World Chess Champions

Below you can replay all chess matches of the world chess champions from the past to the present.

Wilhelm Steinitz

He was an Austrian-American chess player who lived in London and the first official world chess champion from 1886 until 1894. He lost his title to the German mathematician Emanuel Lasker.

Steinitz criticised the attacking style that was popular at his time and developed new strategic-positional ideas that revolutionized the playing style and enriched the chess theory.

Steinitz won matches against various opponents:

  • 1866 : Steinitz - Adolf Anderssen 8:6 (no game was drawn)
  • 1866 : Steinitz - Henri Edward Bird 9.5:7.5
  • 1870 : Steinitz - Blackburne 5.5:0.5
  • 1872 : Steinitz - Zukertort 9:3

  • Replay Chess Matches from Wilhelm Steinitz

    Emanuel Lasker

    Emanuel Lasker was the only German world chess champion. He held this title for 27 years from 1894-1921. He lived in London and New York and became a chess professional but he continued and finished his studies of mathematics at the universities Heidelberg and Berlin in Germany 1899.

  • 1891 : Lasker - Blackburne 8:2
  • 1894 : Lasker - Steinitz 12:7 (Lasker becomes world chess champion)
  • 1896 : Lasker - Steinitz 12.5:4.5 (Rematch)
  • 1907 : Lasker - Marshall 11.5:3.5 (+8-0=7)
  • 1908 : Lasker - Tarrasch 10.5:5.5 (+8-3=5)
  • 1909 : Lasker - Janowski 8:2 (+7=2-1)
  • 1910 : Lasker - Schlechter 5:5 (+1-1=8)
  • 1910 : Lasker - Janowski 9.5:1.5(+8-0=3)

  • Replay Chess Matches from Emanuel Lasker

    Jose Capablanca

    Jose Capablanca, Cuba, was the third world chess champion and held the title from 1921 until 1927. He learned chess when he was four years old from his father.

    When he was 12 he won a match against the national chanp Juan Corzo. (7:6)

  • 1901 : Capablanca - Juan Corzo 7:6(+4-3=6)
  • 1901 : Capablanca - Robert Raubitschek 2:0(+2-0=0)
  • 1909 : Capablanca - Frank Marshall 15:8(+8-1=14)
  • 1911 : Capablanca - Charles Jaffe 2.5:0.5(+2-0=1)
  • 1918 : Capablanca - Boris Kostic 5:0(+5-0=0)
  • Match for the World Title

  • 1921 : Capablanca - Emanuel Lasker 9:5 (+4-0=10)

  • Replay Chess Matches from Capablanca

    Alexander Alekhine

    Alekhine was a tactical genius who could calculate long combinations accurately and he had great imagination. This enabled him to play amazing sacrifices and to discover tactical combinations in boring positions. He won the world title and beat Capablanca in a long match in Buenos Aires that went on for over two months and lasted 34 games.

  • 1927 : Alekhine - Capablanca 18.5 : 15.5

  • 1929 : Alekhine - Bogoljubov 15.5 : 9.5 (+11 −5 =9)

  • 1934 : Alekhine - Bogoljubov 15.5 : 10.5 (+8 −3 =15)

  • Replay World Chess Matches from Alekhine

    Max Euwe

    Max Euwe was a Dutch mathematics teacher who worked also for the world chess federation. He became world champion for two years after beating Alekhine 1935 in the Netherlands, but he lost the title again to Alekhine in the rematch two years later.

  • 1935 : Euwe - Alekhine 15½ – 14½
  • 1937 : Euwe - Alekhine   9½ – 15½

  • Replay Chess Games from Max Euwe versus Alekhine

    Mikhail Botvinnik

    He won the five-player world chess championship tournament and became world champion after Alekhine left a gap as he died two years before in Portugal in exile.

    Replay all Games from Botvinnik Title Matches

    Vasily Smyslov

  • 1957 : Smyslov - Botvinnik 12.5 - 9.5
  • The Russian grandmaster Vasily Smyslov was world champion for one year only. He has beaten Botvinnik 1957 but lost the title one year later because Botvinnik had the right for a rematch.

    Replay all Chess Games Smyslov versus Botvinnik

    Mikhail Tal

  • 1960 : Tal - Botvinnik 12.5 : 8.5
  • Tal became the eight world champion in the history of chess. He lost the title one year later back to Botvinnik in the rematch 8:13.

    Replay Chess Games from Mikhail Tal versus Mikhail Botvinnik

    Tigran Petrosian

  • 1963 : Petrosian - Botvinnik 5 : 2
  • Petrosian was a defensive player who put safety first and seldom lost a game. Botvinnik was much older as well.

    Replay Chess Games from Petrosian versus Mikhail Botvinnik

    Boris Spassky

  • 1969 Spassky - Petrosian - 12.5 : 10.5
  • The talent Boris Spassky qualified again the second time and won the title in his second match with Petrosian in 1969 after having missed his chance to become world champion in 1966.

    Replay Chess Games from Spassky versus Petrosian

    Bobby Fischer

    Bobby Fischer (1943-2008) was born in Chicago, Illinois.

    He learned chess when he was 6 years old, won the United States Championship eight times and became grandmaster when he was 15 years of age.

    He was very eccentric and 29 years old when he challenged Spassky for the world title. He qualified by winning the candidates matches with outstanding results:
    Fischer versus Mark Taimanow - 6:0
    Fischer versus Bent Larsen - 6:0
    Fischer versus Tigran Petrosian - 6.5:2.5

    Results like this never happened in chess history before.

    The match against Spassky was played in Reykjavík, Iceland and lasted 21 games. Fischer won the match 12½–8½ and became world champion.

    Fischer blundered away the first game as he lost a dead drawn endgame. He lost the second game as well because he didn't show up as he was annoyed about some TV cameras being to close.

    After becoming world champion Fischer never played chess in tournaments again. He just played a rematch with Spassky in 1992 in Yugoslavia, Sveti Stefan/Belgrade, which was under the embargo of the United Nations. Fischer won the match 17.5-12.5

    Replay all Chess Games Fischer versus Spassky

    Anatoly Karpov

    anatoly karpov

    Anatoly Karpov was official world champion from 1975 to 1985 and from 1993 bis 1999 FIDE-World Champion. Fischer did not defend his title 1975 so Karpov became world champion.

  • Karpov - Korchnoi 1978 in Baguio City / Philippines
    Results: 6–5
    21 draws
  • Winner was first player to win six games, draws not counting.

    Replay Chess Games from Karpov - Korchnoi 1978

  • Karpov - Korchnoi 1981 in Meran / Italy
    Results: 6–2
    10 draws
  • Viktor Korchnoi again qualified to challenge Karpov for the world title. The match was played in Meran. Winner was who has won six games first, draws were not counted.

    Replay Chess Games from Karpov - Korchnoi 1981

  • Karpov - Kasparov 1984 in Moscow
    Results: 5–3
    abandoned without results
  • The challenger was Garry Kasparov who won the Candidates Tournament 1983/84.

    Winner of the match would be the first player who wins six games. Karpov was leading 4:0 after nine games, then 17 draws followed and Kasparov lost again. Now Karpov was leading 5:0 then another four draws followed and Kasparov won his first-ever game against Karpov. Then 14 draws followed and Kasparov won twice in a row, game 47 and game 48, result now 5:3.

    The match was ended at this point without result by Florencio Campomanes, the president of FIDE, due to health reasons of the players who were playing the longest match in chess history lasting 5 months from September 10, 1984 to February 8, 1985. Karpov had lost weight and both players were strained but wanted to continue. But still a new match was scheduled for a few months later to be limited to 24 games only.

    Replay Chess Games from Karpov - Kasparov 1984

    Garry Kasparov

  • Kasparov - Karpov 1985 in Moscow
    Results: 13–11
  • After the first match was abandoned one year before a new match had to be played.

    The match was restricted to 24 games. In the case that the match ended in a tie of 12:12 world champion Karpov would keep his title. If Karpov loses he had the right for a rematch. But this rule would be used now for the last time and later abandoned.

    Kasparov played the first match in 1984 too risky and intended to play more positional, then waiting for his chance. His strong will power and self-confidence is impressive. This became apparent when he didn't give up the match after Karpov was leading 5:0 in 1984.

    Garry Kasparov won the match 13:11 and became world chess champion at the age of 22.

    Replay Chess Games from Kasparov-Karpov 1985

  • Kasparov - Karpov 1986 in London/Leningrad
    Results: 12.5–11.5
  • Karpov had the right for a rematch. This match was restricted to 24 games. In case of a tie Kasparov would remain world champion. Kasparov won the match with one point ahead. (5 wins and 4 losses)

    Replay Chess Games from Rematch Kasparov-Karpov 1986

  • Kasparov - Karpov 1987 in Seville/Spain
    Results: 12–12
  • Karpov qualified by winning the candidates match and was 36 years old when playing against Kasparov (24 years) again. The match was limited to 24 games and held in Spain.

    Anatoly Karpov was leading for one point and Kasparov needed a win in the last game to draw the match and retain the title. He played the Reti opening as White and finally managed to win the endgame and the match was drawn.

    The result was a tie 12:12, so Garry Kasparov retained the title for another three years.

    Replay Chess Games from Match Kasparov-Karpov 1987

  • Kasparov - Karpov 1990 in New York(USA) and Lyon(France)
    Results: 12.5 : 11.5
  • Karpov (rated 2730) qualified again in the candidates matches beating Johann Hjartason 3.5 : 1.5, Artur Yusupov 4.5 : 3.5 and Jan Timman 6.5 : 2.5 and earned the right to challenge Kasparov (rated 2800) for the world chess title. The first 12 games were played in New York, in-between score 6:6, then they continued in Lyon/France.

    Kasparov won the match being just one point ahead with the final score of 12.5 to 11.5 (4 wins, 3 losses) and remained world chess champion.

    Replay Chess Games from Match Kasparov-Karpov 1990

    PCA World Chess Championship Match 1993 in London

  • Garry Kasparov (Russia)  rated 2815 - Nigel Short (England) rated 2665 Results: 12.5 : 7.5
  • Garry Kasparov split from FIDE because he believed the FIDE was corrupt. He formed his own organisation called PCA under which this match was organized.

    Nigel Short qualified winning the Candidates Matches where he has beaten Timman and became the challenger.

    Kasparov won the 20-games match against the challenger (4 wins, one loss), but as this match was not authorized by the FIDE (World Chess Organisation), they took the title away from Kasparov and removed him and Short from the FIDE rating list afterwards.

    All this left no impression on the chess community worldwide because everyone knew that Kasparov was the best player in chess history and number one player of the world and to take away his title was just ridiculous.

    An "official" match was organized by the FIDE between Karpov and Timman and played in the Netherlands and Indonesia which was won by Karpov 12,5:8,5. Did the chess community care about this second rated match? No! Because every chess player knew that only Kasparov was the real world chess champion!

    Replay Chess Games from Match Kasparov-Short 1993

    PCA World Chess Championship Match 1995 in New York

  • Garry Kasparov (Russia) - "Vishy" Anand (India)
    Results: 10.5 : 7.5

  • Kasparov won this twenty-game match with four wins, one loss, and thirteen draws and kept the (PCA) title. In my eyes and in the eyes of many chess players only he was the real world champion.

    Replay Chess Games from Match Kasparov-Anand 1995

    Vladimir Kramnik

    world chess champions

    Classical World Chess Championship Match 2000 in London

  • Garry Kasparov (Russia) - Vladimir Kramnik (Russia)
    Results: 6.5 : 8.5
  • The Classical World Chess Championship 2000 was held in London, UK. Garry Kasparov (Elo 2849) defended his title against the new challenger Vladimir Kramnik (2772) in a 16-games-match. Kramnik won because he was better prepared in his openings especially in the Berlin Defense and won the match with two wins, 13 draws and no losses and became the 14th world chess champion.

    Replay Chess Games from Match Kasparov-Kramnik 2000

    Classical World Chess Championship Match 2004 in Brissago, Switzerland

  • Vladimir Kramnik (Russia) - Peter Leko (Hungary)
    Results: 7 : 7
  • Peter Leko became a chess grandmaster in 1994 at the age of 14 and qualified by winning the Candidates Tournament in 2002

    The fourteen-game match ended 7 : 7 and Kramnik retained the world title. Each player won two games.

    Replay Chess Games from Match Kramnik versus Leko 2004

    World Chess Championship Match 2006 in Elista, Kalmykia, Russia

  • Vladimir Kramnik (Russia) - Veselin Topalov (BUL)
    Results: 6 : 6 / Tie-break 2.5-1.5
  • Veselin Topalov (BUL) was the Winner of the 2005 FIDE World Championship. Both players were 31 years old.

    This chess match between the Classical World Chess Champion Vladimir Kramnik (Elo 2743) and FIDE World Chess Champion Veselin Topalov (Elo 2813) should determine the true undisputed world chess champion for the first time in 13 years and unify the World Chess Championship for the first time since the 1993.

    Kramnik lost game 5 on forfeit due to a dispute about his walks to his restroom.

    The 12 regular games ended 6:6. For that reason they had to play 4 Rapid Tie-break games (each with a time limit of 25 minutes, plus 10 seconds per move). Kramnik wins tie-break 2.5 : 1.5 and becomes undisputed world chess champion.

    Replay Chess Games from Match Kramnik versus Topalov 2006

    Viswanathan Anand (India)

    world chess champions

    World Chess Championship Match 2008 in Bonn, Germany

  • Vladimir Kramnik (Russia) - Viswanathan Anand (IND)
    Results: 4.5 : 6.5
  • Anand was declared World Chess Champion one year before at the World Chess Championship 2007 that was just a tournament in which he came first place. But Kramnik had refused to take part in this tournament as he wanted that the champion has to be determined by a match and not in a tournament. A year later Kramnik had to play a match against Anand to determine the true world chess champion.

    Anand successfully defended his title 6.5 - 4.5 (3 wins, 1 loss) and became the undisputed world champion.

    Replay Chess Games from Match Kramnik versus Anand 2008

    World Chess Championship Match 2010 in Sofia, Bulgaria

  • Viswanathan Anand (IND) - Veselin Topalov (BUL)
    Results: 6.5 : 5.5
  • Both players were even until Veselin Topalov (Elo 2805) lost the last game with White in the 12-game match. Anand (Elo 2787) employed the old Lasker Defense with the black pieces willing to accept a draw that would lead to a result of 6 : 6 and would have forced a rapid chess playoff. But Topalov weakened his kingside and was unable to escape a loss.

    Anand remained world champion.

    Replay Chess Games from Match Anand versus Topalov 2010

    World Chess Championship Match 2012 in Moscow, Russia

  • Viswanathan Anand, 42 years, Elo 2791 (IND) - Boris Gelfand, 43 years, Elo 2727 (ISR)
    Results: 6 : 6
    Tie-Break 2.5-1.5
  • Boris Gelfand qualified by winning the 2011 Candidates Tournament. The 12-game match ended even score so a rapid tie break match of four games was played at 20 minutes each game plus 10 seconds per move. The first rapid game was drawn, the second game won Anand and the other two games were drawn as well. Anand defended his title successfully being just one point ahead.

    Replay Chess Games from Match Anand versus Gelfand 2012

    Magnus Carlsen

    magnus carlsen

    Magnus Carlsen has beaten Viswanathan Anand 6,5 : 3,5 and is the new world chess champion.

    vishy anandmagnus carlsen

    Replay Chess Games from Match Anand versus Carlsen 2013

    World Chess Championship Match 2014 in Sochi, Russia

    Magnus Carlsen (Norway) defended his title successfully against Viswanathan Anand (India) 6,5 : 4,5 (3 wins and 1 loss)

    Replay Chess Games from World Chess Championship Match 2014

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