The Kings of Chess

A newly invented game may seem exciting, but it does not have much emotional value for players and spectators. Over the years, the special encounters between rivals and memorable events are what make it special. Both players and spectators start associating the game with the legends it has produced. To identify and appreciate such special talents, there are various competitions and ranking systems introduced worldwide to evaluate the “Kings of Chess”. Whether you monitor the game closely or admire it from afar, you immediately check the player standings whenever you need to get acquainted with the latest situation. One of the most popular and skillful board games in the world is chess. It has produced some extraordinary talents since its origin many centuries ago.

The Chess Ratings

For the player of any sport or game, it is the ultimate goal to be featured in the list of the best from all over the world. These lists recognize the ace players by analyzing the individual scores and rankings. In chess, the most prestigious title is that of a Grandmaster. It is awarded by the world chess organization (FIDE) itself. The title requires a player to have an Elo rating of 2500 at least once in the career, although exceptions can be made in special circumstances. The player is also required to have two norms (a term used for wins in competitions with strict criteria). The honor is only secondary to the World Chess Championship.

After Grandmaster, the second tier of players is awarded the title of International Master. To qualify for this title, a player must have a rating of between 2400 to 2500. Similarly, as per the criteria laid down by FIDE, a Master needs to have a rating of 2300 or more. A Candidate Master (CM) requires a 2200 (or higher) rating.

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All these titles are gender-neutral. However, there are separate, women-only titles (such as the Woman Grandmaster) as well.

There is a separate set of awards for composers and solvers of chess. Moreover, national chess organizations may also recognize local talents on their own.

Some Legends of Chess

José Raúl Capablanca

José Raúl Capablanca was a Cuban chess legend. He was active between 1901 and 1941. In his long-spanning career, he remained world champion from 1921 to 1927 and also had an undefeated streak between 1916 and 1924. Considered as one of the most notable heavyweights of the game, Capablanca played a total of 722 games. Out of these he won 370 (51.2%), lost 70 (9.7%) and drew 282 (39.1%). He was an expert in endgame skill and was particularly admired for his speed of play. The legend inspired many more future players such as Fischer and Karpov.

Garry Kimovich Kasparov

Another big name in the world of chess is that of Garry Kimovich Kasparov. The Russian held the title of the world champion for 15 years between 1985 and 2000. His career stats include 1088 wins (50.2%), 183 losses (8.4%), and 895 draws (41.3%) out of a total of 2166 games. Kasparov has been inactive in chess for the last few years. His ability to understand positional chess extremely well makes him one of the greatest chess players of all time.

Mikhail Moiseyevich Botvinnik

Mikhail Moiseyevich Botvinnik was another Russian player who ruled the game of chess for many years. He became the world champion on three different occasions (1948-1957, 1958-1960, and 1961-1963), an honor not held by many. He played 991 games, winning 460 (46.42%), losing 121 (12.21%), and drawing 410 (41.37%) of them. Along with being a computer scientist and an electrical engineer, he is also considered the pioneer of computer chess.

Wilhelm Steinitz

Wilhelm (or William) Steinitz was an Austrian-American chess player. One of the earliest greats of the game, he held the chess championship title from 1886 to 1894. He played 905 games and had an overall winning record of 66.6%. Steinitz took several long breaks from international chess so his numbers are not truly reflective of his brilliance.

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