Top Chess Players in History: #6 Akiba Rubinstein
A wizard at the board, Akiba Rubinstein astonished the chess world when, as a youth, he defeated many famous players, one of which was José Capablanca. An endgame virtuoso as well as an opening creator, Rubinstein wrote new theory in both areas of chess, including ideas that have lasted until our day. With the outbreak of World War I, he missed his chance to play for the World Championship and never got another opportunity. Despite this, he has gone down in the history books as one of the most talented players of all time.
Akiba Rubinstein learned to play chess at the age of 16. In 1903 he made the decision to devote himself to chess full-time. Within the next few years, Rubinstein showed that he was among the strongest players in the world. In 1912 he finished first in a record five consecutive major tournaments. Some people at the time even considered him better than the current world champion, Emanuel Lasker. At this time, Rubinstein wasn’t given a chance to challenge for the world championship because the rule was that the reigning world champion was allowed to handpick his challengers and Lasker didn’t decide to face Rubinstein until 1914. It was this year when World War I started and the match was cancelled as a result of this. For the last 29 years of his life, he suffered from schizophrenia and was very anti-social. He passed away on March 15, 1961.