List of World Chess Champions
World Chess Champions are players who have won a match or tournament for the World Championship at chess. Both men and women can become champion, but no woman has ever been a challenger for the title. There is, however, a separate championship for women. There are also separate championships for specific age groups.
Before 1886, there was no official championship held, but some players were thought to be pre-eminent. From 1948 on, the World Chess Federation FIDE held the championships. Between 1993 and 2006 there were two world champion titles, the FIDE one and the classical one.
The 2013 World Championship match took place between Anand and Magnus Carlsen (challenger) in Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu, where Anand grew up. Usually, world champions had been played on neutral ground. Fischer played Spassky in Iceland; Alekhine played Capablanca in Buenos Aires. The Soviets always played in Moscow. However, sponsorship is needed for these matches, and the decision to accept the Chennai bid was taken by FIDE. The Challenger was victorious winning 3 games and achieving the necessary 6.5 points to win the title at the end of game 10. Magnus Carlsen (b. 1990 and from Norway) is therefore the current World Chess Champion.
These players are included (pre-18th century) on little more than opinion, and (18th century) on the basis of more substantial information. Some authors of important early works on chess are noted.
|Francesch Vicent (author)||~1475||Spain First printed book on chess. (Catalonia)|
|Luis Ramirez de Lucena (author)||~1490||Spain First printed book on chess to have survived.|
|Pedro Damiano (author)||~1512||Portugal|
|Ruy López de Segura (author)||1559–1575||Spain|
|Leonardo da Cutro||1575||Kingdom of Naples|
|Paolo Boi||1575||Kingdom of Sicily|
|Giulio Polerio||~1580||Kingdom of Naples|
|Alessandro Salvio (author)||~1600||Kingdom of Naples|
|Gioachino Greco (author)||~1620–1634||Kingdom of Naples|
|Pietro Carrera||~1640||Kingdom of Sicily|
|Ercole del Rio (author)||~1750||Italy (Duchy of Modena)|
|Giambattista Lolli (author)||~1760||Italy (Duchy of Modena)|
|Domenico Ponziani (author)||~1770||Italy (Duchy of Modena)|
|Johann Baptist Allgaier (author)||~1795–~1815||Austrian Empire|
World Champions pre-FIDE
These players are included on the basis of their winning matches against credible opponents. Champions are numbered from Steinitz onwards, because his match against Zukertort was publicly declared as a world championship and generally accepted.
|Louis-Charles Mahé de La Bourdonnais||1821–1840||France|
|Pierre Charles Fournier de Saint-Amant||1840–1843||France|
|Paul Morphy||1858–1860||United States|
|1. Wilhelm Steinitz||1886–1894|| Austria-Hungary|
|2. Emanuel Lasker||1894–1921||Germany|
|3. José Raúl Capablanca||1921–1927||Cuba|
|4. Alexander Alekhine||1927–1935
|5. Max Euwe||1935–1937||Netherlands|
FIDE world champions 1948–1993
Long matches, initially best of 24 games.
|Soviet Union (Russia)|
|7||Vasily Smyslov||1957–1958||Soviet Union (Russia)|
|8||Mikhail Tal||1960–1961||Soviet Union (Latvia)|
|9||Tigran Petrosian||1963–1969||Soviet Union (Armenia)|
|10||Boris Spassky||1969–1972||Soviet Union (Russia)|
|11||Robert J. Fischer||1972–1975||United States|
|12||Anatoly Karpov||1975–1985||Soviet Union (Russia)|
|13||Garry Kasparov||1985–1993||Soviet Union (Russia)|
FIDE world champions 1993–2006
These knock-out events are separately numbered.
Classical world champions 1993–2006
These are matches of the traditional kind, and of 15 or 20 games.
Undisputed world champions 2006–present
Various formats have been used, especially during Carlsen's tenure.
Women's World Champions
|Vera Menchik||1927–1944||Czechoslovakia / England|
|Lyudmila Rudenko||1950–1953||Soviet Union (Ukraine)|
|Elisabeth Bykova||1953–1956||Soviet Union (Russia)|
|Olga Rubtsova||1956–1958||Soviet Union (Russia)|
|Elisabeth Bykova||1958–1962||Soviet Union (Russia)|
|Nona Gaprindashvili||1962–1978||Soviet Union / Georgia|
|Maia Chiburdanidze||1978–1991||Soviet Union / Georgia|
|Xie Jun||1991–1996||People's Republic of China|
|Susan Polgar||1996–1999||Hungary / United States|
|Xie Jun||1999–2001||People's Republic of China|
|Zhu Chen||2001–2004||People's Republic of China|
|Xu Yuhua||2006–2008||People's Republic of China|
|Hou Yifan||2010–2012||People's Republic of China|
|Yifan Hou||2013–2015||People's Republic of China|
|Hou Yifan||2016-2017||People's Republic of China|
|Tan Zhongyi||2017–2018||People's Republic of China|
|Ju Wenjun||2018–||People's Republic of China|
- Murray H.J.R. (1913). A history of chess. Benjamin Press (originally published by Oxford University Press). ISBN 0-936317-01-9. OCLC 13472872.
- The author was a Catalan. Until 1716, Catalonia, a principality of the Crown of Aragon, kept its own Constitution, language, usages and laws.
- Winter, Edward G. (ed) 1981. World chess champions. Pergamon. ISBN 0-08-024094-1.
- Hooper, David and Whyld, Kenneth 1992. The Oxford Companion to Chess 2nd ed, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-866164-9