrated in Kaufman's view, and Kaufman estimates that he should be somewhere between fourth to nineteenth place on the above list if the factors affecting him could be corrected for. Fischer focused solely on chess and might be overrated compared to the others, whereas Reshevsky and Lasker were not full-time professionals and could be underrated.[24]

Kaufman has contended for some time that the standard of play in the past was much worse than it is today, both based on annotating past games and from his own tournament experience going back to the 1960s. He writes regarding games of the 1930s: "It seemed to me that the superstar players played at a much lower level than today's stars, perhaps at the level of an ordinary grandmaster today, while most of the players of that time who are not famous today were likely not even of what we would now call master strength [2200]. This is partly due to unfamiliarity with what are now considered standard plans and ideas, but also to missing more tactics." Regarding the game Aron NimzowitschSavielly Tartakower, Karlsbad 1929, he writes "If someone told me this was a recent game, I would guess the players to be rated around 2000. But they were among the top five at the time!" He mentions Kasparov as saying in the 1980s that even Ljubomir Ljubojević (who had finished last "in a certain tournament") "was stronger than Capablanca had been half a century earlier", and writes: "Although not a diplomatic thing to say, it was probably true".[28]

Other players have agreed with Kaufman's contention of significant improvement over the years. GM John Nunn analysed the games of the Carlsbad 1911 chess tournament with the help of Fritz, and concluded that the average rating of the players at the tournament was 2129.[29] In 1912, Tarrasch wrote that "the level of the masters back then [at Paris 1878] roughly equals that of the stronger participants in the main tournament of today"; IM Willy Hendriks suggests, based on what this difference between the best and simply a main tournament would mean in the modern era, that this was an improvement of 150–200 points between 1878 and 1912. Steinitz (in 1883) and Joseph Henry Blackburne (in 1889) also commented that the level of play was much better than it had been 25 years earlier. Hendriks suggests, based on all these remarks, that "a strong club player of today would not fare badly amidst the strongest players of halfway through the 19th century". As for earlier players, Hendriks guesses that "Greco, Philidor, and the Modenese masters...could compete with the strongest players of the first half of the 19th century", and estimates the ratings of La Bourdonnais, McDonnell, Staunton, and Pierre Saint-Amant on a modern scale to have been "slightly above 2000".[30]

Subjective lists edit

Many prominent players and chess writers have offered their own rankings of players.

Bobby Fischer (1964 and 1970) edit

In 1964, Bobby Fischer listed his top 10 in Chessworld magazine: Morphy, Staunton, Steinitz, Tarrasch, Chigorin, Alekhine, Capablanca, Spassky, Tal, and Reshevsky.[31][32] He considered Morphy to be "perhaps the most accurate", writing: "In a set match he would beat anyone alive today."[33]

In 1970, Fischer named Morphy, Steinitz, Capablanca, Botvinnik, Petrosian, Tal, Spassky, Reshevsky, Svetozar Gligorić and Bent Larsen the greatest chess players in history.[34]

Irving Chernev (1974) edit

In 1974, popular chess author Irving Chernev published an article titled Who were the greatest? in the English magazine CHESS.[35] He followed this up with his 1976 book The Golden Dozen, in which he ranked his all-time top twelve: 1. Capablanca, 2. Alekhine, 3. Lasker, 4. Fischer, 5. Botvinnik, 6. Petrosian, 7. Tal, 8. Smyslov, 9. Spassky, 10. Bronstein, 11. Rubinstein, and 12. Nimzowitsch.[36]

Miguel Quinteros (1992) edit

In a 1992 interview GM Miguel Quinteros gave the opinion:[37] "I think Fischer was and still is the greatest chess player of all time. [...] During his absence other good chess players have appeared. But no one equals Fischer's talent and perfection."

Viswanathan Anand (2000, 2008 and 2012) edit

In 2000, when Karpov, Korchnoi and Kasparov were still active, Anand listed his top 10 as: Fischer, Morphy, Lasker, Capablanca, Steinitz, Tal, Korchnoi, Keres, Karpov and Kasparov.[38]

When interviewed in 2008 shortly after Fischer's death, he ranked Fischer and Kasparov as the greatest, with Kasparov a little ahead by virtue of being on top for so many years.[39]

In 2012, Anand stated that he considered Fischer the best player and also the greatest, because of the hurdles he faced.[40]

Chess Informant readers (2001) edit

Svetozar Gligorić reported in his book Shall We Play Fischerandom Chess?  (Batsford, 2002):

At the beginning of 2001 a large poll for the "Ten Greatest Chess Players of the 20th Century, selected by Chess Informant readers" resulted in Fischer having the highest percentage of votes and finishing as No. 1, ahead of Kasparov, Alekhine, Capablanca, Botvinnik, Karpov, Tal, Lasker, Anand and Korchnoi.[41]

David Edmonds and John Eidinow (2004) edit

BBC award-winning journalists, from their book Bobby Fischer Goes to War: How the Soviets Lost the Most Extraordinary Chess Match of All Time  (HarperCollins, 2004):

Fischer, some will maintain, was the outstanding player in chess history, though there are powerful advocates too for Lasker, Capablanca, Alekhine, and Kasparov. Many chess players will dismiss such comparisons as meaningless, akin to the futile attempt to grade the supreme musicians of all time. But the manner in which Fischer stormed his way to Reykjavik, his breathtaking dominance at the Palma de Majorca Interzonal, the trouncings of Taimanov, Larsen, and Petrosian—all this was unprecedented. There never has been an era in modern chess during which one player has so overshadowed all others.[42]

Vladimir Kramnik (2005 and 2011) edit

In a 2005 interview, Vladimir Kramnik (World Champion from 2000 to 2007) did not name a greatest player, but stated: "The other world champions had something 'missing'. I can't say the same about Kasparov: he can do everything."[43]

In an interview in 2011, Vladimir Kramnik said about Anand: "I always considered him to be a colossal talent, one of the greatest in the whole history of chess", "I think that in terms of play Anand is in no way weaker than Kasparov", and "In the last 5–6 years he's made a qualitative leap that's made it possible to consider him one of the great chess players".[44]

Leonard Barden (2008) edit

In his 2008 obituary of Bobby Fischer, Leonard Barden wrote that most experts ranked Kasparov as the best ever player, with probably Fischer second and Karpov third.[45]

Levon Aronian (2012, 2015, and 2022) edit

In a 2012 interview, Levon Aronian stated that he considers Alexander Alekhine the best player of all time.[46]

In a 2015 interview after the 8th round of the Sinquefield Cup, Levon Aronian stated that he considers Garry Kasparov the strongest player of all time.[47]

In a 2022 interview after the 5th round of the first leg in FIDE Grand Prix 2022, when asked if he thought that in the future Garry Kasparov or Magnus Carlsen would be considered the 'GOAT' (Greatest Of All Time), Levon Aronian stated that "I kind of feel that Magnus will be the greatest for a long long time, because for me he is probably already the greatest but it is still continuing. It will take a long time to beat his achievements."[48]

Magnus Carlsen (2012, 2015, 2020 and 2021) edit

In 2012, Magnus Carlsen said that Kasparov is the greatest player of all time, adding that while Fischer may have been better at his best, Kasparov remained at the top for much longer.[49]

In December 2015 he said he would like to play Fischer and Kasparov at their peak performance.[50]

In January 2020, Carlsen said, "Kasparov had 20 years uninterrupted as the world No 1. And I would say for very few of those years was there any doubt that he was the best player. He must be considered as the best in history."[51] He made a similar claim in 2021, saying "Garry Kasparov, in my opinion, the greatest player there's ever been..."[52]

Hikaru Nakamura (2021 and 2023) edit

In 2021, Hikaru Nakamura published a Youtube video entitled "Hikaru's Hot Takes on the Ten Best Chess Players of All Time"[53] in which he reviewed a article on "The 10 Best Chess Players Of All Time."[54] In this video he suggested that it was unfair to exclude Paul Morphy and Viswanathan Anand from the 10 greatest players of all time. Hikaru stated that Bobby Fischer should "obviously be number 3" and that Garry Kasparov and Magnus Carlsen should be at number 1 and number 2 respectively with the caveat that Kasparov is only number 1 due to his time as number 1 in the world being greater than Carlsen's. At the end of the video, Hikaru said he "can live with" the top 5 as: Kasparov, Carlsen, Fischer, Capablanca and Karpov but he would put from 6 through 10: Anand, Kramnik, Botvinnik, Lasker, Morphy.

During Game 6 of World Chess Championships 2023, as he was commenting on the game, Hikaru mentioned Magnus Carlsen, Garry Kasparov, Vishy Anand, Bobby Fischer, Anatoly Karpov, José Raúl Capablanca and Vladimir Kramnik as the top chess players of all time in order.[citation needed]

Anatoly Karpov (2021) edit

Karpov named Capablanca, Alekhine, Fischer, himself, and Kasparov as his top five in 2021.[55]

World Champions by world title reigns edit

The table below organises the world champions in order of championship wins. (For the purpose of this table, a successful defence counts as a win, even if the match was drawn.) The table is made more complicated by the split between the "Classical" and FIDE world titles between 1993 and 2006.

Champion Total Undisputed FIDE Classical Years as
Years as
Total reign
Emanuel Lasker 6 6 27 27
Garry Kasparov 6 4 2 8 7 15
Anatoly Karpov 6 3 3 10 6 16
Mikhail Botvinnik 5 5 13 13
Magnus Carlsen 5 5 9 9
Viswanathan Anand 5 4 1 6 2 8
Alexander Alekhine 4 4 17 17
Wilhelm Steinitz 4 4 8 8
Vladimir Kramnik 3 1 2 1 6 7
Tigran Petrosian 2 2 6 6
José Raúl Capablanca 1 1 6 6
Boris Spassky 1 1 3 3
Bobby Fischer 1 1 3 3
Max Euwe 1 1 2 2
Vasily Smyslov 1 1 1 1
Mikhail Tal 1 1 1 1
Ruslan Ponomariov 1 1 2 2
Alexander Khalifman 1 1 1 1
Rustam Kasimdzhanov 1 1 1 1
Veselin Topalov 1 1 1 1
Ding Liren 1 1 0 0

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ Arpad E. Elo, The Rating of Chessplayers, Past and Present, Arco, 1978. ISBN 0-668-04721-6.
  2. ^ Arpad Emre Elo – 100th anniversary, Chessbase, 2003
  3. ^ World Top chess players and Statistics at
  4. ^ "ChessBase News | Rating inflation – its causes and possible cures". 27 July 2009. Retrieved 21 October 2013.
  5. ^ Chess Life, 1962.
  6. ^ "Arpad Emre Elo – 100th anniversary". 30 August 2003.
  7. ^ The Greatest Chess Player of All Time – Part I, Jeff Sonas, at Chessbase
  8. ^ About the Chessmetrics Rating System Archived 15 May 2012 at the Wayback Machine, by Jeff Sonas
  9. ^ "Peak Average Ratings: 1 year peak range". Archived from the original on 9 March 2012.
  10. ^ "Peak Average Ratings: 5 year peak range". Archived from the original on 9 March 2012.
  11. ^ "Peak Average Ratings: 10 year peak range". Archived from the original on 9 March 2012.
  12. ^ "Peak Average Ratings: 15 year peak range". Archived from the original on 9 March 2012.
  13. ^ "Peak Average Ratings: 20 year peak range". Archived from the original on 9 March 2012.
  14. ^ Sonas, J. (2005). "The Greatest Chess Player of All Time – Part IV". Chessbase. Part IV gives links to the 3 earlier parts
  15. ^ Sonas, J. (2005). "The Greatest Chess Player of All Time – Part II". Chessbase.
  16. ^ Warriors of the Mind, Raymond Keene and Nathan Divinsky, (1989)
  17. ^ "Divinsky-Keene rankings". Archived from the original on 26 November 2009.
  18. ^ Hooper, David; Whyld, Kenneth (1992). The Oxford Companion to Chess. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-280049-3.
  19. ^ Winter, Edward (1996). Chess Explorations. Cadogan. ISBN 1-85744-171-0.
  20. ^ Computers choose: who was the strongest player?, Chessbase, 2006
  21. ^ "Compare the World Champions!", by Charles Sullivan, TrueChess, 2007
  22. ^ (DanielRensch), Daniel Rensch (3 January 2017). "Who Was The Best World Chess Champion In History?". Retrieved 3 January 2017.
  23. ^ Who is the master?, ICGA Journal, 39–1, April 2017
  24. ^ a b c d e f g Kaufman, Larry (4 September 2023). "Accuracy, Ratings, and GOATs". Retrieved 7 September 2023. Correction: There was one error, I missed Capa's match with Kostic in 1919 due to Kostic's first name being given inconsistently. Fixing this raises Capa to 2633 in the absolute list, to 2868 (third place) in the list where number 1 in 1900 = Carlsen, and to 2821 (shared sixth place) in the list of where they would be if age 30 now. Probably there are other similar data errors I haven't caught., especially among the players of long ago.
  25. ^ a b "A History of Chess", H. J. R. Murray, pp. 865–870
  26. ^ Winter, Edward (22 September 2023). "Jeremy Silman (1954-2023)". Retrieved 7 October 2023.
  27. ^ Hendriks, Willy (2020). "1. Footnotes to Greco; 2. The Nimzowitsch of the 17th century; 3. With a little help from the opponent". On the Origin of Good Moves: A Skeptic's Guide to Getting Better at Chess. New in Chess. ISBN 978-90-5691-879-8.
  28. ^ Kaufman, Larry (2014). Sabotage the Grünfeld. New in Chess. pp. 13, 18, 24–25. ISBN 9789056915391.
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