magnus carlsen press conference

Best Chess Players of All Time

Throughout chess history, there have been so many great players, that it’s hard to determine who the “best” chess player really is/was. In theory, the best possible chess player is somebody who never makes a mistake in chess (such a player’s rating is estimated to be around 3600). However, no living player has ever achieved this rating. The first person on my list is the grandmaster who has come the closest.


Magnus Carlsen

Magnus Carlsen is currently the World Chess Champion, and has been for three years now. He holds a FIDE rating of 2838 and his peak rating was 2882 in May 2014. At just age 15, Carlsen became the youngest player ever to go above rating 2600 (also holds the record for being the youngest to surpass rating 2700 and 2800). The 2882 peak that he reached makes him the record holder for having the highest FIDE chess rating of all time. Carlsen has defended his title of World Chess Champion for three years now(2013-2016). His aggressive and successful achievements at such a young age makes him an inspiration to chess players of all ages. Magnus Carlsen is only 26, leaving him many years to still make a mark on chess history. But with what he’s already achieved, it’s possible to make the argument that he is the best chess player of all time to this date, but others could also argue it’s too soon to make such a claim.


Bobby Fischer

Bobby Fischer is a name in chess that most people know, and he himself has been called the greatest chess player of all time. Although his peak rating only reached 2785, there are different variables to take into account. For instance, input from many analysts and supercomputers believe that Fischer is the best because of his lack of mistakes. Computers have computed and compared all of his recorded games to come to the conclusion that, based on the amount of “perfect” moves he plays, he is the best. Fischer eventually claimed to have become bored of standard chess, leading him to create and play a chess variant now known as Chess960. Fischer was also believed to have psychological issues due to his radical views and behaviors. Either way, Fischer will go down in history as one of the best (if not the best) chess players of all time, known for his aggressive play style and apparent ability to see into the chess “matrix”.


Garry Kasparov

Garry Kasparov is a great contender for being the best chess player of all time (he is undoubtedly one of the best). Carlsen personally referred to him as being the greatest of all time in his peak years, while Fischer considered all of his games to be staged. One can claim Kasparov as the best chess player of all time for entirely different reasons compared to the last two. It’s too soon to tell for Carlsen, but Fischer’s peak fell off relatively early. This may be because he didn’t care much about continuing his peak years. But Kasparov’s peak went on for years (20+, in fact). He was World Champion for many years, and eventually split off from FIDE due to disagreements. At age 22, Kasparov obtained the record of being the youngest person to ever become a chess world champion. At age 17, he became a Grandmaster.


Carlsen holds the record for the highest rating in chess history. Fischer is considered the closest thing a human has come to a “perfect” chess player. And Kasparov maintained a strong chess reputation with his many years as world champion. These players are all uniquely different, but one thing is the same: they’re all very, very good at chess.

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