In 1886, the first official World Chess Championship was between Wilhelm Steinitz and Johanes Zukertort. The first 5 games were played in New York City (Cartier's Hall), the next 4 was played in St. Louis, and the final 11 was played in New Orleans. Steinitz overcame a 1-4 deficit against Zukertort to win the world championship. Steinitz wanted the U.S. flag to be placed next to him during the match, even though he still was an Austrian citizen (he became an American citizen almost three years later). Less than 40 people were present at the start of this historical match, despite Steinitz's daughter, Flora, selling programs and photographs to earn a few extra dollars for the family. Steinitz couldn't even afford a winter coat for her daughter. The time control was 30 moves in 2 hours, with a 2 hour dinner break, then 15 moves an hour. A demonstration chess board was first used in this world championship match, run by George Mackenzie. The stakes were $4,000. Steinitz received $1,000 in prize money and $3,000 was paid to those who bet on the winner. After the match, Steinitz returned home to New York and Zukertort left for San Francisco.
In 1889, the world championship was held in Havana between Steinitz and Chigorin. Steinitz successfully defended his world title, by being the first of the two players to reach 10.5. He won the match 10.5-6.5. There was only one draw in the match. It was the last game. The prize was $1,150, the lowest ever for a world championship chess match.
In 1890-1891, the world championship was held at the Manhattan Chess Club in New York between Steinitz and Gunsberg. Holder William Steinitz narrowly defeated challenger Isidor Gunsberg. The prize was 75 pounds sterling. Steinitz received 2/3 of the total prize money ($3,000), and Gunsberg received 1/3. This was the first time a loser of a match took a share of the purse.
In 1892, the world championship was held in Havana between Steinitz and Chigorin. Defending champion William Steinitz narrowly defeated challenger Mikhail Chigorin. The match was to last twenty games; the first player to score 10.5 points or win ten games would be the champion. In the event of a 10—10 tie after 20 games the players would continue until one of them had won ten games. If it reached a score of nine wins each, the match would end in a draw and the defending champion Steinitz would retain the title. After twenty games the score was 10—10 with each player having eight wins, so the players continued until one had won ten games. Game 21 was drawn, but Steinitz won games 22 and 23 to win the match and retain the title. The event was held at the Centro Asturiano Club. Chigorin blamed his loss on the heat. Chigorin lost the last game (game 23) by what was called the blunder of the century, allowing mate with the rooks on the 7th rank.
In 1894, the world championship was held in the New York, Philadelphia, and Montreal, between Steinitz (age 58) and Emanuel Lasker (age 26). Holder William Steinitz lost his title to challenger Emanuel Lasker, who was 32 years his junior. The match was for $2,000 a side. Steinitz was the oldest world champion at 58 years, 10 days. Steinitz did offer an excuse as to why he lost the match. He said it was due to insomnia. The stakes were for $2,000 a side, or $4,000 combined (about $500,000 in today's money).
In 1896-1897, the world championship was held in Moscow between Lasker and Steinitz. Lasker won the first four games in a row. Lasker won by a score of +10 -2 =5, thus retaining his title. Steinitz had a nervous breakdown and was sent to a psychiatric clinic in Moscow. This match is considered the second best match performance of all time, behind the Fischer-Larsen, 6-0 match in 1971. After the match, the press falsely reported William Steinitz's death. The headline of the Indianapolis News was "William Steinitz Dead." A dispatch from Moscow says that William Steinitz died in a private hospital, where he had recently been placed on account of mental disorder. The story was retracted several days later after associating chess with brain disease, and that Steinitz was not dead, but hopelessly insane.
In 1907, the world championship was held in New York, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Chicago, and Memphis between Lasker and Frank Marshall. Lasker won the first three games, and then scored one win and seven draws in games 4-11 before winning the last four games. Lasker won, scoring 11.5 — 3.5. After the match, Lasker returned to Germany. He would not play another game of chess until the next world championship match.
In 1908, the world championship was held in Dusseldorf and Munich, Germany between Lasker and Tarrasch. The winner would be the first to win 8 games. Lasker was convinced that Tarrasch had hypnotic powers and wanted to play the match from a different room. Lasker received 4,000 marks for his winnings and 7,500 marks for the appearance fee. Lasker successfully defending his title, scoring 10.5 — 5.5 with 8 wins, 5 draws, and 3 losses. Tarrasch refused to shake hands during the match, made a stiff little bow at the beginning of the match, and said "To you, Herr Lasker, I have only three words to say: "Check and mate".
In autumn 1909, the alleged world championship match was held in Paris between Lasker and Janowski. It was won by Lasker with 7 wins, 1 loss, and 2 draws. This may have not been an official world championship match as it was not mentioned as a world championship match in any of the magazines and newspapers at the time. The match was sponsored by the Dutch painter Leo Nardus, who paid Lasker 7,000 francs to play.
In January-February 1910, the world championship match was held in Vienna and Berlin between Lasker and Schlechter. This was the shortest world championship match with 10 games between Lasker and challenger Carl Schechter. t was supposed to be a match of 30 games, but lack of funds kept it shorter. Lasker won 1 game (the 10th and final game), drew 8 games, and lost one game to tie the match. Schlechter needed only a draw in the last round to win the match. During that last game, he was winning, but eventually lost the game in 71 moves and the match. The match was held in Vienna and Berlin. Lasker received 1,000 marks for each game played. After the match, the public decided to call this match a world chess championship match. There is little evidence that Lasker considered this a world championship match where he would lose his title if he lost this short match. No contract has ever been found to prove this was a world championship match. The American Chess Bulletin of 1910 stated that the two players agreed to play a series of games, but the result would not affect the world championship title. However, The New York Times reported that Lasker retained the title of chess champion of the world after the match. It stated that Schlechter had challenged Lasker for the world championship title, and that the final game decided the championship. If the game had been drawn, Schlechter would have been the world champion.
In November-December 1910, the world championship match was held in Berlin between Lasker and David Janowski (1868-1927). Lasker successfully defending his title with 8 wins, no losses, and 3 draws, scoring 9.5-1.5. This was the most one-sided world chess championship of all time. Lasker had defended his world championship title 6 times in 4 years. Lasker would not play serious chess for another 3.5 years.
In 1921, after 10 years, 2 months, and 8 days after the last world championship match, the world championship match was held in Havana between Lasker and Capablanca. Lasker resigned the title in 1920 in a dispute over match conditions, but agreed to take part as challenger in 1921 (partially due to his having lost a lot of money due to the First World War). Lasker was paid $13,000 for playing in the match, more than what Capablanca got as the winner ($12,000). The championship was set to last for 24 games: the first player to accumulate 12.5 points (or win eight games) would be World Champion. After 14 games, Lasker resigned the match. Capablanca won 4, drew 10, and lost none. The games were played on the same table that was used by Steinitz and Chigorin in their world championship match in Havana. Lasker had been world chess champion for 26 years and 337 days. Lasker had 52 career wins in world championship play. He played in 8 world championship matches.
In September-November 1927, the world championship match was held in Buenos Aires between Capablanca and Alekhine. The Argentine Chess Club (Club Argentino de Ajedrez) of Buenos Aires put up $10,000 (40,000 pesos). $4,800 was to go to the winner, $3,200 was to go to the loser, and $2,000 was for Capablanca's appearance fee. Alekhine, a Russian, became a naturalized French citizen during the match. The first player to win 6 games would be world champion. Alekhine won 6-3, with 25 draws. Alexander Alekhine defeated Jose Capablanca in Buenos Aires for the world chess championship after 73 days. 32 out of 34 games began with the same opening, the Orthodox Defense of the Queen's Gambit Declined. All the games in Buenos Aires took place behind closed doors. There were no spectators or photographs. The only time-out was when Alekhine had 6 teeth extracted during the match. After the final game, Alekhine was carried through the streets of Buenos Aires by a crowd of 10,000 chess fanatics.
In 1929, the world championship match was held in Germany and The Netherlands between Alekhine and Bogoljubov. Alekhine and Bogoljubow signed an agreement in Wiesbaden for a match. The rules differed from the London Rules (6 wins, draws not counting) with the number of maximum games limited to 30 games, but the winner must still score at least 6 wins. The match was not played under the auspices of FIDE or the London Rules. Alekhine took on Bogoljubow at Wiesbaden (first 8 games), Heidelberg (3 games starting October 3), Berlin (6 games), The Hague, and Amsterdam. Alekhine had 11 wins (the most wins of any world championship) in his world championship match with Bogoljubow, the most wins in a match in world championship play. There has only been one checkmate in world championship play. Alekhine checkmated Bogoljubow in 29 moves in the 1929 world championship match.
In 1934, the world championship match was held in 12 cities in Germany (Baden-Baden, Villingen, Freiburg, Pforzheim, Stuttgart, Munich, Bayreuth, Bad Kissingen, Nuremburg, Karlsruhe, Manheim, and Berlin) between Alekhine and Bogoljubov. The first player to win six games and score more than 15 points would be champion. Alekhine retained his title, scoring 15.5 and 8 wins. The stake was $10,000, with $6,000 going to the winner. After the match, Alekhine tabled his annual challenge from Capablanca and accepted a world championship match with Max Euwe.
In 1935, the world championship match was held in 13 cities (Amsterdam, Delft, Rotterdam, Utrecht, Gouda, Gravenhage, Groningen, Baarn, Hertogenbosch, Eindhoven, Zeist, Ermelo, and Zandvoort) in the Netherlands between Alekhine and Euwe. Euwe was the winner by overcoming a three-point deficit as late as the ninth game. Euwe scored 15.5 points with 9 wins. Euwe won $10,000 for his efforts. This was the first world championship match to officially have seconds to help in analysis during adjournments. Salo Landau, a Dutch Jew, was Alekhine's second and Geza Maroczy was Euwe's second. After the 26th game, Landau withdrew after a disagreement with Alekhine.
In 1937, the world championship match was held in the Netherlands (The Hague, Rotterdam, Haarlem, Groningen, and Amsterdam) between Alekhine and Max Euwe (1901-1981). Alekhine regained his title. Alekhine did what no other world champion before him had been able to do - he regained the world championship in a return match. He won 10 games, drew 11, and lost 4.
In 1948, the world championship 5-player tournament was held in The Hague and Moscow. Mikhail Botvinnik (1911-1995) won the world championship. His prize was equivalent to $5,000. Since Keres lost his first four games (out of 5) against Botvinnik, suspicions are sometimes raised that Keres was forced to "throw" games to allow Botvinnik to win the Championship. Botvinnik won with 14 points and had a plus score against all the other players.
In 1951, the world championship match was held in Moscow between Botvinnik and David Bronstein (1924-2006). Botvinnik retained his title after 24 games and a 12-12 tie. Both players won 5 games each and 14 games were drawn. This was the first World Championship match under FIDE rules.
In 1954, the world championship match was held in Moscow between Botvinnik and Vasily Smyslov (1921-2010). Botvinnik retained his title after 24 games and a 12-12 tie. Both players won 7 games each and 10 games were drawn.
In 1957, the world championship match was held in Moscow between Botvinnik and Vasily Smyslov. After 22 games, Smyslov won the match (12.5 to 9.5) and became the 7th official world chess champion, ending Botvinnik's nine-year reign as world chess champion. Smyslov was awarded the Order of Lenin for his efforts. Smyslov was world champion for 1 year and 12 days (1957-58).
In 1958, the world championship match was held in Moscow between Botvinnik and Smyslov. Botvinnik won, scoring 12.5 — 10.5. In Game 15 of this match, Botvinnik had a very favorable position after 55 moves, and had only to make two moves in three minutes in order to adjourn and work out the possibilities. However, he stared at the board and became so absorbed in trying to figure out the win of a piece and which pawn to push that he was quite surprised when referee Gideon Stahlberg informed him that he had forfeited in time. This was the last time a world championship game was lost on time.
In 1960, the world championship match was held in Moscow between Botvinnik and Tal. Tal won by the score 12.5 — 8.5. He became the youngest world chess champion at age 23 up to that time.
In 1961, the world championship match was held in Moscow between Botvinnik and Tal. Botvinnik won, scoring 13 — 8. Botvinnik became world chess champion for the 3rd time. Mikhail Tal was the briefest world champion from 1960 to 1961. He was world chess champion for 1 year and 5 days.
In 1963, the world championship match was held in Moscow between Botvinnik and Petrosian. Petrosian won, scoring 12.5 — 9.5. Tigran Petrosian, age 34, defeated Mikhail Botvinnik, age 52, to become world chess champion (one headline read: Ex-Janitor is New World Chess Champ). Over 2,000 spectators jammed the Moscow theater to watch the final game. Unlike 1957 and 1960, the loser was not entitled to a rematch, but to an automatic seed in the next Candidates Tournament. Resentful that FIDE had abolished the return match, Botvinnik made no attempt to qualify and play in any further world championship qualifiers or matches. Botvinnik never won a match when defending his title. His overall record in match play was 2 wins, 3 losses, and 2 draws. His world championship record was 36 wins, 39 losses, and 82 draws. The shortest game in a world championship was the 21st match game in match. The players agreed to a draw after the 10th move by White (Petrosian). Botvinnik played 157 world championship games. He won 36, lost 39, and drew 82. Petrosian said he trained for the match by skiing two or three hours a day. Petrosian's second was Isaac Boleslavsky (1919-1977).
In 1966, the world championship match was held in Moscow between Petrosian and Boris Spassky (1937- ). Tigran Petrosian became the first world champion since Steinitz to defeat his challenger to remain world champion. Petrosian had won 4 games, drew 17, and lost 3. He received $2,000 for his efforts.
In 1969, the world championship match was held in Moscow between Petrosian and Spassky. Spassky won, scoring 12.5 — 10.5.
In 1972, the world championship match was held in Reykjavik between Spassky and Fischer. The Spassky-Fischer world chess championship match was the most widely covered chess match in history. Bobby Fischer was rated 125 points higher (2785) than second-highest rated player, Boris Spassky (2660). Fischer forfeited game 2 of this match.
In 1975, Anatoly Karpov, rated 2705, became world champion after Fischer forfeited his title. Karpov became World Chess Champion before he became the USSR Chess Champion.
In 1978, the world championship match was held in Baguio City between Karpov and Korchnoi. The longest world championship game is 124 moves in the 5th game of the 1978 Korchnoi-Karpov match. The game ended in a stalemate with bishop and pawn vs. pawn endgame. (Carlsen and Anand played a 122-move draw in 2014).
In 1981, the world championship match was held in Merano (Meran), Italy between Karpov and Korchnoi. Karpov won, scoring 11 — 7. This victory, much more decisive than Karpov's win in the World Chess Championship 1978, has been dubbed "The Massacre in Merano."
In 1984/85 the world championship match was held in Moscow between Karpov and Garry Kasparov (1963- ). The was the longest world championship match. It lasted 48 games and 159 days. At one point, there were 17 draws in a row. Karpov lost 22 pounds during the match. 1,647 moves were made in this match. The winner was the first to win 6 games, but the match was canceled after Karpov had won 5 games, lost 3 games, and drew 40 games. The match was first played at the House of the Unions (Pillar Hall) in Moscow, but the match was later moved away from Pillar Hall when Minister of Defense Dmitry Ustinov, then chief political leader Konstantin Chernenko died, and the building was used for their funerals.
In 1985, the world championship match was held in Moscow between Karpov and Kasparov. Kasparov won, 13-11. Kasparov became the youngest world champion at the age of 22 years and 210 days.
In 1986, the world championship match was held in London and Leningrad between Karpov and Kasparov. Kasparov won 12.5 — 11.5.
In 1987, the world championship match was held in Seville between Karpov and Kasparov. The match was played as the best of 24 games. It ended 12-12 and Kasparov retained his title.
In 1990, the world championship match was held in NewYork City and Lyon, France between Karpov and Kasparov. Kasparov won $1.7 million for defeating Karpov, who took home $1.3 million in their world championship match.
In 1992, Fischer won $3,650,000 for defeating Spassky, who took home $1.35 million in their unofficial world championship match. The match was held in Sveti Stefan and Belgrade, Yugoslavia. Fischer won 10, lost 5, and drew 15 games.
In 1993, the world championship title matches were split between FIDE and the Professional Chess Association (PCA). Kasparov was stripped of his FIDE title. FIDE gave the title back to Karpov.
In September-October 1993, the PCA world championship match was held in London between Kasparov and Short. Kasparov won, scoring 12.5 — 7.5.
In September-November 1993, the FIDE world championship match was held in Zwolle/Arnhem/Amsterdam/Djakarta between Karpov and Timman. Karpov won, scoring 12.5 — 8.5. As a result of the unauthorized PCA match, FIDE stripped Kasparov of his title, removed him and Short from their rating lists, and arranged an "official" match between Timman and Karpov, who Short had beaten in the Candidates final and semifinal, respectively.
In 1995, the PCA world chess championship match was played on the 107th-floor observatory deck in the south tower of the World Trade Center between Kasparov and Anand. Kasparov won with 4 wins, 1 loss, and 13 draws.
In 1996, the FIDE world championship match was held in Elista, Russia between Karpov and Kamsky. Karpov retained his title, scoring 10.5 — 7.5.
In 1998, the FIDE world championship match was held in Lausanne, Switzerland between Karpov and Anand. Karpov won with 4 wins, 2 draws, and 2 losses.
Karpov was FIDE world champion until 1999, when he resigned his title in protest against FIDE's new world championship rules. FIDE scrapped the old system of Candidate Matches and replaced it with a knockout event.
In 1999, the FIDE Knockout Match was held in Las Vegas and won by Khalifman. Khalifman was ranked #44 in the world at the time.
In 2000, the Classical world championship match (known at the time as the Braingames World Chess Championships) was held in London between Kasparov and Kramnik. Kramnik won the match with 2 wins, 13 draws, and no losses.
In 2000, the FIDE Knockout Match was held in New Delhi and Tehran and won by Anand in the final match with Shirov.
In 2002, the FIDE Knockout Match was held in Moscow and won by Ponomariov. Ruslan Ponomariov, born October 11, 1983, became the youngest world chess champion on January 23, 2002 at the age of 18 years, 104 days
In June-July 2004, the FIDE Knockout match was held in Tripoli, Libya and won by Rustam Kasimdzhanov after defeating Michael Adams in the final knockout match. Kasimdzhanov won $100,000.
In September-October 2004, the Classical world championship match was held in Brissago between Kramnik and Leko. The match ended in a 7-7 tie and Kramnik retained his title.
In 2005, the world championship 8-player tournament was held in San Luis, Argentina and won by Topalov. Kasparov was invited, but retired. Kramnik was invited, but refused to play.
In 2006, the world championship unification match was held in Elista between Kramnik and Topalov. When Vladimir Kramnik defeated Veselin Topalov in 2006, Kramnik was the first undisputed world chess champion in 13 years. Kramnik forefeited game 5 in this match.
In 2007, the world championship 8-player tournament was held in Mexico City and won by Anand. Anand was the only undefeated player in the tournament.
In 2008, Anand beat Kramnik in Bonn, with 3 wins, 1 loss, and 7 draws.
In 2010, the world championship match was held in Sofia between Anand and Topalov. Anand won and earned 1,200,000 euros. Topalov earned 800,000 euros. The 2010 World Chess Championship is the first men's world championship without a Soviet player since 1921 (Lasker-Capablanca).
In 2012, the world championship match was held in Moscow between Anand and Gelfand. The event was held at the Mikhail Vrubel hall of the State Tretyakov Gallery. This was the first time a world chess championship was held in a museum. The shortest decisive world championship game (other than the Fischer and Kramnik forfeits) occurred between Viswanathan Anand and Boris Gelfand in game 8 of this match . Gelfand resigned after Anand's 17th move.
In 2013, the world championship match was held in Chennai between Anand and Carlsen. Carlsen won 3 games, drew 6 games, and lost none to become the 16th world chess champion. The match gathered record-setting TV audiences in India. Magnus Carlsen earned a special 22-carat gold medal by winning the title.
In 2014, the world championship match was held in Sochi between Anand and Carlsen. Carlsen retained his title, winning three games, losing one and drawing seven. Anand qualified by winning the Candidates tournament. Anand is only the second former champion (after Karpov in 1987 and 1990) to win a Candidates tournament.
In 2016, the world chess championship between Magnus Carlsen and Sergey Karjakin did not allow draws before move 30, except by repetition of moves. This world championship match is billed as the youngest ever in terms of the players' cumulative ages: Carlsen is 25 and Karjakin is 26.
Ruy Lopez (1560-1575)
Leonardo Cutri (1575-1587
Paolo Boi (1587-1598)
Alessandro Salvio (1598-1621)
Gioacchino Greco (1621-1634)
Gustavus Selenus (1634-1666)
Legall de Kemeur (1730-1747)
Francois Philidor (1747-1795)
Alexandre Deschapelles (1798-1824)
Louis de la Bourdonnais (1824-1840)
Howard Staunton (1843-1851)
Adolf Anderssen (1851-1858)
Paul Morphy (1858-1859)
Adolf Anderssen (1859-1866)
Wilhelm Steinitz (1866-1886)
William Steinitz (1886-1894)
Emanuel Lasker (1894-1921
Jose Capablanca (1921-1927)
Alexander Alekhine (1927-1935, 1937-1946)
Max Euwe (1935-1937)
Mikhail Botvinnik (1948-1957, 1958-1960, 1961-1963)
Vasily Smyslov (1957-1958)
Mikhail Tal (1960-1961)
Tigran Petrosian (1963-1969)
Boris Spassky (1969-1972)
Robert Fischer (1972-1975)
Anatoly Karpov (1975-1985, 1993-1999)
Garry Kasparov (1985-1993)
Alexander Khalifman (1999-2000)
Viswanatan Anand (2000-2002)
Rustam Kasimdzhanov (2004-2005)
Vesselin Topalov (2005-2006)
Vladimir Kramnik (2006-2007)
Viswanatahn Anand (2007-2013)
Magnus Carlsen (2013- present)
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