The Chess Champions
Les champions des Echecs
At the corner of the XVIth century, the rules of Chess experienced a strong change with the Queen and the Bishop gaining their freed modern moves. It is now generally assumed that this "fashion" was born among the Conversos and Jews living in Spain and who have been brutally expelled out of the country by the Catholic Kings in 1492. The consequence has been fortunate for Chess, since the new rules were quickly disseminated in Italy and in South of France with the exodus of the persecuted Spanish Jews.
Few years after, in 1561, Ruy Lopez, a Spanish priest came to Roma were he defeated Leonardo and Boi, the two best Italian players. The time of international competition had begun.
Ruy Lopez de Segura (Spain, 1530-1580)
Giovani Leonardo da Cutri (Italian, 1542-1587). He took his revenge against Ruy Lopez in 1574 in presence of King Felipe II.
Paolo Boi (Italian, 1525-1598). He also beat Ruy Lopez in 1574. Defeated by Alessandro Salvio (Italian, 1570-1640) only 3 days before his death.
After the death of Boi, Italian masters like Pietro Carrera and Alessandro Salvio continued to dominate Chess.
Gioacchino Greco (Italian, 1600-1634). Named "il Calabrese", became considered the best player of his time.
(For about a century, Chess developed in Europe; Italia, France and England being the most advanced countries for the theory. However, not a single player emerged as the best one, except maybe Alexander Cunningham (1654-1737), a Scottish residing for a while at the Hague in Holland. In Paris, one of the best player was Kermur Sire de Légal (1702-1792), Philidor's teacher)
Philippe Stamma (Syrian, ). Considered the best player since 1737 to his defeat against Philidor in London in 1747.
François André Danican Philidor (France, 1726-1795). Died in London during the French Revolution.
Up to 1824 : Alexandre Louis Honoré Deschapelles (France, 1780-1847). He left Chess for Whist in 1824 when he was defeated by La Bourdonnais.
1824 - 1840 : Louis Charles Mahé de La Bourdonnais (France, 1795-1840). Winner of Alexandre Mc Donnell (England) in 1834.
1840 - 1843 : Pierre Charles Fournier de Saint-Amant (France, 1800-1872). Winner of Staunton in 1843 in London.
1843 - 1851 : Howard Staunton (England, 1810-1874). He took his revenge in 1843 in Paris, self-entitled "World Champion".
1851 - 1858 : Adolf Anderssen (Prussia, 1818-1879). Winner of the London Tournament in 1851 where Staunton finished 4th.
1858 - 1860 : Paul Morphy (USA, 1837-1884). He toured less than 11 month in Europe where he beat Anderssen en 1858. He never played in Europe after and died fool.
1860 - 1866 : Adolf Anderssen, winner of the big London Tournament in 1862.
1866 - 1886 : Wilhelm Steinitz (Austria, 1836-1900). Winner of Anderssen (London, 1866), self-entitled "World Champion".
1886 - 1894 : Wilhelm Steinitz
1894 - 1921 : Emmanuel Lasker (Germany, 1868-1941)
1921 - 1927 : Jose Raul Capablanca (Cuba, 1888-1942)
1927 - 1935 : Alexandre Alekhine (France since 1927 - born Russian, 1892-1946)
1935 - 1937 : Max Euwe (Holland, 1901-1981)
1937 - 1946 : Alexandre Alekhine
Alekhine died before a Championship against Botvinnik could be organized. The FIDE organized a tournament in 1948 in The Hague and Moscow opposing Botvinnik, Smyslov, Reshevsky, Keres and Euwe.
1948 - 1957 : Mikhail Botvinnik (URSS, 1911-1995)
1957 - 1958 : Vassily Smyslov (URSS, 1921-2010)
1958 - 1960 : Mikhail Botvinnik
1960 - 1961 : Mikhail Tal (URSS, 1936-1992)
1961 - 1963 : Mikhail Botvinnik
1963 - 1969 : Tigran Petrossian (URSS, 1929-1984)
1969 - 1972 : Boris Spassky (URSS, Born 1937)
1972 - 1975 : Bobby Fischer (USA, 1943-2008)
1975 - 1985 : Anatoly Karpov (URSS, Born 1951)
1985 - 1993 : Garry Kasparov (URSS, Born 1963)
Re-unification of the Chess World
October 2006, Elista, Kalmykia, Russia: the end of a long confusion?
The so-long waited game between Veselin Topalov and Vladimir Kramnik has been held from 21 September - 13 October 2006 in Elista, the capital of Kalmykia, Federation of Russia. For the legend, there has been a dispute about the use of restrooms.
Vladimir Kramnik is the winner after tie-break, 7.5-8.5. Kramnik is the first unified Chess World Champion since 1993!
September 2007: Mexico City.
The World Chess Championship 2007 was held in Mexico City, from September 12, 2007 to September 30, 2007 to decide the world champion in the board game chess. It was an eight-player, double round robin tournament.
Viswanathan Anand of India won the tournament and the title of World Chess Champion. His winning score was 9 points out of 14, with a total of 4 wins and 10 draws, and Anand was the only undefeated player in the tournament.
Anand was ranked n°1 by FIDE at that time.
October 2008: Bonn, Germany.
It was a best-of-twelve-game match between the World Chess Champion, Viswanathan Anand, and the previous World Champion, Vladimir Kramnik. Kramnik had been granted a rematch after losing his title to Anand at the World Chess Championship 2007.
After 11 games, Viswanathan Anand successfully defended his title by a final score of 6½–4½.
May 2010: Sofia, Bulgaria.
The World Chess Championship 2010 was held in April-May 2010, in Sofia, Bulgaria, between Viswanathan Anand and 2005 FIDE champion Veselin Topalov (who defeated Chess World Cup 2007 winner Gata Kamsky in a match in February 2009). Topalov was ranked n°1 and Anand n°3 by FIDE in November 2009.
After 12 games, Viswanathan Anand kept its title by winning with a score of 6½–5½.
May 2012: Moscow, Russia
FIDE has announced that there will be a championship cycle every two years, beginning with the World Chess Championship 2012. The final stage of qualification ended in May 2011, with Boris Gelfand (Israel) emerging as the winner of the Candidates Tournament and the right to challenge Anand for the World Chess Championship 2012.
In Moscow, State Tretyakov Gallery, May 2012, Viswanathan Anand kept his title by winning on the score of 6-6 and 2½–1½ tie break. In total, 16 games have been disputed (12 regular, 4 in the tie break), 13 were drawn, 2 won by Anand, 1 won by Gelfand.
I do believe that the Chess institutions should change something to attract an interest beyond the circles of specialists. 13 drawn games over 16 is hardly passionating. Sorry to say.
November 2013: Chennai, India
Magnus Carlsen (Norway, born on 30-11-1990), ranked n°1 by FIDE, had won the Candidates Tournament in April 2013 in London. He won the right to compete against Viswanathan Anand, current World Chess Champion and ranked n°8 by FIDE.
The match was scheduled with 12 games. But Carlsen won after 10 games only, scoring 6½–3½.
True chess prodigy, Carlsen was already Chess Grandmaster at the age of 13! His peak ELO is 2872, the highest in history.
Magnus Carlsen (Norway, ranked n°1, ELO 2863) keeps his title winning Viswanathan Anand (India, ranked n°6, ELO 2792), again his challenger, on the score of 6½–4½. The championship has been played in 11 games. Carlsen won 3, lost 1 and 7 were drawn.
The World Chess Championship 2016 was a chess match between reigning world champion Magnus Carlsen (Norway, ELO 2853, n°1) and challenger Sergey Karjakin (Russia, ELO 2772, n°9), to determine the World Chess Champion. Carlsen has been world champion since 2013. Karjakin qualified as challenger by winning the 2016 Candidates Tournament. The World Championship match was played in New York City, USA, between 11 and 30 November, 2016.
The match format was best of 12 games. After seven consecutive draws, Karjakin won the eighth game. Carlsen evened the score by winning the tenth game. All other games were drawn, leaving the match at a 6–6 tie, meaning that tie breaks were to decide the match.
Carlsen won the four-game rapid chess tie break 3–1, with wins in the third and fourth games, to win the match and retain the title of World Chess Champion.
1927 - 1944 : Vera Menchik-Stevenson (URSS then England, 1906-1944)
1950 - 1953 : Ludmilla Rudenko (URSS, 1904-1986)
1953 - 1956 : Elizavyeta Bykova (URSS, 1913-1989)
1956 - 1958 : Olga Rubtsova (URSS, Born 1909)
1958 - 1962 : Elizavyeta Bykova (URSS, 1913-1989)
1962 - 1978 : Nona Gaprindachvili (URSS, Born 1941)
1978 - 1991 : Maia Chiburdanidze (URSS then Georgia, Born 1961)
1991 - 1993 : Jun Xie (China, Born 1970)
1993 - 1996 : Zsusza Polgar (Hungary, Born 1969)
1996 - 2000 : Jun Xie (China, Born 1970)
12/2000, New Delhi: Jun Xie (China) 2.5 - Kanying Qin (China) 1.5
12/2001, Moscow: Chen Zhu (China) 3 - Alexandra Kosteniuk
06/2004, Elista: Antoaneta Stefanova (Bulgaria)2.5 - Ekaterina
Kovalevskaya (Russia) 0.5
03/2006, Ekaterinburg: Xu Yuhua won against the runner-up IM Alisa Galliamova of Russia by taking 2.5 points on the third game of a four game match for the title.
09/2008, Nalchik, Russia: Alexandra Kosteniuk (Russia), who beat Hou Yifan in the final by 2.5 to 1.5. A total of 11 players did not arrive at the Championship. Besides the six Georgian players (Maia Chiburdanidze, Lela Javakhishvili, Maia Lomineishvili, Nino Khurtsidze, Sopiko Khukhashvili, and Sopio Gvetadze), these were Marie Sebag (France), Irina Krush (United States), Ekaterina Korbut (Russia), Tea Bosboom-Lanchava (Netherlands), and Karen Zapata (Peru). The world's no. 1 female player, Judit Polgar, has never competed for the Women's World Championship and did not play this time. The world's no. 3 female player, Xie Jun, had played little chess in recent years (four rated games since 2005) and also did not play.
12/2010: The Women's World Chess Championship, 2010 took place in Hatay (Turkey) from December 2 through 25. The final was won by Hou Yifan (China, born 1994) against Ruan Lufei (China) with a 5-3 score making her the youngest women's world chess champion in history.
Beginning from 2011, the Women's World Chess Championship will be held annually in alternating formats. In even years a 64 player knock out system will be used, in the odd years a classical match featuring only two players will be held.
The 2011 edition was contested between the 2010 champion Hou Yifan and Koneru Humpy (India) in Tirana (Albania). Hou Yifan won 5½-2½ and kept her title.
12/2012: A knock out tournament in Khanty Mansiysk, Russia has been won by Anna Ushenina (Ukraine) against Antoaneta Stefanova (Bulgaria). Hou Yifan went out in the second round.
09/2013: A match opposed Anna Ushenina (Ukraine) and Hou Yifan (China) in Taizhou, China.
Hou Yifan won 5½-1½ and retook her title.
03/2016: Hou Yifan defeated Mariya Muzychuk 6-3 to reclaim the Women's World Chess Championship 2016 title for her 4th championship in Lviv, Ukraine.