Who Will Be The Next World Chess Champion?
Someone has to beat Carlsen eventually...right?

Who Will Be The Next World Chess Champion?

pete
pete
Feb 28, 2018, 12:14 AM |
183 | Chess Players

Magnus Carlsen is the current world champion, and many say he is the best of all time. He certainly looks to be at the peak of his chess powers right now.

Eventually, though, someone has to take the world title from him. But who will be the one to dethrone the great Carlsen? Will it be one of the 2018 world championship candidates? Or a chess master who storms onto the scene later?

Who do you think will be the next world champion? Let us know in the comments.

magnus carlsen

Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Here are the players who could beat Magnus Carlsen to become the next world chess champion.

Fabiano Caruana

Fabiano Caruana

  • Current age: 25
  • Federation: USA
  • Current live rating: 2784
  • Current 2018 Candidate: Yes
  • Odds to be next world chess champion: 20-to-1

Caruana is certainly talented enough to win the world championship, as we saw during his historic 7-0 streak in the 2014 Sinquefield Cup. 

The American, however, is just two years younger than Carlsen, and is falling behind the world champion in the ratings list, checking in at number-eight in the world.

Hikaru Nakamura 

hikaru nakamura

  • Current age: 30
  • Federation: USA
  • Current live rating: 2787
  • Current 2018 Candidate: No
  • Odds to be next world chess champion: 19-to-1

Nakamura is not part of the 2018 world championship cycle, but he is a brilliant tactician and an excellent defender, who would be well-suited to match play.

Nakamura just turned 30, which makes him an underdog, but if anyone can overcome the odds it is Hikaru.

Anish Giri

nullPhoto: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

  • Current age: 23
  • Federation: Netherlands
  • Current live rating: 2777
  • Current 2018 Candidate: No
  • Odds to be next world chess champion: 16.5-to-1

The best part of Giri's resume to be the next world champion is that he is four years younger than Carlsen, and the Dutchman might still be coming into his peak years of play. While Giri did not make the 2018 Candidates' tournament, he has plenty of time in future years to get in the field.

Giri's staunch defense makes him a formidable opponent in world-championship match play; the hardest part for him might be to get into the match first.

Wesley So

wesley so

  • Current age: 24
  • Federation: USA
  • Current live rating: 2799
  • Current 2018 Candidate: Yes
  • Odds to be next world chess champion: 6-to-1

Wesley So could be the United States' best hope for a world chess champion since Bobby Fischer. So certainly seems like the American best-positioned to beat Carlsen, as he is one rating point shy of the elusive 2800, and is a current 2018 world championship candidate.

So, at 24, is also the youngest of the American "big three" and presumably has the most time to take down Carlsen. So's ability to maintain a high level of play consistently has been questioned in the past, and he will have ample opportunity to prove himself in the 2018 Candidates'. 

Wei Yi

wei yi

  • Current age: 18
  • Federation: China
  • Current live rating: 2734
  • Current 2018 Candidate: No
  • Odds to be next world chess champion: 4-to-1

The Chinese chess prodigy Wei Yi is by far the youngest player in the world top-25. At 18, he is a full five years younger than the next youngest top-25 player, Giri at age 23.

Wei Yi still has a long way to go before he is a serious world-championship contender, but his rapid rise to super-GM level makes him one of the most likely players to dethrone Carlsen. 

The Field

the field

  • Odds to be next world chess champion: 1-to-1 (even money)

Of course, the best bet to take down Carlsen is someone not listed above, giving us the rest of the universe of chess players on our tickets.

Could it be Jan-Krzysztof Duda, 19, the Polish chess prodigy and newly minted member of the 2700-rating club? Or what about the American prodigy Awonder Liang, 14, making headlines with victories over Nakamura and Caruana in the 2018 PRO Chess League?

There is Nodirbek Abdusattorov, 13, from Uzbekistan, the second-youngest grandmaster in chess history (behind 2016 world championship challenger Sergey Karjakin). And an entire subcontinent is rooting for India's rising stars Praggnanandhaa R and Nihal Sarin, who are surely on their way to become grandmasters soon.

But maybe it's someone we don't even know yet. This is the most likely possibility of all, as Carlsen shows no signs of slowing down, and it could be decades until we have a new world champion.

It is entirely possible the next world chess champion has not yet been born.

Who do you think will be the next world champion? Let us know in the comments.

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