Records in Chess

| 34 | Fun & Trivia

Best match player.  William Steinitz played 27 chess matches from 1862 to 1896, and won 25 of the 27.    He won 160 games, lost 70, and drew 57. 

Best Selling Chess Book. Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess has sold over one million copies.

Best world championship record.   Vera Menchik-Stevenson (1906-1944) was World Women’s Chess Champion from 1927 to 1944.  She defended her title 6 times.  In world championship play, she won 78 games, drew 4 games, and only lost once. 

Briefest world champion.  Mikhail Tal was the briefest world champion.  He was world chess champion for 1 year and 5 days. 

Earliest stalemate.  Sibilio-Mariotti, Ravenna 1982 saw a stalemate on move 27.

Fewest draws in a world championship.  There was only one draw in the 1889 World Championship match between Steinitz and Chigorin.  It was the last game. 

Greatest Comeback.  Steinitz overcame a 1-4 deficit against Zukertort to win the world championship in 1886 

Greatest number of checks.  In Wegner - Johnson, Gausdal 1991, there were 141 checks in the game.  White had 100 checks and Black had 41 checks.  The game lasted 200 moves. 

Highest computer rating.  As of April 2012, Houdini 2.0c x64 4CPU has a rating of 3299, peaking at 3305.

Highest USCF Correspondence rating.  In 1993, John Penquite had a USCF correspondence rating of 2933 after 58 straight wins with no losses or draws. 

Highest Elo rating.  In the July 1999 and the January 2000 FIDE rating list, Garry Kasparov had an Elo rating of 2851.  In July 2005, Judit Polgar had an Elo rating of 2735, the highest for any woman. 

Highest per capita chess population.   Iceland has the highest per capita chess population in the world.  In December 2005, Reykjavik had 8 grandmasters living in its city of 110,000.  Beersheva, Israel has the highest percentage of grandmasters per capita of any city. 

Highest performance rating.  Bobby Fischer had the highest performace rating of 3080 when he defeated Bent Larsen by the score of 6-0.  In the 2007 Candidates matches, Gata Kamsky had a 3047 performance rating after defeating Etienne Bacrot (rated 2709) with 3 wins and a draw.  In 1989, Sofia Polgar had a peformance rating of over 2900 when she scored 8.5 out of 9 in an international tournament in Rome. 

Highest USCF rating.  In 2011, Hikaru Nakamura had a USCF rating of 2878.  In 1972, Bobby Fischer’s highest USCF rating was 2825. 

Largest age discrepancy.  The largest age discrepancy in world championship matches is 32 years when Lasker,a ge 26, played Steinitz, age 58.  In 1996, Smyslov, age 75, played Bacrot, age 13, for an age difference of 62 years. 

Largest chess library.  The largest public library for chess is the J.G. White Collection at the Cleveland Public Library.  It contains over 32,000 chess books and over 6,000 volumes of bound periodicals.  The largest private library for chess is owned by Grandmaster Lothar Schmid.  He has over 20,000 chess books. 

Largest chess set collection.  Floyd Sarisohn is the owner of the largest chess set collection in the world.  He owns over 670 chess sets and has been collecting for over 40 years. 

Largest chess tournament.  In 1935-36, the USSR Trade Unions chess championship was held.  It had 700,000 entrants, the largest of any chess tournament.  Every year the United Kingdom organizes the UK Chess Challenge for schools.  In 2004, the tournament had 71,000 children from over 2,000 schools participating, the largest chess tournament in the world.  In 1985, the U.S. Scholastic Championships drew 1,572 chess players.  The 1973 New York Chess Congress drew 1,487 chess players. 

Largest Olympiad.  The 35th Chess Olympiad in Bled in 2002 had 136 men’s teams and 92 women’s teams, the large Olympiad ever. 

Largest tie for first place.  13 players tied for 1st place in the 200 National Open in Las Vegas.

Latest castling.  In Neshewat - Garrison, Detroit 1994 and Somogyi - Black, New York 2002, Black castled on the 48th move. 

Latest first capture.  White made its first capture after 94 moves (Rogoff-Williams, Stockholm 1969).

Longest chess career.  Walter Ivans (1870-1968) of Tucson, Arizona, started playing chess at the age of 10.  He died at the age of 98.  He played chess for 85 years.  Walter Muir (1905-1999) played correspondence chess for 75 years. 

Longest chess player name.  Lionel Adalbert Bagration Felix Kieseritsky.

Longest chess problem.  The longest solution to a composed chess problem requires 292 moves. 

Longest consecutive captures in a row.  In Blodig-Wimmer, Germany 1988, and Rudd-Roberson, Swansea 2006, there were 17 captures of chess pawns and pieces in a row (17 half moves).

Longest decisive game.  The longest decisive chess game is 237 moves (Fressinet-Kosteniuk, Villandry 2007).  It was won by Black.

Longest game.  The longest tournament chess game (in terms of moves) is 269 moves (Nikolic-Arsovic, Belgrade 1989).  The game ended in a draw after over 20 hours of play.  10 games have been 200 moves or over in tournament play.

Longest game in terms of time.  The game Stepak-Mashian, Israel 1980 was 193 moves and lasted 24 hours and 30 minutes.

Longest game without a capture.  In 2000, Meijfroidt-Lenoir lasted 72 moves without a capture before White lost on time.

Longest match.  The longest world championship match was the 1984-85 Karpov-Kasparov match.  It lasted 48 games and 159 days. 

Longest running chess column.  Hermann Helms (1870-1963) wrote a chess column for 62 years, from 1893 to 1955, in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.  George Kolranowski wrote a chess column for 52 years, totalling over 19,000 chess columns. 

Longest running chess match.  The longest running annual match in chess is the Cambridge-Oxford match.  The traditional series began in 1873.  There has been 130 matches from 1873 to 2012.  Cambridge has won 57, Oxford has won 53, and 20 have been drawn.

Longest running correspondence chess rivalry.  Reinhart Straszacker and Hendrick van Huyssteen, both of South Africa, played their first game of correspondence chess in 1946.  They played for over 53 years, until Straszacker died in 1999.  The played 112 games, with both men winning 56 games each. 

Longest running state championship.  America’s longest running state championship is New York, which began its first tournament in 1878. 

Longest running tournament.  As of 2012, Hastings is in its 88th series as an annual British tournament. 

Longest sequence without captures.  In Wegner-Johnson, Gausdal 1991, there were 151 moves made before a capture.  The game lasted 200 moves.

Longest series of checks.  In 1995 in the Czech Republic, a game between Rebickova and Voracova ended with 74 checks by the black Queen. 

Longest tournament.  In 1889 in New York, 20 players played a double round robin.  430 games were played from March 25, 1889 to May 18, 1889. 

Longest world champion.  Emanuel Lasker was world chess champion for 26 years and 337 days. 

Losses on time.  In 1969, Fritz Saemisch lost all 13 games on time at Linkoping. 

Marathon blitz chess.  In 1994, FIDE master Graham Burgess played 500 games of blitz chess (5-minute chess) in 3 days.  He won over 75% of his games. 

Marathon chess.  In 1983, Roger Long and Graham Croft played chess non-stop for 200 hours in Bristol, England.  They played 189 games with Long winning 96 to 93.   

Most active chess player in one year.  In 1995, Robert Smeltzer of Dallas played 2,266 USCF-rated games in one year, the most ever. 

Most blindfold games played consecutively.  In December 1960, George Koltanowski played 56 opponents blindfold consecutively (not simultaneously) in San Franciso.  He won 50 and drew 6.  The exhibtion lasted 9 hours.   

Most blindfold games played simultaneously.  In October 1960, Janos Flesch of Hungary played 52 opponents blindfold simultaneously.  He won 31, drew 3, and lost 18 in 12 hours of play.  In 1934, George Koltanowski played 34 games blindfolded, winning 23 and drawing 10. 

Most chess articles.  Edward Winter has published over 7,000 chess articles in his Chess Notes Bill Wall has written over 1,000 chess articles for magazines and published on the Internet.

Most chess books written.  Raymond Keene has authored over 100 books on chess, more than any other author.   Other chess authors of over 100 chess books include Fred Reinfeld, Eric Schiler, and Eduard Gufeld.  Reinfeld wrote 102 chess books and 260 books in total from other subjects. 

Most consecutive games without a loss.  Mikhail Tal played 95 consecutive tournament games without a loss (46 wins and 49 draws) in 1973-1974.

Most consecutive wins.  Wihelm Steinitz win 25 conssecutive games from 1873 to 1882.

Most correspondence games.  In 1988, Stan Vaughan played 1,124 correspondence games at once.  The prior record was 1,001.  In 1948, Robert Whller of Hillsboro, California played 1,001 corresponence games at once. 

Most drawing Grandmaster.  Ulf Andersson of Sweden has drawn 74% of his games against top-level opposition, winning 10%, and losing 16%.  The most drawing World Champion was Tigran Petrosian (1929-1984), who drew more than half his total games of chess. 

Most games simultaneosly.  Grandmaster Susan Polgar player 326 opponents simultaneously at a shopping mall in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida on July, 2005.  She won 309, drew 14, and lost 3.  Her winning percentage was 96.93%.  The previous record was 321.  International Master Andrew Martin played 321 opponents simultaneously at WellingtonCollege, Berkshire, England on February 21, 2004.  He won 294 games, drew 26 games, and lost one game (to Talal Shakerchi).  It took him 16 hours and 51 minutes.  He walked over 5 miles and played over 7,000 moves.  The previous record was 310, achieved in 1996 in Sweden by Ulf Andersson.  In June 2005, Pachuca, Mexico had a total of 12,388 chess competitors in a simultaneous exhibition. 

Most games lost in a tournament.  Nicholas MacLeod lost 31 games at the 6th American Chess Congress at New York 1889.

Most games won in a tournament.  Gustav Neumann won all 34 of his games at Berlin 1865.

Most Grandmasters in one tournament.  In 1989, the Belgrade Grandmaster’s Association had 98 grandmasters participating, the most grandmasters in one tournament. 

Most games simultaneously, winning all games.  In 1966, Jude Acers played 114 opponents at the Louisiana State Fair, and won all 114 games. 

Most moves in a chess game.  The longest chess game is 269 moves between Ivan Nikolic vs. Goran Arsovic, Belgrade, 1989.  The game ended in a draw.  The game lasted over 20 hours. 

Most moves in a chess game with a winner.  The longest chess game with a winner is 193 moves when Yedael Stepak beat Yaakov Mashian  in the Israel Championship seminfinals in 1980.  It is also the longest game in time, lasting 24 hours and 30 minutes. 

Most moves in a world championship chess game.  The longest world championship game is 124 moves in the 5th game of the 1978 Korchnoi-Karpov match in Baguio City, Philippines.  The game ended in a stalemate. 

Most opponents in consecutive games of chess.   The record for the most consecutive games played with different opponents is 1,131 by Grandmaster Susan Polgar in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida on August 1-2, 2005.  She won 1,112 games, drew 16 games, and lost 3 games in 16.5 hours.  Her winning recod was 99.03%.  The previous record was 1,102 opponents by Woman Grandmaster Anna-Maria Botsari at Kalavryta, Greece, on February 27-28, 2001.  The simultaneous exhibition took 17 hours.  The previous record was by Ye Jiangchuan, who played 1,004 opponents in 28 hours, 33 minutes, starting on December 31, 2001.  He won 912 and drew 76. 

Most participation in a chess tournament.  Edgar McCormick (1914-1991) played in the U.S. Open 37 times, more than anyone else. 

Most queens.  In Szalanczy-Nguyen, Budapest 2009, 6 Queens were on the board at the same time.

Most simultaneous games.  In 2011, Ehsan Ghaem-Maghami played 604 players in 25 hours.  He won 580, drew 16, and lost 8.

Most state titles.  Howard Ohman (1899-1963) won the Nebraska State Chess Champions 25 times. 

Most titles.  John Kalish, born in 1937, won the national championship of Okinawa 25 consecutive times, from 1959 to 1984. Ortwin Sarapu (1924-1000) won the New Zealand championship 20 times.  Ingrid Larsen won the Danish women’s championship 17 times.  Arkadijs Strazdinis was won the the New Britain, Connecticut chess club championship 30 times, from 1952 to 1994.  From 1952 to 1975, he had won it 23 times in a row. 

Most tournaments won.  John Curdo of Boston has won 865 chess tournaments in his career.  Anatoly Karpov has won over 170 chess tournaments, more than any Grandmaster in history. 

Most US chess championships.  Bobby Fischer won the U.S. Chess Championship 8 times.  Gisela Gresser (1906-2000) won the women’s U.S. Chess Championship 9 times. 

Most valuable chess set.  The world’s most valuabe chess set in the world is the Faberge chess set, owned by Dr. George Dean. 

Most world championship career wins.  Lasker had 52 career wins in world championship play. 

Most world championship games.  Botvinnik played 157 world championship games.  He won 36, lost 39, and drew 82. 

Most wins in a match.  In 1929, Alekhine had 11 wins in his world championship match with Bogoljubow. 

Number of chess players.  The World Chess Federation (FIDE) estimates there are over 700 million chess players in the world.  It is estimated that there are over 200 million people who ahve played chess on the Internet.  It is estimated that there are 45 million chess players in the United States.  There are 7.5 million FIDE registered chess players in over 160 countries. 

Oldest chess author.  David Lawson (1886-1980) wrote Paul Morphy: The Pride and Sorrow of Chess at the age of 89.

Oldest chess club still in existence.  Zurich Chess Club, founded in 1809.

Oldest chess player.    Jane Lady Carew (1797-1901) was a chess player who lived to 104.  Jared Moore (1893-1995) was a chess player who lived to the age of 101.  He was the oldest player to play correspondence chess.  He was active in postal chess until he was 100 years old.  In 1914, Joseph Henry Blackburne tied for 1st in the British Championship.  In 1988, Smyslov was 67 when he played in the 55th USSR Championship. 

Oldest grandmaster.  Arthur Dake (1910-2000) was the oldest competitive chess grandmaster.  He was still playing in rated chess tournaments at the age of 89.   Yuri Averbakh, born in 1922, is the oldest grandmaster in the world.  Enrico Paoli (1908-2005) received an honory Grandmaster title at the age of 88.  He was still playing chess at the age of 97.  Vassily Smyslov won the Staunton memorial at Groningen at the age of 75. Jaanis Klovans was 60 when he finally earned his grandmaster title.

Oldest master.  Oscar Shapiro (1910-2000) became a chess master at the age of 74.  In 1991, Bernard Friend became a chess master for the first time at the age of 71.  Gyorgy Negyesy (1893-1992) was a Hungarian master who died just short of his 99th birthday.  He was the longest-lived master. 

Oldest movie with a chess scene.  In 1903, R.W. Paul (Paul’s Animatograph Works of England) made a silent movie called A Chess Dispute.  It featured two men playing chess, then getting into a fight over a disputed move. 

Oldest national champion.  In 1948, Edith Price won the British Ladies’ Championship at the age of 76. 

Oldest printed chess book.  The oldest printed book with chess content in Summa Collationum by John of Walyes in 1470.

Oldest state champion.  Harlow Daly (1883-1979) won the chess championship of Maine at the age of 85.  In 1961, Robert Scrivener won the chess championship of Mississippi at the age of 80. 

Oldest world champion.  William Steinitz was 58 years, 10 days when he lost his title to Emanuel Lasker on May 26, 1894. 

Perfect scores.  Gustav Neumann went 34-0 at Berlin in 1865.  Henry Atkins went 15-0 at Amsterdam in 1899.  Emanuel Lasker went 13-0 at new York in 1893.  Capablanca went 13-0 at new York in 1913.  Alekhine went 11-0 in the Moscow Championship in 1919-1920.  Bobby Fischer went 11-0 in the US Championship in 1963-64. 

Richest chess master.  Joop  J. van Oosterom of the Netherlands is a billionaire.  He was the 19th World Correspondence Chess Champion. 

Richest chess match.  In 1992, Fischer won $3,650,000 for defeating  Spassky, who took home $1.35 million in their world championship match.  In 1990, Kasparov won $1.7 million for defeating Karpov, who took home $1.3 million in their world championship match. 

Richest chess tournament.  In May 2005, the HB Global Chess Challenge was held in Minneapolis.  It was the richest open chess tournament in the history of chess, with a $500,000 prize fund.  1st place was $50,000, won by GM Zviad Izonia.  There were 1,514 players in the tournament. 

Shortest chess career.  Carlos Torre played international chess for less than one year, in 1925.  He then gave up the game. 

Shortest game.  The shortest decisive game in tournament play was Dordevic-Kovacevic, Bela Crkva 1984.  It last 3 moves (1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5 c6 3.e3 Qa5+). 

Shortest world championship win.  In 1872, Steinitz defeated Zukertort in 19 moves. 

Slowest chess move.  In London 1851, Elijah Williams took 2 hours and 30 minutes over one move.  In 1980, International Master Francisco Trois took 2 hours and 20 minutes for his 7th move against Luis Santos at Vigo, Spain.  He only had two possible moves to consider with his knight. 

Streaks.  Bill Martz played 104 consecutive USCF-rated games without a loss.  From 1873 to 1882, Steinitz won 25 games in a row without a loss or a draw.  He was undefeated for 9 years and  283 days.  Capablanca went undefeated for 8 years and 40 days, from 1916 to 1924.  In that time he played 63 games, winning  40 games and drawing 23 games.  Bobby Fischer won 20 straight games from 1970 to 1971 at the very top level of grandmaster chess. 

Strongest chess computer.  The strongest chess computer is Houdini, with a rating of 3300, followed by Rybka.

Strongest chess tournament.  In 2011, the Tal Memorial in Moscow was a Category 22 tournament, with an average rating of 2776, making it the strongest tournament ever.  Four players were rated 2800 or more.  The 1996 Las Palmas tournament was a Category 21 tournament with the average rating of 2756The event took place from December 9 through Decmber 21, 1996.  The six best players in the world participated in a double round event.  The event was won by Kasparov (2785), followed by Anand (2735), Kramnik (2765), Topalov (2750), Karpov (2775), and Ivanchuk (2730).  Five of the six have been world champions.   In Vienna 1882 and Linares 1993, 9 of the top 10 players in the world participated.  Both tournaments had the top 8 players in the world, and the 10 best player in the world, only missing the 9th ranked player in the world.

Strongest Swiss System tournament. In 1989, the Belgrade Grandmaster’s Association had 98 grandmasters participating, making it the strongest Swiss System tournament of all time. 

Worse score.  In 1901, at the Monte Carlo chess tournament, Colonel C. Moreau lost all 26 games.  In 1889, Nicholas MacLeod lost 31 games in the 6th American Chess Congress in New York.   John Schulten played a series of matches with Lionel Kieseritsky, winning 37, drawing 10, and losing 107 games. 

Youngest American champion.  Bobby Fischer was the youngest American chess champion ever, at the age of 14. 

Youngest arbiter.  The youngest international arbiter of a major tournament was Sophia Gorman (Rohde) who, at age 19, was an arbiter at the FIDE World Candidates tournament. 

Youngest Candidate for the World Championship.  Bobby Fischer was the youngest Candidate for the World Chess Championship at the age of 15. 

Youngest chess author.  Murray Chandler (1960-  ) wrote A White Pawn In Europe at the age of 15.

Youngest country champion.  Niaz Murshed won the championship of Bangladesh at the age of 12 years and 309 days.  Henrique Mecking won the championship of Brazil at the age of 13.  In 2000, Humpy Koneru won the British Ladies’ Championship at the age of 13 years and 4 months.  Nigel Short tied for 1st in the British championship at the age of 14.  Bobby Fischer won the U.S. Championship at the age of 14. 

Youngest gold medallist.  Judit Polgar won a gold medal in the 1988 Saloniki chess olympiad at the age of 11.  In 2000, Alexander Grischuk won a gold medal at the age of 17 in the Istanbul Olympiad.  In 1992, Vladimir Kramnik won a gold medal at  the age of 17 in Manila Olympiad. 

Youngest grandmaster.  Sergey Karjakin, born in 1990, became a grandmaster at the age of 12 years, 7 months.  On August 20, 2002 he fulfilled his 3rd and final GM norm at the international tournament in Sudak.  The youngest American grandmaster is Hikaru Namamura, who earned the title at the age of 15 years, 2 months.  The youngest female grandmaster is Hou Yifan, who became a grandmaster at the age of 14 years, 6 months.

Youngest international master.  In 2001, Hikaru Nakamura became America’s youngest International Master at the age of 13. 

Youngest national champion.  Arturo Pomar won the championship of the Balearic Islands at the age of 11. 

Youngest national junior champion.  Bobby Fischer was the youngest national junior champion at the age of 13. 

Youngest master.  Etienne Bacrot, born in 1983, became the youngest FIDE master a the age of 10.  In 2010, Samuel Sevian became a USCF master at the age of 9 years, 11 months and 11 days.  He beat Nicholas Nip's previous record by 3 days.

Youngest Olympiad player.  In 1986, Heidi Cueller played for the women’s Guatemala chess team in the chess Olympiad at Dubai.  She was 10 years old.  In 1970, 11 year old Schermann of the Virgin Islands played at Siegen.  12 year old Kiem Tjing-Tjin-Joe of Surinam played in the 1982 chess olympiad. 

Youngest player in a national championship.  In 1995, Irina Krush played in the U.S. Women’s Championship at the age of 11.  In 1976,Nigel Short qualified to play in the British Championship at the age of 11.  In 1995, Luke McShane played in the British Championship at the age of 11. 

Youngest player of a published game.  Jose Capablanca had one of his games published when he was 4 years old.

Youngest player to beat a master.  In 2011, Awonder Liang, age 8, beat an International Master.  In 2012, Joaquin Perkins (1598), age 8, beat Pablo Pena (2220),  In 1993, Irina Krush, age 9, beat a chess master rated 2257.

Youngest player to beat a grandmaster.  In 1999, David Howell, age 8,  became the youngest player  to beat a grandmaster .  He defeated GM John Nunn in London.  In 2009, Hetul Shah, age 9, beat GM Nurlan Ibrayev in a tournament game in India.   In 2002, Fabiano Caruana, age 10, defeated GM Wojtkiewicz, becoming the youngest player to defeat a GM in the United States. 

Youngest state champion.  In August, 1948, Charles "Kit" Crittenden of Raleigh, NC, won the North Carolina chess state championship at the age of 14 (Chess Review, September, 1948, page 5, says that Kit was 13 at the time - an error). 

Youngest world chess champion.  Ruslan Ponomariov, born October 11, 1983, became the youngest world chess champion on January 23, 2002 at the age of 18 years, 104 days.  Maya Chiburdanidze, born January 17, 1961, became the youngest women’s world chess champion in 1978 at the age of 17. 1

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