The Top Chess Players in the World

GM Ulf Andersson

Ulf Andersson
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.
Full name
Ulf Andersson
Jun 27, 1951 (age 72)‎
Place of birth
Västerås, Sweden



Ulf Andersson is a Swedish grandmaster.  He is highly regarded as one of the best positional players of his time - at his peak he reached #4 on the FIDE rating list. Andersson is a renowned endgame specialist, and he created a reputation for winning “unwinnable” games.  Here is an example of Andersson at his finest, pulling out a win with the tiniest of advantages while keeping the initiative the entire game.  This is all after exchanging queens extremely early (something he is quite fond of doing):

In 1970, Andersson became an International Master.  In 1972, he earned his Grandmaster title.  He has an impressive list of tournament victories that includes prestigious titles like the Swedish Championship, Dortmund, Wijk Aan Zee, and Reggio Emilia.  Andersson is not just known for his endgame play.  One of his most memorable victories came when he brilliantly handed Anatoly Karpov his first loss as world champion (you can locate this game under the "Best Game" section below).  In this game, Andersson plays energetically and sacrifices the exchange for long term pressure on the dark squares - it is, simply put, a masterpiece.

Here is an example of Andersson playing former World Champion, Mikhail Tal.  In this game, Andersson defeats the master of tactical play and combinations with a blend of positional and tactical elements, before transposing into a winning endgame:

Later in his career, Andersson took up correspondence chess rather seriously, becoming a correspondence grandmaster and also the world’s leading player in this format. Very few players in the world have been as successful as Andersson in both of these game formats.  Andersson has become a cult hero for those who enjoy draining the dynamic potential out of a position, preferring to play technical positions instead. This idea is highlighted in world-class author Cyrus Lakdawala’s recent work, How Ulf Beats Black.  

Andersson continues to play today, and maintains a 2518 FIDE rating (at the age of 68).  His play has been used in endgame studies, videos, and articles for decades now, as he handles both complex and simple positions with the greatest ease and beautiful simplicity. He is a living chess legend, who continues to inspire positional and endgame-oriented players around the world.

Ulf Andersson 1983
GM Ulf Andersson in 1983. Photo: Rob Bogaerts/Dutch National Archive, CC

Best Game

Most Played Openings