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Average age and age differences of World Championship matches

Spektrowski
Nov 6, 2014, 1:37 PM 14

Ages are given for the day of the first game. Winner of the match (or champion retaining his title) is in bold.

Kramnik vs. Leko still remains the only World Championship match in history in which both players weren't 30 yet.

Average age

1892: Wilhelm Steinitz (55) vs. Mikhail Chigorin (41) - 48 years

1886: Wilhelm Steinitz (49) vs. Johannes Zukertort (45) - 47 years

1889: Wilhelm Steinitz (52) vs. Mikhail Chigorin (38) - 45 years

1890: Wilhelm Steinitz (54) vs. Isidor Gunsberg (36) - 45 years

1896: Wilhelm Steinitz (60) vs. Emanuel Lasker (28) - 44 years

1908: Siegbert Tarrasch (46) vs. Emanuel Lasker (39) - 42.5 years

1934: Efim Bogoljubov (44) vs. Alexander Alekhine (41) - 42.5 years

2012: Boris Gelfand (43) vs. Viswanathan Anand (42) - 42.5 years

1921: Emanuel Lasker (52) vs. Jose Raul Capablanca (32) - 42 years

1963: Mikhail Botvinnik (51) vs. Tigran Petrosian (33) - 42 years

1910: Dawid Janowski (42) vs. Emanuel Lasker (41) - 41.5 years

1894: Wilhelm Steinitz (57) vs. Emanuel Lasker (25) - 41 years

1958: Mikhail Botvinnik (46) vs. Vasily Smyslov (36) - 41 years

1981: Viktor Korchnoi (50) vs. Anatoly Karpov (30) - 40 years

1957: Mikhail Botvinnik (45) vs. Vasily Smyslov (35) - 40 years

1937: Alexander Alekhine (44) vs. Max Euwe (36) - 40 years

1935: Alexander Alekhine (43) vs. Max Euwe (34) - 38.5 years

1910: Emanuel Lasker (41) vs. Carl Schlechter (35) - 38 years

1929: Efim Bogoljubow (40) vs. Alexander Alekhine (36) - 38 years

2010: Viswanathan Anand (40) vs. Veselin Topalov (35) - 37.5 years

1978: Viktor Korchnoi (47) vs. Anatoly Karpov (27) - 37 years

1954: Mikhail Botvinnik (42) vs. Vasily Smyslov (32) - 37 years

1961: Mikhail Botvinnik (49) vs. Mikhail Tal (24) - 36.5 years

1927: Jose Raul Capablanca (38) vs. Alexander Alekhine (34) - 36 years

1960: Mikhail Botvinnik (48) vs. Mikhail Tal (23) - 35.5 years

1969: Tigran Petrosian (39) vs. Boris Spassky (32) - 35.5 years

2007: Viswanathan Anand (38) vs. Vladimir Kramnik (33) - 35.5 years

1907: Emanuel Lasker (38) vs. Frank Marshall (29) - 33.5 years

1951: Mikhail Botvinnik (39) vs. David Bronstein (27) - 33 years

1990: Anatoly Karpov (39) vs. Garry Kasparov (27) - 33 years

2013: Viswanathan Anand (43) vs. Magnus Carlsen (22) - 32.5 years

1966: Tigran Petrosian (36) vs. Boris Spassky (29) - 32.5 years

1972: Boris Spassky (35) vs. Bobby Fischer (29) - 32 years

2000: Garry Kasparov (37) vs. Vladimir Kramnik (25) - 31 years

2006: Vladimir Kramnik (31) vs. Veselin Topalov (31) - 31 years

1987: Anatoly Karpov (36) vs. Garry Kasparov (24) - 30 years

1986: Anatoly Karpov (35) vs. Garry Kasparov (23) - 29 years

1993: Garry Kasparov (30) vs. Nigel Short (28) - 29 years

1995: Garry Kasparov (32) vs. Viswanathan Anand (25) - 28.5 years

1985: Anatoly Karpov (34) vs. Garry Kasparov (22) - 28 years

1984: Anatoly Karpov (33) vs. Garry Kasparov (21) - 27 years

2004: Vladimir Kramnik (29) vs. Peter Leko (25) - 27 years

 

Age difference

2006: Vladimir Kramnik (31) vs. Veselin Topalov (31) - 0 years

1910: Dawid Janowski (42) vs. Emanuel Lasker (41) - <1 year

2012: Boris Gelfand (43) vs. Viswanathan Anand (42) - 1 year

1993: Garry Kasparov (30) vs. Nigel Short (28) - 2 years

1934: Efim Bogoljubov (44) vs. Alexander Alekhine (41) - 3 years

1929: Efim Bogoljubow (40) vs. Alexander Alekhine (36) - <4 years

1886: Wilhelm Steinitz (49) vs. Johannes Zukertort (45) - 4 years

1927: Jose Raul Capablanca (38) vs. Alexander Alekhine (34) - 4 years

2004: Vladimir Kramnik (29) vs. Peter Leko (25) - 4 years

2010: Viswanathan Anand (40) vs. Veselin Topalov (35) - 5 years

2008: Viswanathan Anand (38) vs. Vladimir Kramnik (33) - 5 years

1910: Emanuel Lasker (41) vs. Carl Schlechter (35) - 6 years

1972: Boris Spassky (35) vs. Bobby Fischer (29) - 6 years

1908: Siegbert Tarrasch (46) vs. Emanuel Lasker (39) - 7 years

1969: Tigran Petrosian (39) vs. Boris Spassky (32) - 7 years

1966: Tigran Petrosian (36) vs. Boris Spassky (29) - 7 years

1995: Garry Kasparov (32) vs. Viswanathan Anand (25) - 7 years

1937: Alexander Alekhine (44) vs. Max Euwe (36) - 8 years

1935: Alexander Alekhine (43) vs. Max Euwe (34) - <9 years

1907: Emanuel Lasker (38) vs. Frank Marshall (29) - 9 years

1954: Mikhail Botvinnik (42) vs. Vasily Smyslov (32) - 10 years

1957: Mikhail Botvinnik (45) vs. Vasily Smyslov (35) - 10 years

1958: Mikhail Botvinnik (46) vs. Vasily Smyslov (36) - 10 years

1951: Mikhail Botvinnik (39) vs. David Bronstein (27) - 12 years

1990: Anatoly Karpov (39) vs. Garry Kasparov (27) - 12 years

2000: Garry Kasparov (37) vs. Vladimir Kramnik (25) - 12 years

1987: Anatoly Karpov (36) vs. Garry Kasparov (24) - 12 years

1986: Anatoly Karpov (35) vs. Garry Kasparov (23) - 12 years

1985: Anatoly Karpov (34) vs. Garry Kasparov (22) - 12 years

1984: Anatoly Karpov (33) vs. Garry Kasparov (21) - 12 years

1889: Wilhelm Steinitz (52) vs. Mikhail Chigorin (38) - 14 years

1892: Wilhelm Steinitz (55) vs. Mikhail Chigorin (41) - 14 years

1890: Wilhelm Steinitz (54) vs. Isidor Gunsberg (36) - 18 years

1963: Mikhail Botvinnik (51) vs. Tigran Petrosian (33) - 18 years

1921: Emanuel Lasker (52) vs. Jose Raul Capablanca (32) - 20 years

1981: Viktor Korchnoi (50) vs. Anatoly Karpov (30) - 20 years

1978: Viktor Korchnoi (47) vs. Anatoly Karpov (27) - 20 years

2013: Viswanathan Anand (43) vs. Magnus Carlsen (22) - 21 years

1960: Mikhail Botvinnik (48) vs. Mikhail Tal (23) - 25 years

1961: Mikhail Botvinnik (49) vs.Mikhail Tal (24) - 25 years

1894: Wilhelm Steinitz (57) vs. Emanuel Lasker (25) - 32 years

1896: Wilhelm Steinitz (60) vs. Emanuel Lasker (28) - 32 years

 

Some curious stats:

Wilhelm Steinitz and Mikhail Botvinnik are the only world champions who played all their matches against younger opponents.

Steinitz is the only one who managed to win a World Championship match in his fifties and play a World Championship match at 60.

Others who played a World Championship match in their fifties are Emanuel Lasker, Mikhail Botvinnik and Viktor Korchnoi.

Before Anand vs. Gelfand, there were only 4 World Championship matches where both players were over 40 years old: Steinitz vs. Zukertort (1886), Steinitz vs. Chigorin (1892), Lasker vs. Janowski (1910), Alekhine vs. Bogoljubow (1934).

Botvinnik is the only one who managed to defeat an opponent more than 20 years younger than him - he won his return match against Tal in 1961.

If the age difference is less than 10 years, older opponents have a slightly better chance to win or retain the title (13/23, to be precise). If the age difference is more than 10 years, it's much worse for older players: only Steinitz and Botvinnik managed to defeat adversaries who were so much younger.

Only two World Championship matches were played by people born in the same year: Lasker vs. Janowski (1910) and Kramnik vs. Topalov (2006).

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