The game of chess is believed to be 1,500 years old, There are several origin stories about the famed board game yet one shines above all. The game of Chaturanga a Sanskrit name for battle is believed to be the earliest origin of the game. How this early version of the chess game evolved no one knows. Eventually, the game underwent a lot of changes, and in 600 CE Shataranj was the game that slowly carved modern-day chess as we know it today. This game was particularly popular in northern India, Pakistan, and Central Asia. Today, people around the world continue to play chess, carrying on the ancient tradition of strategic competition.

Despite history not being able to zero down on a common origin, the game certainly has made its space amongst the gaming community. Once again, it takes a sharp mind and even a bright one to play and excel at the game of chess. In doing so, the game of chess allows the most brilliant minds to compete for the world title and we have witnessed quite a few chess gamers etching their names in the history books with their exhilarating display of chess.

Five Greatest Chess Players of All Time

1. Wilhelm Steinitz (1836-1900)

Wihelm Steinitz was an Austrian and later an American chess professional player. Hailing from a humble background in a Jewish family he was the youngest son of his family. With a passion for chess, the young Steinitz started playing chess at the tender age of 12. He then seriously pursued the game in his early twenties and made his way to Prague in 1857 to study maths at Vienna Polytechnic. 

Owing to his rise in the chess circuit, he was sent to represent  Austria in the London 1862 chess tournament. With his encouraging start to his professional career, he was placed in the top ten chess players for some time. It was Steinitz matchup against the chess master Adolf Anderssen in 1866 in London that got him recognition as the world’s best player at that time. 

Not only he became the world’s first chess champion he is also popular for his contribution towards the betterment of the game. He turned into a chess journalist notably The Field, which was the leading magazine of the time in the UK. In 1855 after moving to the United States, he founded ‘The International Chess Magazine’. It is also believed that during his final days, he wrote pieces such as Capital, Labor, and Charity while confined at River Crest Sanitarium in New York.

2. Emanuel Lasker (1868-1941)

Regarded as one of the strongest players in chess history, Emanuel Lasker from an early age of 11 was sent to study mathematics in Berlin. It was his brother who taught him to play chess, in order to supplement his expenditure, Emanuel started playing chess for stakes. Winning his first winter tournament in 1888/89 at Haputturnier acted as a catalyst for his rise in his professional chess career. 

In the spring of 1892, he won two tournaments in London. His arms then spread to New York where he won all thirteen games he played in 1893, a feat only few of the chess player can bestow upon themselves. Lasker then challenged Wilhelm Steinitz, for the world championship winning convincingly with ten wins, five losses, and four draws. 

In November of 1904, Lasker founded Lasker’s Chess Magazine, which ran until 1909. Lasker was in his early 50s when he lost his world title to Capablanca, which was the final lap in his professional chess career. In a bid to propagate his thought of chess, he wrote books on games of mental skills. In 1930, he was a special correspondent for Dutch and German newspapers. Lasker truly inspired a generation of chess enthusiasts and was never shy in his vision of the game. 

3. Jose Raul Capablanca (1888-1942)

Hailing from Havana, Cuba, Raul Capablanca learned to play chess by age four. At the age of eight, he was taken to Havana Chess Club where major tournaments were hosted. In 1902 he came in fourth out of six in the National Championship. Capablanca’s zeal to chase chess saw him participate in events and exhibitions across the US in 1909. Playing 602 games in 27 cities, he scored 96.4%.

Often known by the name of chess machine, Capablanca had a decisive hold over the end game plays. Like any normal player, he committed himself to the lapse in the final phase but he gained many more half-points in the end. He was quite capable of playing tactical chess game but he stuck to his core of iron defensive technique, which then enabled him to go all out in the end game, where he was almost unbeatable. 

In 1911, Capabalanca challenged Lasker for the World Chess Championship. Lasker accepted the challenge with 17 conditions, to which Raul objected some of those as they favoured Lasker so the match did not take place. It wasn’t until 1914, that Capablanca could confront Lasker, it was the St. Petersburg 1914 chess tournament that had a round-robin format. It was in the year 1920 that Lakser resigned his title to Capabalanca stating ‘You have earned the title not by formality of challenge but by your brilliant mastery.”

4. Bobby Fischer (1943-2008)

Bobby Fischer is an influential figure in promoting the game of chess globally. The Grandmaster of chess started his journey when he was only six years old. Fischer was so engrossed in the game that his mom spoke with experts regarding this passion at such an early age. In 1951, Fischer played his first exhibition match. At the age of 12, he joined the Manhattan Chess Club and from there he moved to the Hawthrone Chess Club. 

Fischer truly burst onto the chess scene in 1956 during his tour to Cuba. In 1957, Fischer played two-game matches against former world champion Max Euwe. Still shy of his 15th birthday, the prodigy clinched his first US title in 1958. However, he hit a rough patch soon after with setbacks, accusations, and negative press. The grandmaster needed rejuvenation which he finally achieved after being crowned as the world champion in 1972 during a famous win against Anatoly Karpov.

Bobby Fischer was the first and the only American to be crowned as the world chess champion. Owing to this status, many in the Western world regarded him as the greatest chess player ever. Fischer clearly laid out the foundation for further development and inspired an entire generation. His famous victory lap against the Russian chess empire during the 1960s and 70s still remains influential. 

5. Garry Kasparov (Born 1963)

Garry Kasparov hailed from Baku, Azerbaijan. With a keen interest in chess, at the age of seven Kasparov attended the Young Pioneer Palace in Baku and started to train at Mikhail Botvinnik’s chess school. In 1978, the young Kasparov bagged his first chess master title at the Sokolsky Memorial tournament in Minsk. Aged 15, he also qualified for the USSR Chess Championship making him the youngest player to have acquired this feat. 

It was not long until he had a shot at the World Championship, In 1984, Kasparov was matched against Kaprov, a game that swung like a pendulum. Kasparov won by the score of 5-3 but this was controversial and the match had no result. The match was the first and only world championship match to be abandoned without a result. Owing to this Kasparov’s relationship with FIDE became bleak and in 1993 he completed a break-away. 

Kasparov is also credited with merging computer technology with the game of chess. His collaboration with IBM computers is well known. His ‘Man vs Machine’ championship created a lot of hype in 2003. That same year, Mindscape released the computer game Kasparov Chessmate. He was the first chessmaster to have integrated the power of AI with chess which opened the doors for online chess gaming, a prospect which is booming these days. 

Comparing the Players

Of all the mentioned chess players above, each in their own right is the greatest chess player of their generation. Steinitz laid the foundations for the chess masters to follow the glory path while the likes of Emanuel Lasker, Jose Raul Capablanca, and Bobby Fischer added their perspectives and flavour to the game. Kasparov was the one who took the leap of merging the game with computers, a move that is seen in a positive light. 

The cultural changes these grandmasters brought with their passion for chess are unparalleled. While some of these players were outright for the traditional practice of the game, there were others who looked beyond the boundaries and in doing so created new patterns of the game. The competitive nature of the game has allowed the newer players to test their knowledge of the game and online chess is the preferred option for many players these days. Owing to this growing demand for a reliable and trustworthy online chess game, the Playerzpot chess app has certainly made giant strides in offering the best experience to the chess community. 

A seamless gaming experience, quick match-making, and exciting rewards are all up for grabs at the Playerzpot chess games. More than 1.5 crore gamers have trusted Playerzpot to be their gaming hub, make sure you do not miss out on this ride and join the best chess game today!