Chess Players

Players of the board game of chess are known as chess players. The game of chess is played by two players on a checkered board known as chessboard with 64 squares. Each player begins the game with 16 pieces of six types that are moved across the board according to certain rules with the aim to checkmate the opponent’s king. Chess is a very popular game played by millions around the world. Chess is believed to have its origins in 6th century Eastern India from where it gradually evolved to its modern form. The first modern chess tournament was held in the mid 19th century and from then on the popularity of the game has been on a rise. The official rules of the game are defined by the World Chess Federation. Several major championships are held every year which includes the World Chess Championship, Women’s World Championship, Junior World Championship, and the World Computer Chess Championship. Since chess is a strategic game that tests one’s mental ability, a chess player’s strength derives from his chess talent, mental agility, and character. This section provides you information about the life and works of various famous chess players from all over the world.

More From Chess Players

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite Chess Players

 1 Bobby Fischer

Bobby Fischer.
4
Famous As: Chess Grandmaster
Birthdate: March 9, 1943
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: January 17, 2008

Bobby Fischer began as a chess prodigy in his teens and went on to become the youngest "grandmaster," at 15. His participation in a politically controversial match in Yugoslavia led to the revocation of his U.S. passport and his arrest. He spent the final years of his life in Iceland.

 2 Magnus Carlsen

Magnus Carlsen.
8
Famous As: World Chess Champion
Birthdate: November 30, 1990
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Tønsberg

At 13, chess prodigy Magnus Carlsen became the youngest grandmaster. His rating of 2,872 was the highest ever in history. He also recorded the longest unbeaten run in chess. Named one of Cosmopolitan’s “sexiest men of 2013,”he  has also modeled for G-Star Raw, owns a chess-app company, and loves football.

 3 Garry Kasparov

Garry Kasparov.
6
Famous As: Chess Player
Birthdate: April 13, 1963
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Baku

Garry Kasparov is a Russian chess player. A grandmaster, Kasparov is a former World Chess Champion who was ranked No. 1 for 255 months during his career that spanned 21 years. After his retirement, Garry Kasparov focused on writing and politics; he founded a social movement called the United Civil Front, which is part of an opposition coalition in Moscow.

 4 Hikaru Nakamura

Hikaru Nakamura.
6
Famous As: Chess Player
Birthdate: December 9, 1987
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Hirakata, Osaka Prefecture, Japan

 5 Anatoly Karpov

Anatoly Karpov.
4
Famous As: Former World Chess Champion
Birthdate: May 23, 1951
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Zlatoust, Russia

Russian chess grandmaster, Anatoly Karpov, was the official world champion from 1975 to 1985, before finally being defeated by Garry Kasparov. With over 160 first-place finishes, Karpov is widely considered one of the greatest players in history. Since his retirement, he has involved himself in several humanitarian causes. He has an extensive stamp collection.

 6 Mikhail Tal

Mikhail Tal.
4
Famous As: Chess Player
Birthdate: November 9, 1936
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Riga
Died: June 28, 1992

Mikhail Tal was a Soviet Latvian chess player. Widely regarded as one of the best attacking players and a creative genius, Tal was renowned for his unpredictability and improvisation. He was also known as the magician from Riga for his daring, combinatorial playing style. Since 2006, the Mikhail Tal Memorial has been annually held in Moscow to honor Tal's memory.

Recommended Lists:

 7 Boris Spassky

Boris Spassky
4
Famous As: Chess Grandmaster
Birthdate: January 30, 1937
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia

Boris Spassky is a Russian chess player who held the World Chess Championship title from 1969 to 1972. He was part of the famous World Chess Championship match in 1972 where he lost his championship title to Bobby Fischer of the United States. In Bobby Fischer's 2014 biopic Pawn Sacrifice, Boris Spassky is portrayed by American actor Isaac Liev Schreiber.

You May Like

 8 Paul Morphy

Paul Morphy
4
Famous As: Chess player
Birthdate: June 22, 1837
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
Died: July 10, 1884
Recommended Lists:

 9 José Raúl Capablanca

José Raúl Capablanca
4
Famous As: Chess Player
Birthdate: November 19, 1888
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Havana, Cuba
Died: March 8, 1942

 10 Wesley So

Wesley So
4
Famous As: Chess Player
Birthdate: October 9, 1993
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bacoor, Philippines
Recommended Lists:

 11 Samuel Reshevsky

Samuel Reshevsky.
4
Famous As: Chess Player
Birthdate: November 26, 1911
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Ozorków, Poland
Died: April 4, 1992

 12 Levon Aronian

Levon Aronian
4
Famous As: Chess Player
Birthdate: October 6, 1982
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Yerevan, Armenia
Recommended Lists:

 13 Viktor Korchnoi

Viktor Korchnoi
4
Famous As: Chess Player
Birthdate: March 23, 1931
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Died: June 6, 2016

Viktor Korchnoi was a writer and chess grandmaster. He is widely regarded as one of the best players never to have achieved the World Chess Championship title. He played chess until old age and became the oldest player to be ranked in the top 100 players list when he won the World Senior Chess Championship in 2006 at age 75.

 14 Emanuel Lasker

Emanuel Lasker
4
Famous As: Chess player
Birthdate: December 24, 1868
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Barlinek, Poland
Died: January 11, 1941
Recommended Lists:

 15 Mikhail Botvinnik

Mikhail Botvinnik
3
Famous As: Chess player
Birthdate: August 17, 1911
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Repino, Russia
Died: May 5, 1995

Soviet chess player Mikhail Botvinnik was a three-time World Champion. At 14, he defeated the reigning world champion José Raúl Capablanca in an exhibition match. He was also a skilled computer engineer. He adopted a scientific approach to chess and penned several books on chess, too.

 16 Tigran Petrosian

Tigran Petrosian
3
Famous As: Chess player, Writer
Birthdate: June 17, 1929
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Tbilisi, Georgia
Died: August 13, 1984
Recommended Lists:

 17 Veselin Topalov

Veselin Topalov
3
Famous As: Chess Player
Birthdate: March 15, 1975
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Ruse, Bulgaria

 18 Wilhelm Steinitz

Wilhelm Steinitz
3
Famous As: Chess Master
Birthdate: May 17, 1836
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Prague
Died: August 12, 1900

 19 Alexander Grischuk

Alexander Grischuk
3
Famous As: Chess Player
Birthdate: October 31, 1983
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia

Russian super grandmaster Alexander Grischuk is also a three-time World Blitz winner and one of two people to have earned multiple blitz world titles. He has also won four World Team Chess Championship gold medals, including an individual medal, and two Olympiad gold medals. He is married to grandmaster Kateryna Lagno.

 20 Peter Svidler

Peter Svidler
3
Famous As: Chess player
Birthdate: June 17, 1976
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg

Russian grandmaster Peter Svidler had started playing chess at age 6. Initially mentored by Andrey Lukin, he later grew up to win the Russian Chess Championship eight times. However, in spite of competing in three World Championship tournaments, he never won the world title. He now appears as a chess commentator.

Recommended Lists:

 21 Alexandra Botez

Alexandra Botez
6
Famous As: Chess player
Birthdate: September 24, 1995
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Dallas, Texas, United States

 22 Vasily Smyslov

Vasily Smyslov
3
Famous As: Chess grandmaster
Birthdate: March 24, 1921
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Moscow, Soviet Union
Died: March 27, 2010

While he created a record with his 17 Chess Olympiad medals, Russian grandmaster Vasily Smyslov has also been a World Chess Champion. He had begun playing chess at age 6, inspired by his chess player father. Initially an opera singer, he stepped into professional chess after being rejected in an audition.

 23 Boris Gelfand

Boris Gelfand
3
Famous As: Chess player, Non-fiction writer
Birthdate: June 24, 1968
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Minsk

 24 Joshua Waitzkin

Joshua Waitzkin
6
Famous As: Chess Player
Birthdate: December 4, 1976
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States

Apart from being an International Master in chess, Joshua Waitzkin has also won several medals in the martial art Taiji and is also a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. His life inspired the book Searching for Bobby Fischer and the movie of the same name. He has also penned two books.

 25 Phiona Mutesi

Phiona Mutesi.
4
Famous As: Chess Player
Birthdate: 1996 AD
Birthplace: Kampala, Uganda

Hailed as the Chess Queen of Africa, Phiona Mutesi rose from the Kampala slums to represent Uganda at the Women's Chess Olympiads. Her rags-to-riches story inspired a book and the 2016 Disney movie Queen of Katwe. A school drop-out, she was introduced to chess by a Christian sports mission.

 26 Aron Nimzowitsch

Aron Nimzowitsch
3
Famous As: Chess player
Birthdate: November 7, 1886
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Riga, Latvia
Died: March 16, 1935

Latvian-born Aron Nimzowitsch escaped to Berlin and then to Copenhagen to avoid being drafted into the army during the Russian Revolution. He is best known for his cult classic book My System, which promotes the Hypermodern school of chess. In spite of repeated attempts, he failed to secure a world title.

Recommended Lists:

 27 Paul Keres

Paul Keres
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: January 6, 1916
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Narva
Died: June 5, 1975

 28 Max Euwe

Max Euwe
3
Famous As: Chess player, Mathematician
Birthdate: May 20, 1901
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Died: November 26, 1981
Recommended Lists:

 29 Hou Yifan

Hou Yifan
4
Famous As: Chess player
Birthdate: February 27, 1994
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Xinghua, China

 30 Adolf Anderssen

Adolf Anderssen
3
Famous As: Chess Master
Birthdate: July 6, 1818
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Wrocław, Poland
Died: March 13, 1879
Recommended Lists:

 31 Demis Hassabis

Demis Hassabis
4
Famous As: Engineer, Chess player
Birthdate: July 27, 1976
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: London

Demis Hassabis is a British neuroscientist, artificial intelligence (AI) researcher, entrepreneur, and video game designer. He is credited with co-founding DeepMind for which he is currently serving as the chief executive officer. Over the years, he has won several prestigious awards, such as the Mullard Award. In 2017, he was named among the 100 most influential people in Time 100.

 32 Anna Rudolf

Anna Rudolf
4
Famous As: Chess player
Birthdate: November 12, 1987
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Miskolc, Hungary
Recommended Lists:

 33 Howard Staunton

Howard Staunton
3
Famous As: Chess Master
Birthdate: April 1, 1810
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: London, England, United Kingdom
Died: June 22, 1874

 34 Ian Nepomniachtchi

Ian Nepomniachtchi
3
Famous As: Chess Player
Birthdate: July 14, 1990
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Bryansk, Russia

Russian super grandmaster Ian Nepomniachtchi is known for winning titles such as the 2020/21 Candidates Tournament. He has a good record against world champions such as Vladimir Kramnik, Viswanathan Anand, and Garry Kasparov. He is also a professional player of the online strategy game Dota and plays on chess.com as lachesisq.

Recommended Lists:

 35 Bent Larsen

Bent Larsen
3
Famous As: Chess player
Birthdate: March 4, 1935
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Thisted, Denmark
Died: September 9, 2010

 36 Maurice Ashley

Maurice Ashley
4
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: March 6, 1966
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Saint Andrew, Jamaica
Recommended Lists:

 37 Ding Liren

Ding Liren
3
Famous As: Chess player
Birthdate: October 24, 1992
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Wenzhou, China

 38 Alexei Shirov

Alexei Shirov
3
Famous As: Chess player
Birthdate: July 4, 1972
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Riga, Latvia

 39 François-André Danican Philidor

François-André Danican Philidor
3
Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: September 7, 1726
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Dreux, France
Died: August 31, 1795

 40 Richard Farleigh

Richard Farleigh
3
Famous As: Chess player, Investor, Businessperson
Birthdate: November 9, 1960
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Kyabram

Richard Farleigh is an Australian reality television personality and private investor. Apart from investing in major companies like Wolfson Microelectronics and Evolution Group, Farleigh is also credited with setting up an advisory firm called H2O Markets which he launched in 2010. A former chess player, Richard Farleigh has represented Bermuda and Monaco in the 31st and 34th Chess Olympiad respectively.

 41 Teimour Radjabov

Teimour Radjabov
3
Famous As: Chess player
Birthdate: March 12, 1987
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Baku, Azerbaijan

 42 Lyudmila Rudenko

Lyudmila Rudenko
3
Famous As: Chess player
Birthdate: July 27, 1904
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Lubny, Ukraine
Died: February 28, 1986

Ukrainian chess player Lyudmila Rudenko made history by becoming the second world women’s chess champion. Though she had begun playing chess as a child, she took it up seriously while on an economic planning meeting in Moscow. She also evacuated countless children during the Siege of Leningrad.

 43 Siegbert Tarrasch

Siegbert Tarrasch
3
Famous As: Chess player
Birthdate: March 5, 1862
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Wrocław, Poland
Died: February 17, 1934

 44 Qiyu Zhou

Qiyu Zhou
3
Famous As: Chess player
Birthdate: January 6, 2000
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Jingzhou, China

 45 Sopiko Guramishvili

Sopiko Guramishvili
3
Famous As: Chess player
Birthdate: January 1, 1991
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Tbilisi, Georgian SSR, Soviet Union

 46 Yasser Seirawan

Yasser Seirawan
3
Famous As: Chess player, Non-fiction writer
Birthdate: March 24, 1960
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Damascus

 47 Judit Polgár

Judit Polgár
6
Famous As: Chess player
Birthdate: July 23, 1976
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Budapest, Hungary

 48 Vasyl Ivanchuk

Vasyl Ivanchuk
2
Famous As: Chess player
Birthdate: March 18, 1969
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Berezhany

 49 Fabiano Caruana

Fabiano Caruana
4
Famous As: Chess Player
Birthdate: July 30, 1992
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Miami, Florida, United States

 50 Jennifer Shahade

Jennifer Shahade
3
Famous As: Chess player
Birthdate: December 31, 1980
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
See Also