Who are the Best Chess Players to Date?

Apr 11, 2008, 7:20 AM |


The first international chess tournament was the London Tourney of 1851, won by Adolf Anderssen of Germany, who then became known UNOFFICIALLY as the world's best chess player, though he did not receive any award or title.

The first great American-born chess player was Paul Morphy, of Irish ancestry, who lived in the civil war era. He travelled to Europe in the 185O's, beating all challengers, including Adolf Anderssen. However, the English champion of the time (Staunton) refused to play, so Morphy never became a world chess champ.

The first OFFICIAL championship chess tournament was played in 1866, also in London, with sandclocks to restrict the length of a game. This tournament was won by Steinitz, a Bohemian (Czechoslovakian) Jew, who then became the world's first OFFICIAL chess champion, holding this title until 1894.

Emanuel Lasker, an American born in Germany, also Jewish, became champion by defeating Steinitz, remaining champion until 1921, at which time Jose Capablanca, a Cuban, took the title until 1927.



Many people today consider Jose Capablanca as one of the top 3 chess players who ever lived, the others being Paul Morphy and Bobby Fischer. Fischer is still alive and recently played another former world champion (Boris Spassky) in Belgrade, Yugoslavia; Fischer, shown below at about age 14, when he became US champion, is the first native-born U.S. citizen to have held the title of World Chess Champ.