Who is the worst world champion?

staples13
kindaspongey wrote:
Nicator65 wrote:

… Age wasn't the decisive factor because Steinitz was making the same evaluation mistakes for the very same reasons he did in the past. The difference was that Lasker consistently and effectively took advantage of them, while Zukertort and Tschigorin dropped the ball more than often. ...

IM Craig Pritchett wrote (2015) that, in the 1994 match, the age gap "made a difference". He said that Steinitz "blundered" in the 7th game and that "Steinitz's form then perceptibly dipped" in subsequent games, inflicting "too much self-damage in the middle of the match." Lasker's ability was, of course, also noted, but Pritchett also wrote that Lasker had hoped "to defeat Steinitz by confronting him with his own hard-wrought principles and playing style."

I’ll decline to take a stance as to whether or not Steinitz age was the reason he lost, but I will say that I don’t think this IM is qualified 120 years after the fact to theorize as to whether or not Steinitz age hurt his play. At least not anymore qualified than the rest of us 

dannyhume

Steinitz won convincingly against Zuke, won convincingly against Chigorin, won barely against Chigorin, then lost soundly to Lasker, then convincingly again to Lasker.

Lasker won convincingly against Steinitz twice, Marshall, Tarrasch, and Janowsk), "won" barely against Schlechter, then lost convincingly to Capa.

Capa won convincingly, then lost soundly.

Alekhine won all of his matches fairly convincingly except his barely loss to Euwe.

Euwe won barely, lost convincingly.

Botvinnik won barely against Bronstein, lost and won barely against Smyslov, lost and won convincingly against Tal... but we need to factor in Soviet rigging.

Smyslov won and lost barely.

Tal won and lost convincingly.

Petrosian won convincingly, won barely, lost barely

Spassky lost barely, won barely, lost convincingly

Fischer won convincingly, never defended ( = lost convincingly???)

Karpov won convincingly, won barely, won convincingly, almost won convincingly which became barely and controversially after FIDE prez stepped in, then lost 3 in a row barely to Kasparov

Kasparov lost barely and controversially to Karpov, then won barely against Karpov 3 times, then won convincingly against Short and Anand, lost barely to Deep Blue, and lost soundly to Kramnik. 

Kramnik won soundly against Kasparov, "won"barely against Leko, won soundly against Topalov, and lost soundly to Anand

Anand won soundly against Kramnik, barely against Topalov and Gelfand, then lost convincingly to Magnus twice.

Magnus has won convincingly twice against Anand, barely in overtime against each of Karjakin and Caruana (nonetheless only 2 losses in the 45 games of those world championship matches TOTAL).

Nicator65
staples13 wrote:
kindaspongey wrote:
Nicator65 wrote:

… Age wasn't the decisive factor because Steinitz was making the same evaluation mistakes for the very same reasons he did in the past. The difference was that Lasker consistently and effectively took advantage of them, while Zukertort and Tschigorin dropped the ball more than often. ...

IM Craig Pritchett wrote (2015) that, in the 1994 match, the age gap "made a difference". He said that Steinitz "blundered" in the 7th game and that "Steinitz's form then perceptibly dipped" in subsequent games, inflicting "too much self-damage in the middle of the match." Lasker's ability was, of course, also noted, but Pritchett also wrote that Lasker had hoped "to defeat Steinitz by confronting him with his own hard-wrought principles and playing style."

I’ll decline to take a stance as to whether or not Steinitz age was the reason he lost, but I will say that I don’t think this IM is qualified 120 years after the fact to theorize as to whether or not Steinitz age hurt his play. At least not anymore qualified than the rest of us 

What IM Prichett wrote is true... just not the whole truth. I recall serious mistakes in four games, but the other 16 defeats were well deserved.

Thing is that when Steinitz felt he couldn't outplay his rival in a match (Anderssen, Zukertort, Tschigorin), he recurred to some odd and over-complicated plans to confuse his rival. Zukertort and Tschigorin took advantage in some cases, but most of the time they dropped the advantage, ending with Zukertort falling depressed and Tschigorin blundering in a won game that should have brought him the match and the title.

Lasker, not limited in his chess comprehension by static considerations only, saw through the smoke and mirrors and punished Steinitz properly. Starting the second half of the first match (+5-10) and throughout the second match (+2-10), Steinitz couldn't make a dent in Lasker's armor, experiment or no experiment.

Be as it may, it's somewhat amusing that when successful it was because of Steinitz's "deep strategy and positional play beyond understanding", and when not it was "experimental moves" and "self-damage".

fabelhaft

In terms of objective skill there is not much to discuss, all studies naturally show Steinitz to be "worst" and Carlsen to be "strongest" going by strength of moves. Since the level of the game has improved so much over time such comparisons are unfair to the older players though. I'd say the "worst" classical World Champion going by comparative strength is Euwe, since he maybe never was the best player in the world, and hardly would have qualified for a title match if a proper qualification system had been in place. He lost the matches he played against Bogo, Capa, Keres etc but was of course a great player. 

Steinitz was a few levels greater in that he won all the matches he played for more than 30 years, and was the best active player in the world for decades. He won 25 games in a row against top opposition of his day etc.