If you could only be one or the other, which would you rather be, the highest rated chess player or the World Champion?
World Champion any day!
Because the numbers are relative to the pool of players at the upper and lower ends of the rating spectrum they aren't as accurate as for people in the middle. So being rated <100 point above the WC doesn't mean much IMO except that you're certainly a contender.
Also because in 50 years no one is going to remember who was highest rated from year ____ to ____ but they will remember who the world champs were. WC is an easy pick over highest rated IMO.
Poor Topalov, highest rated chess player for how long? And still can't win the undisputed World Championship.
Congratulations to Anand!
Edit 9/19/13. From Chessbase. World Championship: Interview with Carlsen. "I believe that to some extent the achievement of winning more or less every tournament is a greater one than being world champion."
Edit 4/18/14. Carlsen interview. (Chessbase)
"I learned a great deal from him, and the goal, which had been to become the number one rated player in the world, was reached."
The goal wasn't to become world champion?
"This may surprise you, but taking the title had never been a top priority, and it was not part of any longterm plan. Actually, I wanted to become the world number one above all. I do not consider becoming world champion a greater feat than what I had already accomplished."
Also because in 50 years no one is going to remember who was highest rated from year ____ to ____
If I get a prompt reincarnation, someone will.
Champion obviously. But often the highest rated player eventually becomes champion... like caaarlsen totally will.
Neither. I don't need either headache.
Like Mikhail Tal said once :"When I lost the title to Botvinnik, chess could be played quietly again!"
Poor Topology, highest rated chess player for how long? And still can't win the undisputed World Championship.
Congratulations to An and!
It's Carlson, silly!
World champion for sure it like 2 ClassB players entering a U1800 Tourney and both rated are on the tip (1699,1799) but the 1600 player wins and just cause the 1799 is 100 higher rated no one thinks he's better even before the toruney cause ther both in the same rating class yet the lower one won the thing.
I would say that it depends on how the world championship is viewed at a particular moment in history. Khalifman will be remembered mostly as a curiosity because he was the first, but Ponomariov will, most likely, be only a footnote in history as world champion (I think his accomplishments since then are more impressive and I admire him as a young grandmaster and an at-times top 10 player), and nobody will remember Kasimdzhanov at all (I had to look him up to write this post).
It's unanimous then (except for Carlsen), World Champion it is.
(Probably didn't come as a surprise to anybody though, eh?)
It's not a thing one can choose between, but if you are the best player in the world you will always reach #1 on the rating list. It's no surprise that Fischer, Karpov and Kasparov were the only players to be #1 for decades. I think Kramnik once shared first with Kasparov, but F-K-K were the only players to be clear first from the first unofficial lists at the end of the 1960s to Kasparov's disappearing from the list in 2006. Winning the World Championship is harder for the best player in the world nowadays, when the qualification system is so different than it was in those days. To begin with he will have to win a knockout event, and those are rarely won by the favourites (see Khalifman, Ponomariov, Kasimdzhanov, Gelfand). Aronian and Kramnik are better players than Gelfand but that doesn't always show in minimatch events with rapid/blitz tiebreak like Kazan, on the rating list it's fairly obvious though.
World champ of course. Rating is just a cirka number of how good you are, and is gone the next day. Highest rated is forgot in a year, while your still a hero centurys later having been a world champ.
The World Championship, passed down the line from Steinitz to Kasparov by match play, interrupted only by the death of Alekhine and the resignation of Fischer. From there Kramnik took in in match play, and eventually lost it to Anand.
Those who won so-called "world championships" without defeating the active reigning WC in match play will not be considered as World Champions in chess history in 50 years.
But if we're talking about that World Championship, it definitely trumps the #1 rating spot. It's a title of the ages, available only to a limited few. Even great players who were at one time or another no less than #2 in the world never got the chance to play for the title - Rubinstein and Keres lead the number, and by the time he retires, possibly also Ivanchuk.
The #1 rating could change with every rating list, and since results and the formula are known they are also calculated daily. Something to brag about, but not like being the World Champ.
But if we're talking about that World Championship, it definitely trumps the #1 rating spot. It's a title of the ages, available only to a limited few. Even great players who were at one time or another no less than #2 in the world never got the chance to play for the title - Rubinstein...
If Rubinstein didn't have the money to pay for a title match (or Lasker preferred to play Janowski) his chances were always 0, so it doesn't have to be a good thing that the World Championship has been more exclusive. Any player could prove that he was best in the world by repeatedly winning tournaments against the strongest opponents, but there was no way to do the same thing with regards to World Championships. Lasker didn't feel like defending between 1896 and 1907 so he didn't. Rubinstein could never get a title match. Alekhine preferred Bogo and Euwe as his only challengers during almost 20 years as Champion. I like the rating list as a measure of who the strongest players are, but obviously the World Championship is an important institution.
How about the worlds worst or the lowest rated? THAT'S what you should go for!