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The Greatest Chess Accomplishments
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The Greatest Chess Accomplishments

anikolay
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All of us have set goals before. Whether it's in chess, or simply in life, having aims to achieve is a much more fun and effective way to improve. On the long treacherous journey of achieving your desires, especially in chess, you'll find that you will encounter many difficult obstacles, such as plateaus and tilts. However, if you work hard enough, you are almost guaranteed to eventually accomplish your target. From long win streaks to young grandmasters, here are some of the biggest chess achievements ever.

Youngest Grandmaster: Abhimanyu Mishra

One of the major chess highlights of 2021 was the break of a prestigious record. GM Abhimanyu Mishra had become the youngest grandmaster in chess history, at just 12 years and 5 months. Beating the previous record-holder by a mere 2 months, his chess journey was definitely interesting to spectate. 

Mishra's rating progress chart. Photo: FIDE

Mishra's talent and dedication can clearly be shown in his rating graph, where he increased by a whopping 800 points (!) in just 5 years. Let's take a look at one of the games that earned him a GM norm and observe how he flawlessly overtakes his strong opponent.

Mishra is still training hard, even after this massive achievement. I won't be surprised if he eventually becomes the national champion, or maybe even the world champion in the following years. However, do you think that his "youngest grandmaster" record will ever be beaten? If so, when? Honestly, with the increase of resources and technology, I believe that it won't be long before the young Mishra loses this prestigious title. After all, chess has become a lot more accessible over the years.

Highest Rating Ever: Magnus Carlsen

In May of 2014, prime Magnus Carlsen was born. He had achieved his monstrous peak rating of 2882, which some believed to be impossible. Following this, he became the official world champion beating Viswanathan Anand. This was the beginning of his 8-year streak as the world's best player (recently resigning his prestigious title).

Both opponents deep in thought. Photo: chessib.com

The only person that ever came close to Magnus's peak-rating was Fabiano Caruana, who achieved the rating of 2842 back in 2020. In my opinion, Magnus dominates our era of chess by a long mile. Something about his play is just so unique and fascinating, you never know what to anticipate from him.

Interestingly, this was actually one of my favorite games. There was so much tension throughout the entire match, and you just never knew what was coming. The ending was spectacular as well, if not for Anand's blunder. This is what happens in many of Magnus's games, he demolishes his opponent, and you can't even figure out how it happened, which is why he is considered the GOAT by many.

First World Champion: Wilhelm Steinitz

First official world chess championship, Johannes Zukerkort vs. Wilhelm Steinitz, 1886

World chess championships are played once every two years and have been an ongoing "tradition" for about 150 years. But what was the first official chess championship? Although Paul Morphy is considered the only unofficial world champion, Wilhelm Steinitz became the first in 1886.

Steinitz was widely known in the chess world for multiple aspects, such as some of his controversial wins or his personality, but let's save that for another time. For now, let's look at one of his best games in the championship match.

Until 19. Qg1?, white was actually doing great. From then on, however, everything started falling apart. Steinitz is one of those players that doesn't really have a "style." For example, Mikhail Tal was known as a very tactical player, but Garry Kasparov was frankly the opposite. Steinitz plays both positionally and tactically, as shown in this game. As I said earlier, there are many interesting stories on Steinitz and how he played, so if you're curious go check that out.

Longest Professional Win Streak: Bobby Fischer

All the way back in the 60s and 70s, chess legend Robert James Fischer was at the peak of his career. He had recently been playing in many tournaments and was consistently increasing his rating. Also, the candidates and world championship were right around the corner, so his ambitions were even more stacked.

Bobby Fischer at Chicago. Photo: paginacentral

His successful run began at the start of Palma De Mallorca, where he won 7 games in a row, some of which were remarkable. This can also be considered the beginning of his fame/mastery, as he wasn't very well known before his great victories at this tournament.

Personally, I can kind of see comparing Fischer to players like Paul Morphy. There are tons of similarities between their games. As shown in this game, Fischer sometimes had no regard for his weak pawns or pieces, and only focused on attacking. To be fair, he is a chess genius, so it worked out for him most of the time. To be completely honest, I wasn't really sure initially if this accomplishment was worthy enough to include but being showcased on chess.com's list of chess records, I just had to. Also, Agadmator's video helped me a lot with analyzing this game, so go check that out when you have the time.

Longest Time Rated World's No. 1: Garry Kasparov

Garry Kasparov giving a Ted Talk on machines in chess. Photo: TED

From 1986 to 2005, for a streak of nearly 20 years, GM Garry Kasparov was rated the most dominant player in the chess world. He was winning tournament after tournament and participated in multiple world championships. For this reason, he has a reserved spot on many people's greatest of all-time list.

Chess helps you to concentrate, improve your logic. It teaches you to play by the rules and take responsibility for your actions, how to problem solve in an uncertain environment. - Garry Kasparov

Kasparov can even be compared to Magnus's strength, as he was the first person to pass the 2800-rating barrier. For this reason, he was an extremely feared opponent to play against, and usually didn't hold back on his opponents. A lot of his games were very beautiful, as he was usually known for being a positional player.

Even though Kasparov's opponent was a strong Russian grandmaster, he dominated surprisingly well throughout the entire game, finding very nice moves such as 22. Nxe6 or 34. Re6. Kasparov has always been one of my favorite players, simply because his positional style was always very interesting to watch and study. Even in this game, you can see how he slowly progressed with his pawns and pieces, pushing the opponent back without him even knowing it. That's what is so fascinating about his playing style.

Conclusion

As always, thank you so much for reading this blog, I hope that you learned something new today. If you think that I missed some major accomplishments, feel free to let me know in the comments. I'm always open to feedback. A special thanks to @alphaous for the blog idea. If you want extensive updates, or simply enjoy my content, feel free to join my club. Also, if you want me to blog about a particular topic, feel free to give me any ideas. Who knows, I might use them in one of my future blogs. Anyways, that's it for now, have a great day.