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andy94 11 ( +1 | -1 )
Best player ever Who is, for you, the best chess player ever?
My favourite 3 are:

1) Bobby Fischer.

2) Mikhail Tal.

3) Garry Kasparov.

Who do you prefer?
kansaspatzer 3 ( +1 | -1 )
1) Kasparov
2) Fischer
3) Capablanca
lighttotheright 10 ( +1 | -1 )
1) Kasparov
2) Alekhine
3) Fischer

In that order. They dominated during their reigns.
gt2win 16 ( +1 | -1 )
1. Capablanca
2. Fischer
3. Morphy

Although i don't know too much about it, these three were probably the most talented during their eras...
chessbaker 18 ( +1 | -1 )
1)fischer
2)karpov
3)kasparov
I wonder why in this kind of poll's there is so less karpov.maybe his style is not so
spectacular but come on he is at least one of the best players ever!!!!
andy94 52 ( +1 | -1 )
1) Thank u for posting.
I wanna say this.
Kasparov was 2851( Elo rating) in 1999-2000
Fischer was about 2790 in 1972!!!!

Considering Elo inflation Fischer's score is about 2900, now!
I say this cause I saw there are lots of great chess players who have about a
2600-2700 rating now, like Caruana (born in 1992). Now, I respect them but I don't think they are only 100 points down Fischer.
Sorry do you know if there were a chess game between Tal and Karpov? Who won? Thank u!
More: Chess App
chessbaker 27 ( +1 | -1 )
www.chessgames.com
farhadexists 3 ( +1 | -1 )
1. Capablanca
2. Fischer
3. Botvinnik
tugger 26 ( +1 | -1 )
1. Bobby Fischer
2. tugger
3. Garry Kasparov

Give it another six months and I'll surpass the great RJF.

OK, seriously, swap me for Alekhine. There's my top three.
greenrat777 12 ( +1 | -1 )
1 wilhelm steinnitz ( 1834 - 1900 ) 2 paul morphy 1837 - 1884 ) 3 adolf andersen ( 1818 - 1879 )
premium_steve 3 ( +1 | -1 )
1.mikhail tal
2.bent larsen
3.me
chessnovice 5 ( +1 | -1 )
... 1. Capablanca
2. Fischer
3. Lasker

I'm the first to put Lasker in the top 3? :[
calmrolfe 25 ( +1 | -1 )
1. Alekhine
2. Joseph Henry Blackburne
3......and my third drinking partner would be Harry Nelson Pillsbury. My ! what a bar tab those three would run up !!


The irony is that the more whisky you poured down Blackburne's throat..the better he played !!
steverand67 47 ( +1 | -1 )
Where's the recognition for Anatoly? Anatoly Karpov seems to be rather missing the attention he deserves here. Although his style was not flashy, he dominated most opposition with his innate mastery of positional play, rarely lost, and ruled over the world chess scene for over a decade before finally losing an epic match against the amazing Garry Kasparov. Here's my top 3:

1) Kasparov
2) Karpov
3) Fischer, although had he played longer he would probably be at least #2...
vulpecula 12 ( +1 | -1 )
The players whose games I enjoy the most are -

1. Mikhail Tal
2. Garry Kasparov
3. Anatoly Karpov

hmmm - all Russians
ogedei 35 ( +1 | -1 )
@lighttotheright: As you know, Fischer's reign saw him win zero games... I'd hardly call that 'dominating'. (A technicality, I know, but a salient one).

@vulpecula: All Soviets, not Russians...

That said, and realising that I don't have the talent or skill to split the chessic difference between any of the giants already mentioned on this page, I'd go:
1. Kasparov
2. Karpov
3. Fischer
andy94 35 ( +1 | -1 )
Well, I saw some people believes Fischer isn't been as great as Kasparov or Karpov or Capablanca because his reign saw him win 0 games, like ogedei rightly say, but I really think he would beat Karpov in 1975 and in other situations...and I think Kasparov, too. Well, I know everyone has the own idea, too, but for me he was a perfect chess player.....Nobody like him.

R.I.P.
lighttotheright 41 ( +1 | -1 )
I was reluctant to give Fischer a top 3 mention. I don't even particularly like the guy; but you cannot ignore him. Nobody could ignore him!

Before he dropped out, he did dominate the chess scene. He just had trouble getting the actual World Championship because of politics. Once he got the Championship, he started a childish game (in my opinion) and went bye bye. That doesn't lessen the fact that he dominated the game before that.
bobdoleeatsfood 5 ( +1 | -1 )
I'll go with:

1. Fischer
2. Steinitz
3. Emanuel Lasker
andy94 59 ( +1 | -1 )
I can agree with your opinion lighttotheright. In fact politic ruined Fischer's career, but he was right when he said chess was in Soviet control ( Quick draws when they played against compatriots to concentrate against foreign players). Of course he could seem a little "crazy" for his requests, but he was a genius. Maybe nobody liked his behaviour, but that's the difference between chess champions like Karpov, Kasparov, Capablanca, Steinitz, Tal (even if he was very a "special chess player", too), Alekhine, Lasker, Smyslov and so on.....and Robert James Fischer.
eqj2 24 ( +1 | -1 )
Sorry Fisher was a great chess player. BUT he had a fuse or two burnt out. If this was not to happen he would of been one of the ultimate greats no questions asked. But it happened weather politics or what ever he is still good but not a top #1 or #2. #3 is almost to much. IMHO
easy19 7 ( +1 | -1 )
1 Michail Moisejevitsj Botvinnik
2 Jose Raul Capablanca
3 Max Euwe
ccmcacollister 43 ( +1 | -1 )
The BEST? I don't want to think about it~! But here's the FUNNEST players, at-the-board.

1. Bronstein
2. Tal
3. Velimirovic

Oddest looking play at the board, that still won games:

1. Viktors Pupils
2. Suttles
3. Grob

Funniest players off-the-board, during play or match & while remaining sane ...
(But, Maybe Rubeinstein really DID attract flies!? Who really knows! )
1. Topalov, et al ~!
2. Fischer
3. Nimzovich
tho Short might get an honorable mention?

ionadowman 23 ( +1 | -1 )
Craig... ... For you "oddballest" player list, did you consider Michael Basman (England) or, maybe the World Champion of Strange: Ujtelky?

I might include a game from the Wizard of Weird (Ujtelky) next time I'm this way...
cheers,
Ion
ionadowman 150 ( +1 | -1 )
As promised ... ... A candidate for the weirdest:

White: Kluger, Black: Ujtelky; Polanica Zdroj, 1966
1.d4 g6 2.c4 Bg7 3.g3 c5 4.d5 d6 5.Nc3 Bd7
"Knights before bishops; yeah, right!"
6.Bg2 Qc8 7.Bf4 Na6 8.Qd2 Nc7 9.a4 a6 10.a5 Rb8
Black isn't what you'd call aggressively placed, eh?
11.Nf3 h6?!
"Come and get me, Tiger!"
12.e4 g5 13.Be3 f6 ...
Annotation from Keene & Botterill: "Is this just an ad hoc measure to avoid a crushing [e5] ... or does Ujtelky really want to do this?" Black's case looks utterly woeful...
w
14.b4! cxb4 15.Na4 Bh3 16.0-0 ...
If instead 16.Nb6? Bxg2! 17.Nxc8 Bxh1, then picks up a second minor piece with a sizable material edge.
16...Qg5 17.Bxh3 Qxh3 18.Bb6!? ...
(18.c5!)
18...Rc8 19.Nd4 Kf7 20.Nf5?! ...
Is White losing the plot? 20.f4 looks to force open a file for the f1-rook.
20...h5! 21.c5 Nb5 22.f4 h4
A very edgy position for Black! (So to speak...) How on earth can Black survive this (even with his little bit of an attack down the h-file)?
w
23.fxg5 hxg3 24.Nxg3 Kg6
Keene & Botterill again: "In whose attack will the black king join?"
25.Rf5
(25.e5!?)
25...Qh4 26.Rf4 Qxg5 27.cxd6 Nxd6 28.Raf1 Bh6 29.Qe2 Qe5
30.Rg4+ Bg5 31.Nf5 Nxf5 32.exf5+ Kh6 33.Qxe5 fxe5 34.h4 Bf4
Once the BN reaches f6, Black's game will begin to look respectable.
35.Rg6+ Kh5 36.Bf2 Nh6
Of course.
37.Rb6 Nxf5 38.Rxb4 Rc2 39.Rfb1 Rg8+ 40.Kf1 Ne3+
41.Ke1 Bg3
(0-1) After 42.Bxg3 Rxg3 White can not stop the mate.

This was no "Marshall swindle"; this was daylight robbery.

Cheers,
Ion

blake78613 108 ( +1 | -1 )
You need to define what you mean by best.

Team Kasparov and Team Karpov would probably be the toughest teams to beat in match play. But I think that Kasparov and Karpov were technicians that were supported by teams of experts. Botvinnik said of Karpov that he was as barren of ideas as old woman. They had team members that would go over their opponents games with a fine tooth comb and figure out opening novelties for them especially for that opponent.

They mostly played when games were adjourned at move 40, so they would make sure that a critical point was not reached before that point, and then have their endgame teams work out a plan for them while they rested.

If you could send Kasparov and Karpov back to 1850 and erase from their minds all the developments in chess theory after 1850; and put either in a Match with Paul Morphy I think Morphy wins easily.
lighttotheright 50 ( +1 | -1 )
I admire Paul Morphy for his genius. But you cannot go back in time and erase people's memories or bring Morphy to the present day and get him up to speed in any reasonable amount of time.

In essence, it is an unfair comparison no matter how you look at it.

Karl Ernst Adolf Anderssen was perhaps a peer to his genius. He created some of the most classic brilliant games in history that to this day can not be surpassed. Who can argue with the likes of the "Immortal Game" (1851) or the "Evergreen Game" (1852). They are masterpieces.
blake78613 64 ( +1 | -1 )
Anderssen certainly could create some fantastic combinations. His flaw was that he tried to force his will upon the position, while Morphy's play seemed to flow organically from the position. While you can't send people back and forth in time, you don't have to with Morphy and Anderssen. They played a match and Morphy won decisively. I agree you really can't compare players with one era with another.

If you are going to try make a comparison, you need to set some criteria. To me being best, means more than being a technician. I think being best includes imagination and advancing the game.
ccmcacollister 106 ( +1 | -1 )
Perhaps the first criteria would be: Are they equivalent at analysis. I think we could say that Anderssen,
Morphy, Kasparov, even Bronstein could qualify as equal in that regard, and many others of
course. But that is one ability that trransends the ages.
What other abilities might then? That we could then compare. How about endgame techinique.
Might not Flohr and Capa equal a Karpov & Petrosian for EG.

After all the comparables are considered, then come the inequalities. For one, opening depth
and theory. What else? Certainly the oldtimers Would have the knowlege available to to days
player, one would think, since they managed to top the world in their own time. Plus perhaps
even new ideas of their own, based upon their "new" modern knowlege.

It seems to me that given access to the same knowlege, those who were at the top of the
world in their own time would Still be WC contenders in this time ... unless they had some
lack other than simply new information. ~? suppose?
ccmcacollister 37 ( +1 | -1 )
oops ... to clarify "Certainly the oldtimers Would have the knowlege available to to days
player, one would think, since they managed to top the world in their own time."

What I mean there is ... IF they were instead present in todays Chess scene rather than their
own era. Surely they would study enough to know as much as can be known Now. :)
blake78613 39 ( +1 | -1 )
Both Kasparov and Karpov have endgame weaknesses. Karpov's weakness is that when he has a slight edge, he is not willing to take the chances necessary to convert it into a win. Kasparov seems to be the opposite and doesn't dig into defend when he has a slightly inferior endgame, which is how he lost to Kramnik.

I rate Fischer as a better endgame player than either of those two.
andy94 69 ( +1 | -1 )
I know an International Master called Jeremy Silman listed Fischer as one of the five best endgame players ever. The others he listed were Emanuel Lasker, Akiba Rubinstein, José Capablanca and Vasily Smyslov. Silman called him "The Master of bishops ending".
From "Wikipedia".
Now you can understand why I'm fixed about bishops endgames (if you know it).
Anyway, I've got another quotation:
-His chess technique is almost a miracle. In their youth, just a few players could manage the endgame with such a precision. I know only 2 players, Smyslov and Capablanca.- Max Euwe.

Maybe it's impossible to compare players of different era, but if there's a compare's criterion, that's the technique.
ketchuplover 3 ( +1 | -1 )
1.Fischer
2.Morphy
3.Capablanca
ccmcacollister 190 ( +1 | -1 )
Most Innovative Players of all time ... Overall:
1.Steinitz
2.Tarrasch
3.Nimzovich
4.Tal
5.Morphy
**********
Openings:
1.Gligorich
2.Kasparov
3.Steinitz
4.Morosevich
5.Bronstein
**************
Some very Subjective choices! I've found the Improvements and his Game of The Month
series, of Gligo to be invaluable tho. And have to admit my own choices lean to those I've
actually studied most. Probably Botvinnik & Alekhine could well be there.

Tal taught me So much. Not just sacrifices, but the thing that many don't realize ... he founded
a method of play regarding his pawns and middlegame that was as innovative as Nimzovich
and very antithical to that one as well. Tal could Always Open a position because he PLAYED
so as to be able to always open a postion.

On best of all time, after much thought I lean to:

1.Kasparov
2.Fischer
3.Karpov
4.Tal
5.Botvinnik
6.Spassky
************
I used to rank Fischer first and do feel he would have perhaps humbled Karpov greatly, had
that match actually taken place. And still feel Fischer to be the highest rated if adjustment is
made for inflation, and the fact he did not have a Karpov to eat Elo from like Kasparov did.
Today I am favoring Kasparov tho as being equally intense but having broader opening
knowlege at his disposal, at their peaks. On the other hand, perhaps Fischer having Used less
openings, and just starting to broaden his repetoire near his end, would mean He would have
the greater potential to IMPROVE than Kasparov. But he didnt actually Show us that. So I go
with Garry today.
ionadowman YES! Basman WAS in my thoughts, but I just was not sure of the name. I
seem to recall a player like Bas or Bass?! that I used to confuse with him. That one was an
Alekhines Defense expert if I recall.
ionadowman 107 ( +1 | -1 )
I don't know... ... this other Bas(s) dude. I kinda admire Mike Basman's championing of bizarre opening lines like the Grob or the Spike in the teeth of some pretty heavy criticism from the likes of Harry Golombek, as I recall. I think there 'avant garde' types tell a good deal more about chess than the adherents of the Steinitz/Tarrasch school ever did. This "Classical" school indeed taught much, but I incline to Nimzovitch's view that thir focus was too narrowly upon pragmatics, with a distressing tendency towards mediocrity. "Accumulation of small advantages", forsooth! Where's the "passion that whips the blood" in that?

I am very interested, Craig (ccmcacollister), in your remarks about Tal's innovativeness in the middlegame. I do recall his handling of the Q-side pawns in Benoni-type positions but not a whole lot else.

Maybe we could start a new thread about this?
Cheers,
Ion
longbow57 6 ( +1 | -1 )
My favorurite chess players are: 1) Bobby Fischer 2)Boris Spassky 3)Viktor Korchnoi
blake78613 16 ( +1 | -1 )
I have trouble rating Kasparov as high on opening innovation, because I don't think he had that much input into the innovations but relied on his seconds.
ccmcacollister 190 ( +1 | -1 )
Most Innovative Players of all time ... Overall:
1.Steinitz
2.Tarrasch
3.Nimzovich
4.Tal
5.Morphy
**********
Openings:
1.Gligorich
2.Kasparov
3.Steinitz
4.Morosevich
5.Bronstein
**************
Some very Subjective choices! I've found the Improvements and his Game of The Month
series, of Gligo to be invaluable tho. And have to admit my own choices lean to those I've
actually studied most. Probably Botvinnik & Alekhine could well be there.

Tal taught me So much. Not just sacrifices, but the thing that many don't realize ... he founded
a method of play regarding his pawns and middlegame that was as innovative as Nimzovich
and very antithical to that one as well. Tal could Always Open a position because he PLAYED
so as to be able to always open a postion.

On best of all time, after much thought I lean to:

1.Kasparov
2.Fischer
3.Karpov
4.Tal
5.Botvinnik
6.Spassky
************
I used to rank Fischer first and do feel he would have perhaps humbled Karpov greatly, had
that match actually taken place. And still feel Fischer to be the highest rated if adjustment is
made for inflation, and the fact he did not have a Karpov to eat Elo from like Kasparov did.
Today I am favoring Kasparov tho as being equally intense but having broader opening
knowlege at his disposal, at their peaks. On the other hand, perhaps Fischer having Used less
openings, and just starting to broaden his repetoire near his end, would mean He would have
the greater potential to IMPROVE than Kasparov. But he didnt actually Show us that. So I go
with Garry today.
ionadowman YES! Basman WAS in my thoughts, but I just was not sure of the name. I
seem to recall a player like Bas or Bass?! that I used to confuse with him. That one was an
Alekhines Defense expert if I recall.
blake78613 32 ( +1 | -1 )
Andy,

Relative to the Max Euwe quote you gave, was he talking about Fischer?

I know Euwe had high praise for Fisher's endgame play in Euwe's Book "Bobby Fischer--The Greatest".

easy19,

Why do you put Euwe in your top 3? I like Euwe a lot, but have never heard anyone claim him to be one of the all time greats.
spurtus 21 ( +1 | -1 )
I have no real feeling on this matter at all, all the best players are simple light years beyond my chess strength.. why should i like one over another...is there something wrong with me?
blake78613 13 ( +1 | -1 )
Some people find this type of speculation and discussion, mentally stimulating and interesting. If it's not your cup of tea there is no problem.
fmgaijin 23 ( +1 | -1 )
Craig: Bagirov . . . . . . is probably the Alekhine's Defense GM you are thinking of. Bass is a Russian-American IM who now lives in Madrid.

Bagirov worked as a trainer for most of the strong Latvian players (Shirov, etc.) and probably helped influence their aggressive play.
ionadowman 107 ( +1 | -1 )
We all have out favorites.... ... and mine probably wouldn't make it to the top 3 but would certainly be candidates for the top 20, if not the top ten.

My first sight of Tal's games in P.H. Clarke's book of his best games opened my eyes to something I had never before seen in chess, a kind of elemental ferocity that even the brilliancies of Anderssen, Morphy, Lasker and Alekhine never came close to matching. Only Lasker seemed able to steer so close to the edge and survive.

For mine, Tal is my all-time favorite. It is a pity his health was so indifferent. I suspect it was the kind of disease that would tend psychologically to lead to impatient, "fidgetty" play that marred Tal's performance from time to time (not that I know anything much about it really).

Paul Keres is another favorite, but he seems to be another who never seemed quite able to fulfil his potential. Second in three (or was it four?) successive Candidates' Tournaments must have been a unique record! Later in life he seemed to adopt a more "positional" style, rather to the detriment of his game, one feels.

Cheers,
Ion
andy94 27 ( +1 | -1 )
Yes, blake, those quotes were talking about Bobby Fischer.

Anyway, I can agree with Ion, when he talked about Tal's health. He was destroyed by smoke....What a pity. My legends (like I already said) are Fischer and Tal.......Nobody like them........
magna68 132 ( +1 | -1 )
Define best... Hi Andy,
your original question was "Who is, for you, the best chess player ever?" But then you listed your favorite 3. To me those can be two totally separate things. Personally I think no human can make it anymore to the list of 3 best chess player ever. Given that the scope of the game is winning, the "best" chess player must be the strongest. We probably then end up with names like Fritz, Rybka, Hiarchs or whatever their silicon names are as best chess player ever. That said, I'm pretty sure no one would put those "players" as their favorites. But we tend to mix those two things, count our favorite players as the "best". For example, I don't think it surprises anyone seeing people putting Tal on a list as one of their favorite 3. But on a list of best chess player ever? Nah, spectacular sacrifices that very often could have been refuted don't gain you a place on such a list.
Then I don't really care who is the strongest player ever or even who was the strongest player ever before the silicon era. But I sure have opinion on who have been the most inspiring and important to us mere mortals.
On such a list is hard to put only 3 names but if you would point a gun at my head I would cry out Lasker, Fischer and Kasparov.

Cheers
magna68
ionadowman 48 ( +1 | -1 )
I half-recall a story... ... in which a well-known British master of the 19th century, I think it might have been H.E. Bird, was asked whom he thought was the best player ever. After a bit of preamble surveying the likely candidates for such distinction, Bird said that, for him, the finest player of his time was one S. Boden.
"But, bless you my boy," quoth the Master, "were we to play a match, he wouldn't win a single game!"
Kinda puts the whole question into perspective, don't it?
Cheers,
Ion
andy94 34 ( +1 | -1 )
Well, magna68...I listed 3 players, cause it was difficult for me choose the best. I mean: I'm 14 and I would study them, before choosing. I studied most popular players and then I chose the best (Bobby, RIP). But another reason is: there are true legends of chess who deserve to be quoted in a list. So I decided to list my fav 3. That's all.
magna68 26 ( +1 | -1 )
andy94 Understood, and the players you listed surely are true legends, who will inspire you like the rest of us years to come. And thats more important than who was really the "best", also because we will probably never know.

best
magna
sunshinesuperman 18 ( +1 | -1 )
favourite chess players 1. Fischer
2. Fischer
3. Fischer

Fischer, the Zeus of the chess world, played without a second (except during his championship run) throughout his brilliant career. He was and will always be The Man.
blake78613 92 ( +1 | -1 )
I found Dvorestsky's column in chess cafe interesting: www.chesscafe.com

Dvorestsky states that:

"that intuitive assessment of the situation at the board is not the thirteenth world champion’s strong suit. He has always had the ability to immerse himself deep in a position, calculate long and accurately, and find (notice: I said find, not guess) the optimal solution, even when it may be difficult and subtle"

In reference to the game Veingold vs Kasparov Dvorestsky further states:

"In the game under consideration, Kasparov’s positional evaluation betrayed him over and over again – and not even so much at the board, as in his later annotations. As a result, the concrete variations upon which he based his conclusions turned out insecure and unconvincing"

This supports my belief that Kasparov was a technician supported by a team of experts.

englishnotation 3 ( +1 | -1 )
1,Alekhine,2,Alekhine,3 Capablanca