The Greatest Players in the History of Chess Part 2

The Greatest Players in the History of Chess
The Greatest Players in the History of Chess

Wilhelm Steinitz

The champion, also known as Austrian Morphy, made a huge contribution to the modern game. In 1873, Steinitz showed us what was then a unique positional playing style. This was regarded as being cowardly as it was a far cry from an all-out attacking style. Steinitz also offered some highly influential writings and thoughts and is now often referred to as “the father of positional play”. While a number of his ideas could be seen as strange to the modern player, they were fundamental to all positional themes that are known today. A number of players, such as Lasker and Tarrasch, regarded him as their “teacher”.

Steinitz beat Adolf Andersson in 1866, which was some feat as Andersson was the world’s best player at the time. Steinitz only played a single match between 1873-1882, but won with a perfect 7-0 score against Blackburne. After making a return to the game in 1882, he went to become champion of the world after beating his rival Zuckertort in 1886. He reigned supreme for the next eight years, beating Chigorin and Gunsberg before eventually losing to Emanuel Lasker in 1894. As a result of poverty, he unfortunately passed away in 1900.

Jose Raul Capablanca

When it came to blitz chess, Capablanca was undoubtedly the king. He started his career in chess at just four years of age and defeated the Cuban champion at 13. At 18, he beat U.S. champion Frank Marshall 15-8. Then in 1921, Capablanca won the World Chess Champion, bringing an end to Lasker’s reign. That was a title that he defended for the next six years. One year after he won his first world championship, he put in a mind-blowing performance when playing against 103 players at the same time, drawing one and winning the other 102. He lost his title in 1927, and while he continued to play in tournaments, he never managed to regain his peak form, retiring in 1931.

Jose Raul Capablanca
Jose Raul Capablanca

Bobby Fischer

Fischer started his career at just 14 years of age. It was certainly a career of achievement, including eight U.S. Chess Championships. He was also the youngest-ever Grandmaster at 15 years old and the World Chess Championship’s youngest-ever candidate. He won 20 matches in a row in 1970 and became the World Chess Champion two years later after defeating Boris Spassky. He didn’t defend his title in 1965 as he was unable to come to an agreement with FIDE over matches conditions. He was later involved in a number of conflicts and controversies.

No player, however, has such an advantage of talent over their rivals. Fischer’s playing style ensured that his name remains one of the more iconic names among all levels of chess players. While Fischer played numerous great matches, one of his more important games was the sixth game in a World Championship Match against Boris Spassky. It was the Cold War of chess, which ensured high media interest. Fischer’s win ended the Soviet School’s dominance.