The 7 Most Amazing Chess Records

The 7 Most Amazing Chess Records

| 35 | Fun & Trivia

Chess is a game with a long history and many more statistics and records than there are squares on the board.

Chess fans have been fervently compiling facts and numbers on the game, inspired by the truth that unlike so many other competitive pursuits, the rules of chess have remained largely the same for centuries.

Here are a few of the most amazing feats in the chess record books. For more chess records, take a look at the list at Wikipedia.

Let us know your favorite chess records in the comments or on Facebook.

7. Most Dominant Super-GM Tournament Win: Garry Kasparov, Linares 2001

You might think this award could go to Fabiano Caruana and his 2014 Sinquefield Cup (we'll get to him later), but for true dominance of super-GM peers, nothing beats Garry Kasparov's obliteration of the field at the 2001 Linares tournament.

Kasparov not only won the tournament by three clear points and was undefeated, but he was the only player in the field to have a positive score. Every other player in the tournament -- Polgar, Karpov, Leko, Shirov, and Grischuk -- finished shared second through sixth at 4.5/10.

Don't believe it? Check out the final standings of the tournament, courtesy of Wikipedia.

Here is a signature game from the event. Watch Kasparov take apart ex-world-champion Anatoly Karpov's Caro-Kann is just 31 moves.

6. Latest Capture in a Game: Rogoff-Williams, Stockholm 1969, 94th Move

We've all seen marathon games that reach 100 or even 200 moves, but have you seen a game go on for nearly 100 moves without even a capture?

Check out this game from the 1969 World Junior Championship, where it seems neither player could bear to part with any pieces or pawns.

5. Most Games Without a Loss: Mikhail Tal, 95 Tournament Games, 1973-74

Maybe there's a guy at the park who claims to have not lost in decades, but for grandmaster tournament games, no one beats Mikhail Tal's undefeated streak of 95 tournament games between October 1973 and October 1974.

Of the 95 games, Tal won 46 and drew 49. 

For more on Tal, see GM Serper's "chess terminator" articles. 

4. Best Tournament Performance Rating: Fabiano Caruana, 3103, Sinquefield Cup 2014

This one is easy. No one has come close to Caruana's performance rating record of 3103 at last year's Sinquefield Cup, which was by many measures the strongest chess tournament of all time. Caruana scored a "touchdown," according to journalist Mike Klein, winning his first seven games on his way to a dominating first place.

The only other human being to break the 3000-performance-rating barrier is Magnus Carlsen, who notched a 3002 in a 2009 tournament. But Caruana has him beat by more than 100 points.  

3. Youngest Grandmaster: Sergey Karjakin, 12 Years, 7 Months, and 0 Days

Bobby Fischer held this record from 1958 to 1991, when his future student Judit Polgar achieved the title at 15 years, 4 months, 28 days.

After steady progress in the youngest grandmaster record in the 1990s — four younger grandmasters eclipsed Polgar’s record in the decade — Karjakin became the first chess player to become a grandmaster at age 12, and the record has now stood for an amazing 13 years.

2. Largest Simultaneous Exhibition: Ahmadabad, India, 20,500, December 24, 2010

photo via the Daily Mail

Ahmadabad staged this largest-ever simul with a special guest of honor: then-world-champion Vishy Anand, who played in the event and surely dispatched his fair share of the 20,000-plus entrants. 

1. Best Chess Performance Ever: Bobby Fischer, 20 Straight Wins, 1970-71

Bobby Fischer's 20 consecutive wins against top chess competition in the early 1970s is a chess record that many believe will never be topped.

Fischer won the last seven games of the 1970 Interzonal tournament before dual 6-0 sweeps of world championship candidates Mark Taimanov and Bent Larsen in 1971. Only the great Tigran Petrosian, the toughest chess defender of all time, was able to stop Fischer's streak in game two of their candidates match. It was no matter, though, as Fischer bulldozed his way past Petrosian and easily defeated Boris Spassky for the 1972 world championship. 

Even today, Fischer's winning streak is talked about in reverent tones, and his climb to the world championship is a major part of an upcoming film. Mike Klein reviews the trailer for Pawn Sacrifice, the Hollywood biography of Fischer opening next week in the United States.

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