Chess is considered one of the more rigorous games of its kind primarily because it requires the use of skill and logical thinking to make strategic moves and defeat other players in the game.
This sport undoubtedly highlights some of the best chess players on the field, especially those who show their exceptional prowess when playing. In just a single move, any one of these players has the power to make or break a game. Take a look at some of these best players in the world today.
13. Alireza Firouzja
Despite being in the thirteenth spot, Alireza Firouzja is one of the greatest chess players of today. A current grandmaster, he is the second-youngest chess player to have attained a rating of over 2700.
Currently 17 years old, he is slated to surpass the achievements set by no other than the number one chess player on this list, Magnus Carlsen. One of his most notable achievements to date is winning the Iranian Chess Championship at 12 years old and again three years later in 2019.
Yet another impressive landmark that Firouzja has under his belt is attaining the Grandmaster title at just 14 years old. Just recently, this under-18 chess grandmaster faced Carlsen in October of 2020, managing to snag second prize at Stavanger.
12. Richard Rapport
Richard Rapport is yet another chess prodigy who made waves in the field. Similar to Firouzja, Rapport obtained his grandmaster title at a young age. Rapport earned his title at 13 years old, making him the youngest grandmaster in the whole of Hungary.
Besides gaining the grandmaster title, this 24-year-old also made waves in the industry when he became the 2017 Hungarian Chess Champion. Another of his recent wins includes beating fellow grandmaster, Ding Liren in the 11th Danzhou Tournament.
He is the only one of his peers to remain undefeated.
11. Wang Hao
Perhaps one of the more surprising appearances you can find on this list is the 2019 FIDE Grand Swiss winner, grandmaster Wang Hao.
Despite his status, his title of Grandmaster shocked the industry because as he bypassed both the International Master and FIDE Master titles generally issued prior to earning the grandmaster title. Wang’s success as a grandmaster was fulfilled when he was just 16 years old in 2005.
These included three separate events from Moscow, Russia; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; and the Dato Arthur Tan Malaysian Open in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Wang’s humble beginnings from playing in local tournaments to joining the national team of China allowed him to earn not only gold medals but also climb his way to the top.
10. Teimour Radjabov
Teimour Radjabov is yet another impressive child prodigy who earned his grandmaster title at the tender age of 14. At the time, in March 2001, this feat was considered historical, as he was the second-youngest chess player ever to do so.
Hailing from the same city as former world champion Garry Kasparov, this Baku, Azerbaijan native rose to fame after beating Kasparov, then the number one ranked chess player in the world, in the 2003 Linares tournament.
Apart from this, Radjabov also beat Indian grandmaster and world chess champion Viswanathan Anand and Ukrainian world chess champion and grandmaster Ruslan Ponomariov in the same year. Other notable achievements under his name include securing the 2019 FIDE World Cup championship as well as the 2021 Airthings Masters.
9. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov
Shakhriyar Mamedyarov is truly deserving of his title as a super grandmaster. This is supported by his career-high rating of 2820, making him number one in Azerbaijan and number eight in the world.
One of his most notable feats is winning the World Junior Chess Championship twice, first in 2003 and again in 2005. This achievement allowed him to become the first and only two-time champion in the tournament’s history.
Other feats that deserve attention including winning the Essent Tournament for two consecutive years and even winning against Magnus Carlsen in the 51st Biel Chess Festival where he won by just a point and a half.
8. Wesley So
Another super grandmaster who joins Mamedyarov on this list is Wesley So. So is currently the United States Chess Champion after winning the tournament in 2020 and previously in 2017. He also won the Filipino Chess tournament three times.
Also, a chess prodigy So became a grandmaster at just 14 years old. In addition, So added being the youngest chess player to pass a 2600 rating in 2008. This record was previously held by Magnus Carlsen.
After representing the Philippines, So transferred to and represented the United States. He won individual and team medals for his participation in the 42nd Chess Olympiad. As of writing, So holds a FIDE rating of 2770 and a peak rating of 2822, ranking number two in the world in March 2017.
7. Anish Giri
Anish Giri has secured a ton of achievements under his name. Like many other prodigies on this list, Giri, too, secured the grandmaster title at the age of 14 in 2009.
At the peak of his career, he went as far as being number three in the world with a rating of 2802. To date, Giri is hailed as the current number one player in the Netherlands.
Giri is also a four-time Dutch chess champion. Besides this, Giri has also represented the Netherlands in Chess Olympiads five times. He is most recognized in the industry for his victory in the Shenzen Masters in 2019, a major tournament.
6. Alexander Grischuk
Grandmaster Alexander Grischuk gained his title in 2000. Nine years later, he was hailed as the Russian chess champion.
He also represented the country at the Chess Olympiads where he won two gold medals. Meanwhile, at the World Team Chess Championships, he won four gold medals.
Besides being recognized for his skillful plays and status as a super grandmaster, Grischuk is considered great at playing blitz. As a matter of fact, he is a three-time World Blitz Champion, only one of the two players to hold multiple awards in the same tournament.
5. Levon Aronian
This Armenian chess player has been a grandmaster since 2000. He was considered the leading player of the country, oftentimes touted as a celebrity because of his status.
He joined the U.S. chess federation this 2021 and is slated to represent the country in future competitions.
Once called by CNN as the “David Beckham of chess,” Aronian is deserving of the monicker with numerous feats under his belt. Aside from winning the FIDE World Cup twice, he has also brought pride and honor to the country by earning gold medals in three Chess Olympiads.
4. Ian Nepomniachtchi
Ian Nepomniachtchi is perhaps a grandmaster not only in chess but of various chess styles and trades. Not only is he skilled in the sport, but he also specialized in rapid chess and blitz chess. In fact, for these tournaments in 2016, he was awarded fourth place throughout the world.
In just the past year, he won the 2020 Russian Superfinal, a feat he also won ten years prior. Over the years, Nepomniachtchi has proven himself worthy of his opponents and for good reason.
He has had only positive scores against the likes of Garry Kasparov, Magnus Carles, and Viswanathan Anand.
3. Ding Liren
Ding Liren is a Chinese grandmaster who is considered the highest-rated chess player in the whole of China. As of writing, he holds a current FIDE rating of 2791, thereby putting him at the number three spot.
To add to his already impressive list of achievements, Liren is a three-time Chinese Chess Champion. In 2019, he also won the Grand Chess Tour. In the same year, Liren won the Sinquefield Cup, beating Magnus Carlsen in one of the playoff rounds.
One of the greatest track records that Liren once held was being the undefeated winner in classic chess, amassing around 29 wins and 71 draws. This streak was considered a feat as he successfully had 100 undefeated marks from August 2017 to November 2018.
2. Fabiano Caruana
Ringing in at the number two spot is no other than Fabiano Caruana with a FIDE rating of 2823. At his peak, his rating once went up to 2844. It comes as no surprise, however, since Caruana is also a chess prodigy like many others on this list.
Caruana became a grandmaster at 14 years old back in 2007. This was a record-breaking feat as he was the youngest at the time not only in Italy to earn the title, but also in the United States.
Getting the grandmaster title was not the only award he won that year. He also won the Italian Chess Championship in 2007, and has since won three more times after that. He also won the Sinquefield Cup in 2014, which allowed him to get his high 2844 score.
1. Magnus Carlsen
At the very top of the best chess players in the world is no other than Magnus Carlsen himself. Making groundbreaking landmarks and achievements left and right, Carlsen may just be considered the trailblazer of his time, next only to Garry Kasparov.
One of the records that Carlsen takes pride in is holding is the longest unbeaten run in classical chess, edging out Sergei Tiviakov’s by just one additional streak. Not only that, but Carlsen also gained the grandmaster title at the young age of 13.
He also made waves after getting a rating of more than 2800 at 18 years old and becoming number one in the FIDE world rankings at the age of 19. He also won the Norwegian Chess Championship at 15, the World Rapid Championship and World Blitz Championship in 2014, and many, many others.
These exceptional chess players are nothing short of amazing at what they do. With skillful execution of attacks and moves, there is no denying that they are deserving of the accolades they have under their name.