Top Ten Greatest Chess Players of All Time


Also Tal #3? Here's a basic idea of best winning percentages in chess history with at least over 200 games played.


1. Paul Morphy- 84.6%

2. Jose Raul Capablanca- 73.9%

3. Alexander Alekhine- 72.8%

4. Bobby Fischer- 72.2%

5. Emanuel Lasker- 71.4%

6. Reuben Fine- 71.3%

7. Paul Keres- 70.1%


Tal has a 65.2%.

That's a bit too low...

cornbeefhashvili wrote:
Botvinnik - I agree with what TheGreatOggieBoogie said - Botvinnik was heads above in his preparation and training methods.

...and in political persuasion.


Let's see my top ten list:

1. Capablanca- 73.9%

2. Kasparov- 69.9%

3. Fischer- 72.2%

4. Lasker- 71.4%

5. Morphy- 84.6%

6. Alekhine- 72.8%

7. Karpov- 64.9%

8. Botvinnik- 68.3%

9. Carlsen- 61.9%

10. Tal- 65.2%

Only Carlsen and Karpov have a lower percentage than Tal. And according to your list Tal's #3. Karpov and Carlsen are in the modern era where there are more draws and harder to win so those are exceptions.



1. Garry Kasparov (Russians are the best in chess. He MUST be the Greatest)

2. Bobby Fischer

3. choose anyone....


10. Alexander Alekhain (or Vladimir Krammik )

9. Vishwanathan Anand 

8. Lasker Emmanuel

7. Mikhail Botvinnik 

6. Robert Fischer 

5. Paul Morphy

4. Magnus Carlsen 

3. Jose Raul Capablanca 

2. Anatoly Karpov

1. Garry Kasparov 




At their absolute strongest whether for 20 years  or just 1.

1 Paul Morphy. That darn talented!!

2.Magnus Carslen. 2nd most talented.

3.Bobby Fischer. Perhaps the most dedicated player of all time.Only Alekhine and Kasparov possibly worked as hard.

4.Jose Capablanca. Slightly less talented than Carlsen.

5.Mikhail Botvinnik. Greatest Middlegame player of all time.

6.Emanuel Lasker, Greatest Tournament and Defensive player of all time.

7.Garry Kasparov. 2nd Greatest tournament player,Greatest attacker and very consistent.

8.Anatoly Karpov. Squeezer

9.Vladimir Kramnick. Kasparov called him the hardest man to beat in the world after losing his championship match to him.

10.Alexander Alekhine. Inspirational and beautiful attacker.


It's hard to put them in order for me because there are so many different eras of chess.  But my ten most important players would be - 













It is hard to say who is the best of all time. The same argument exist for boxing. In my opinion it is a toss up between Kasparov and Karpov as they played in the modern era and still kept the title for a long time. I know a lot of people say that Magnus Carlsen and Anand have the use of computers to help them analyze however I believe that makes it even harder to win because you have that many more lines to memorize so winning today is much more difficult and requires much more creativity. My list is as follows: 

10. Paul Morphy - because of what he was able to do in such little time

9. Emanuel Lasker - you can't argue with the fact that he held the title for so long

8. Mikhail Botvinnik - held the title for 9 years against very formidable opponents

7. Alexander Alekhine -  was a master tactician and also held the title for a long time

6. Bobby Fischer -  was great at all facets of the game 

5. William Steinitz - held the title for a long time and had limited resources as he was poor most of his life

4. Viswanathan Anand -  he is literally a human computer when you play Anand it is like playing against a chess engine and that alone is extremely impressive

3. Magnus Carlsen - I have him in 3rd only because he has not stood the test of time but I have a feeling he will

2. Jose Raul Capablanca - I doubt anyone would argue he is one of the best ever but I believe he would be able to adapt to modern day play and i could only imagine what he would be like if he was able to use computers. Plus his speed of play in blitz still remains atop. 

1. Gary Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov - both played in the modern era with computers and both held the title for a long time. 


Poor Morphy. He was born in the wrong period of time. Nobody was good enough for him. I wonder what happen if he play some of the great players like Fischer, Spassky, Larson... I wonder if he would get his ass kick if he play his risky and flashy way.


Frankwho wrote:
The_Riga_Magican wrote:
Frankwho wrote:
The_Riga_Magican wrote:
TheGreatOogieBoogie wrote:




It's hard to formulate lists.  Of all time going by raw objective playing strength:
















8.Bobby Fischer






Honorable mention: Boris Gelfand.




Based off their accomplishments towards chess:


1.Mikhail Botvinnik: Astronomically advanced opening theory and traning methods. 


2.Wilhelm Steinitz: Proved the superiority of positional assessments, valuing defense, and the scientific approach in general to the romantic school's intuition and raw calculation based approach that was all about attacking (even prematurely) that allowed the King's Gambit to thrive by defeating Adolf Anderssen in the first world championship. 


3.Capablanca: Drove forward advances in strategic endgames by not hurrying and excelled at schematic thinking.


4.Rubinstein: Perhaps the strongest (relative to peers! Caruana would still trounce him easily of course) player never to become world champion (though Bronstein's very close match with Botvinnik puts him up there too, though as much as I like and respect Lasker I think Rubinstein would have won a match) he was the first player to play openings with the endgame in mind! 


5.Nimzowitsch: He authored My System, but wasn't simply a good writer!  He has impressive wins over people such as Alekhine, Lasker, Tarrasch, and even Euwe.  He pioneered some great (and acceptable but suboptimal such as the Nimzo-Larsen Attack) opening systems still in use today, most notably the Nimzo-Indian, of which Botvinnik said, "There is no refutation to this defense".  I'll post a Nimzo vs. Euwe game, it is an interesting one.


6.Smyslov:  His amazing grasp of endgames is simply on another level!  Defeated Botvinnik for the title (though Botvinnik won a rematch).  Has some excellent game collections. 


7.Petrosian: Disciple of Nimzowitsch, hated conceit, was left-handed according to Botvinnik (whom he defeated for the title, until Spassky wrested it from him) and ended Fischer's 20 game winning streak! 


8.Geller: This proto-Kasparov had a plus score against Fischer, excelled at sharp, complicated positions.  Ironically had a minus score against Spassky.  Sometimes style trumps playing strength (within a reasonable range of course, an expert or even IM and below with Geller's style would still get crushed by Fischer).  Has a game collection that isn't often talked about like the popular giants (Botvinnik's three volume set, Karpov's book by Edition Olms, Alekhine's Best Games 1908-1937, and of course Fischer's 60 Memorable Games and Shirov's Fire on the Board) but is nevertheless instructive.  Is in serious need of a 21st Century Edition by Russell Enterprises to get back into circulation. 


9.Karpov: Has the greatest tournament record of all time, positionally on an other level. 


10.Kasparov: Amazing at planning and calculation.  Greatly advanced Najdorf Theory. 


Honorable mention to Kramnik for his amazing upset over Kasparov and showing the world that the Berlin Wall is a force to be reckoned with! 




A few questions about your list.

1. Carlsen is number 1? That's impossible.

2. And Kasparov isn't on your top ten? At least in your top 5.

3. Best by playing strength? Well, you can go to chessmetrics and see for yourself whose playing strength is the highest. It anyalisis the player's best game and compare it with a computer and see what their chessmetrics (that's "rating" is. I'm talking about overall strength, how good they were in their own era, how good they are at attack, strategically and more.

How is it impossible that Carlsen is number one?

Don't understand either.

What do you mean?







All BS aside, tournament vics, winning streaks, years as World Champion, none of it counts.

Based solely on beauty of their games & power of their moves:

10. Steinitz

9. Anderssen

8. Tchigorin

7. Botvinnik

6. Aljechin (That's al-ye-heen to you, pilgrim)

5. Karpov

4. Fischer

3. Kasparov

2. Capablanca

1. Rubinstein


Kasparov had a 50-0!! 


vs Gelfand, Bareev, Shirov and Adams enough said.


I think any list must include



and Kramnik


Kramnik may seem the most controversial.  But he is the player people look at for this era for their opening play.  People don't look at Kasparovs openings or Karpovs openings.  But Kramnik took the petrov and the Berlin and changed 1.e4.  Anand never played anything but 1.e4 except in his match against Kramnik.  He also had big impact on other things including the KID.   


For better or worse Kramnik ushered in Modern chess. 

niceforkinmove wrote:

I think any list must include



and Kramnik


Kramnik may seem the most controversial.  But he is the player people look at for this era for their opening play.  People don't look at Kasparovs openings or Karpovs openings.  But Kramnik took the petrov and the Berlin and changed 1.e4.  Anand never played anything but 1.e4 except in his match against Kramnik.  He also had big impact on other things including the KID.   


For better or worse Kramnik ushered in Modern chess. 

I get it, you really really like Kramnik...

batgirl wrote:

Is this a quote-within-quote contest?


"ha ha where's nakamura"
He said he'd be back in a moment.


"who's there?"


"Who's there?"


"I'll naka your mura"