Top 10 Chess players of all-time

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Re: Top 10 Chess players of all-time

Post by DNS » Fri Aug 13, 2010 4:46 am

4. Bobby Fischer (1943-2008) from the U.S.

World Champion 1972-1975

Bobby Fischer was born to a Jewish woman of Polish descent and a German biophysicist. He was a chess prodigy, learning the game at age 6 and excelling at it at a very young age.

Image
Fischer at a tournament in 1960 at the age of only 17

In 1956 at the age of only 13 he played what many have called "The Game of the Century" defeating the U.S. champion:

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. d4 O-O 5. Bf4 d5 6. Qb3 dxc4
7. Qxc4 c6 8. e4 Nbd7 9. Rd1 Nb6 10. Qc5 Bg4 11. Bg5 {11. Be2
followed by 12 O-O would have been more prudent. The bishop
move played allows a sudden crescendo of tactical points to be
uncovered by Fischer. -- Wade} Na4 {!} 12. Qa3 {On 12. Nxa4
Nxe4 and White faces considerable difficulties.} Nxc3 {At
first glance, one might think that this move only helps White
create a stronger pawn center; however, Fischer's plan is
quite the opposite. By eliminating the Knight on c3, it
becomes possible to sacrifice the exchange via Nxe4 and smash
White's center, while the King remains trapped in the center.}
13. bxc3 Nxe4 {The natural continuation of Black's plan.}
14. Bxe7 Qb6 15. Bc4 Nxc3 16. Bc5 Rfe8+ 17. Kf1 Be6 {!! If
this is the game of the century, then 17...Be6!! must be the
counter of the century. Fischer offers his queen in exchange
for a fierce attack with his minor pieces. Declining this
offer is not so easy: 18. Bxe6 leads to a 'Philidor Mate'
(smothered mate) with ...Qb5+ 19. Kg1 Ne2+ 20. Kf1 Ng3+
21. Kg1 Qf1+ 22. Rxf1 Ne2#. Other ways to decline the queen
also run into trouble: e.g., 18. Qxc3 Qxc5} 18. Bxb6 Bxc4+
19. Kg1 Ne2+ 20. Kf1 Nxd4+ {This tactical scenario, where a
king is repeatedly revealed to checks, is sometimes called a
"windmill."} 21. Kg1 Ne2+ 22. Kf1 Nc3+ 23. Kg1 axb6 24. Qb4
Ra4 25. Qxb6 Nxd1 26. h3 Rxa2 27. Kh2 Nxf2 28. Re1 Rxe1
29. Qd8+ Bf8 30. Nxe1 Bd5 31. Nf3 Ne4 32. Qb8 b5 {Every piece
and pawn of the black camp is defended. The white queen has
nothing to do.} 33. h4 h5 34. Ne5 Kg7 35. Kg1 Bc5+ 36. Kf1
Ng3+ {Now Byrne is hopelessly entangled in Fischer's mating
net.} 37. Ke1 Bb4+ 38. Kd1 Bb3+ 39. Kc1 Ne2+ 40. Kb1 Nc3+
41. Kc1 Rc2# 0-1

Fischer playing black and winning.

In 1971 in a semi-final match to play for the World Championship, he beat Bent Larsen, a grandmaster and genuine candidate for the World title 6/6 (six straight wins).

Fischer was a great boon to chess in the U.S., igniting a huge increase in chess participation and interest in the U.S. and also in other parts of the world. In a previous edition of the Guiness Book of Records, his I.Q. was listed at 163 which is well into the genius range. However, he had poor social skills, did not get along with others well or the press and was often seen as rude and arrogant. For this, he may have done as much harm to chess than the good he did. In spite of being at least half Jewish (there are some reports that his biological father was also Jewish, making him full-Jewish by birth), he was fiercely anti-Semitic.

He did have the intelligence and vision to at least see that the opening systems and memorization of opening moves was destroying the game of chess as the better performances are often won by those with the greater memories of these systems rather than those with the best chess playing skills. He did advocate for a new version of chess and even created a variant, known as Fischer Random Chess or Chess960 because there are 960 different possible starting positions (back pieces randomly placed) eliminating opening theories for the most part.

Fischer is not placed at the top of my version of this list because of his poor attitudes, unfriendliness, and because he refused to defend his title after winning in 1975.

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Re: Top 10 Chess players of all-time

Post by tiltbillings » Fri Aug 13, 2010 5:01 am

David N. Snyder wrote:
Fischer is not placed at the top of my version of this list because of his poor attitudes, unfriendliness, and because he refused to defend his title after winning in 1975.
You are being a bit too kind. He became an anti-Semite whack-job.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Re: Top 10 Chess players of all-time

Post by Modus.Ponens » Fri Aug 13, 2010 3:20 pm

I heard that Fischer had Asperger's syndrome, which explains his poor social skills and (partly) his talent as a chess player.
"He turns his mind away from those phenomena and, having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.' " - Jhana Sutta

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Re: Top 10 Chess players of all-time

Post by DNS » Sat Aug 14, 2010 4:06 am

tiltbillings wrote:You are being a bit too kind. He became an anti-Semite whack-job.
:D This is true.
Modus.Ponens wrote:I heard that Fischer had Asperger's syndrome, which explains his poor social skills and (partly) his talent as a chess player.
It is too bad that he did not get help or assistance with that.

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Re: Top 10 Chess players of all-time

Post by DNS » Sun Aug 15, 2010 4:51 am

3. Judit Polgar (1976- ) from Hungary

Judit Polgár is Jewish, and from Budapest. Members of her family perished in the Holocaust, and her grandmother was a survivor of Auschwitz. She is married to Gusztáv Font, a veterinary surgeon from Budapest, whom she met through his caring for her dog.

Image

Polgár has always preferred not playing the women's specific division events, making it clear from the beginning that she wanted to become the true World Champion of Chess regardless of gender.

Judit Polgar is without a doubt, unquestionably, indisputably, the greatest female chess player in history. No other woman comes close to matching her achievements. She plays against men and regularly wins. She is still an active player and there is the possibility that she could reach higher levels than what she has already done. In February and May of 2004 she had a chess elo rating of 2746 which placed her at number 5 in the world on the men's list. This is an incredible feat considering that about 90% of all chess players are male.

As a woman, within genuine reach of the World Championship on the 'open' / men's list, she is largely unsung and unrecognized outside of the chess world for this significance. In virtually no other sport can women compete with the top men due to the average larger muscle mass in men. But since chess is primarily a mental / intellectual game, Polgar demonstrates that women can reach the highest levels. This could suggest that there is little to no differences in intellectual abilities between men and women, but again, unfortunately this goes largely unnoticed outside of the chess world.

If there is still anyone who questions her greatness and rank on my list here at number 3, consider the following incredible achievements:

* In 1996 she defeated the Brazilian champion
* In 1998 she defeated former World Champion, Anatoly Karpov in an 8 game match
* In 1998 she won the US Open chess tournament, which included several high rated Grandmasters
* She has also won other tournaments in Asia and Europe
* In 2002 she defeated former World Champion Gary Kasparov (in a single game, not a complete match, but still an impressive victory)
* In individual games she has beat former World Champions: Karpov, Topalov, Kasparov, and current World Champion, Viswanathan Anand.

Polgar–Viswanathan Anand, Dos Hermanas 1999

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e6 7.g4 e5 8.Nf5 g6 9.g5 gxf5 10.exf5 d5 11.Qf3 d4 12.0-0-0 Nbd7 13.Bd2 dxc3 14.Bxc3 Bg7 15.Rg1 0-0 16.gxf6 Qxf6 17.Qe3 Kh8 18.f4 Qb6 19.Qg3 Qh6 20.Rd6 f6 21.Bd2 e4 22.Bc4 b5 23.Be6 Ra7 24.Rc6 a5 25.Be3 Rb7 26.Bd5 Rb8 27.Rc7 b4 28.b3 Rb5 29.Bc6 Rxf5 30.Rxc8 Rxc8 31.Bxd7 Rcc5 32.Bxf5 Rxf5 33.Rd1 Kg8 34.Qg2 Kf8 1-0

(Polgar, playing white, wins in 34 moves)

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Re: Top 10 Chess players of all-time

Post by Modus.Ponens » Sun Aug 15, 2010 4:16 pm

David N. Snyder wrote: As a woman, within genuine reach of the World Championship on the 'open' / men's list, she is largely unsung and unrecognized outside of the chess world for this significance. In virtually no other sport can women compete with the top men due to the average larger muscle mass in men. But since chess is primarily a mental / intellectual game, Polgar demonstrates that women can reach the highest levels. This could suggest that there is little to no differences in intellectual abilities between men and women, but again, unfortunately this goes largely unnoticed outside of the chess world.
Chess is mainly a men's game because, as I learned it, the men's brain is different from the women's brain. The right frontal lobe, in men, is used for visualization process. It's a specific area for that, while women have to use the whole left brain to visualize images. The right frontal lobe, in women, is designed for language usage. This difference in visualizing things in space is well studied in IQ tests.

Polgar (you're probably aware of this) was part of an experience by her father who wanted to test if intelegence is just genetic, or can be learned. So he trained hard his three daughters to play chess from early age, even blindfolded. The result is impressive. He created three geniuses.
"He turns his mind away from those phenomena and, having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.' " - Jhana Sutta

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Re: Top 10 Chess players of all-time

Post by Lazy_eye » Sun Aug 15, 2010 11:56 pm

David,

I'm really enjoying this thread. Waiting to see if Alekhine made the list!

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Re: Top 10 Chess players of all-time

Post by DNS » Mon Aug 16, 2010 1:32 am

Modus.Ponens wrote: Chess is mainly a men's game because, as I learned it, the men's brain is different from the women's brain. The right frontal lobe, in men, is used for visualization process. It's a specific area for that, while women have to use the whole left brain to visualize images. The right frontal lobe, in women, is designed for language usage. This difference in visualizing things in space is well studied in IQ tests.
I have heard about the visualization process. It could explain why some men seem to be able to find their cars in a parking lot better than women. Or maybe they are just more attached to their cars? :thinking:

But I think the visualization process is not as important as the combination strategies and analysis (perhaps, engineering and mathematical skills) and the artistic and creative skills that are also needed. And that is why women could do as good as men and perhaps Polgar demonstrates this or gives some evidence to that.
Polgar (you're probably aware of this) was part of an experience by her father who wanted to test if intelligence is just genetic, or can be learned. So he trained hard his three daughters to play chess from early age, even blindfolded. The result is impressive. He created three geniuses.
Yes, that was an incredible experiment. I hope the girls (now women) didn't mind being the subjects of that experiment. :thinking: It appears that geniuses can be made based on this experiment? Or maybe the father is selling himself short and has high intelligence himself? Judit Polgar has done very well, so I imagine she is okay with the chess upbringing.

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Re: Top 10 Chess players of all-time

Post by DNS » Mon Aug 16, 2010 1:42 am

Lazy_eye wrote:David,
I'm really enjoying this thread. Waiting to see if Alekhine made the list!
Thanks. We'll see . . . only two spots left on my list of the all-time greatest.

By the way, Happy Birthday! My online time has been a little less than what I prefer lately, so missed that other thread.

Is Alekhine your pick for the best and/or your favorite chess player?

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Re: Top 10 Chess players of all-time

Post by Kim OHara » Mon Aug 16, 2010 3:14 am

David N. Snyder wrote:
Modus.Ponens wrote: Polgar (you're probably aware of this) was part of an experience by her father who wanted to test if intelligence is just genetic, or can be learned. So he trained hard his three daughters to play chess from early age, even blindfolded. The result is impressive. He created three geniuses.
Yes, that was an incredible experiment. I hope the girls (now women) didn't mind being the subjects of that experiment. :thinking: It appears that geniuses can be made based on this experiment? Or maybe the father is selling himself short and has high intelligence himself? Judit Polgar has done very well, so I imagine she is okay with the chess upbringing.
The Williams sisters' tennis careers are the result of their father's ... let's say, ambition for them, and another data point on the nature/nurture scoreboard.
:juggling:
Kim

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Re: Top 10 Chess players of all-time

Post by Lazy_eye » Mon Aug 16, 2010 3:17 am

David N. Snyder wrote:
Thanks. We'll see . . . only two spots left on my list of the all-time greatest.

By the way, Happy Birthday! My online time has been a little less than what I prefer lately, so missed that other thread.

Is Alekhine your pick for the best and/or your favorite chess player?
My level of chess knowledge doesn't qualify me to make such a pick, but he's an interesting, controverisal figure and opinion seems quite divided about his overall legacy, so I'm curious to see how he fares in the Dhamma Wheel rankings. :reading:

Thanks for the birthday wishes!

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Re: Top 10 Chess players of all-time

Post by Sanjog » Tue Aug 17, 2010 4:36 pm

Polgár was a GM at a tender age as well. Fifteen years and four months, impressive.

Will Deep blue feature in this list? :tongue:

Also, who is the Chess player with incredible memory who faced a premature death following a disease in St Petersburg?

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Re: Top 10 Chess players of all-time

Post by DNS » Wed Aug 18, 2010 12:01 am

Sanjog wrote:Polgár was a GM at a tender age as well. Fifteen years and four months, impressive.
:thumbsup:
Will Deep blue feature in this list? :tongue:
I thought about including Deep Blue, but then felt that with the way computers are getting so advanced eventually all ten spots might be different programs, which wouldn't be too fun or interesting. So then I thought about just putting the generic "Chess Computers" at one of the spots in the Top 10, but then felt that would not be too good either. To be fair, that would be sort of like listing the 'crane' as the best weight lifter of all time. So I decided to leave the machines out of the list and only put the humans. :tongue:
Also, who is the Chess player with incredible memory who faced a premature death following a disease in St Petersburg?
Is that a chess quiz? :tongue:

George Koltanowski is perhaps the greatest blindfold player of all-time, but he lived to the age of 96.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Koltanowski" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: Top 10 Chess players of all-time

Post by DNS » Wed Aug 18, 2010 3:59 am

2. Emanuel Lasker (1868-1941) from Germany

Undisputed World Champion for 27 years 1894-1921

Image

Dr. Emanuel Lasker is the longest reigning World Champion in modern times and when there were clear championship matches performed. He was born on December 24, 1868 at Berlinchen in Neumark (now Barlinek in Poland), the son of a Jewish cantor. At the age of eleven he was sent to Berlin to study mathematics, where he lived with his brother Berthold, eight years his senior, who taught him how to play chess. He earned a doctorate (Ph.D.) in mathematics in 1902.

After winning the world championship, he successfully defended his title 5 times, two of the times winning the match without a single loss. However, there were two 9 year periods during his reign where he did not have to defend his title, out of the total 27 years as champion.

Emanuel Lasker, playing black, defeating Wilhelm Steinitz

1. e4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. f4 d5 4. d3 Nc6 5. fxe5 Nxe5 6. d4 Ng6
7. exd5 Nxd5 8. Nxd5 Qxd5 9. Nf3 Bg4 10. Be2 O-O-O 11. c3 Bd6
12. O-O Rhe8 13. h3 Bd7 14. Ng5 Nh4 15. Nf3 Nxg2 16. Kxg2
Bxh3+ 17. Kf2 f6 18. Rg1 g5 19. Bxg5 fxg5 20. Rxg5 Qe6 21. Qd3
Bf4 22. Rh1 Bxg5 23. Nxg5 Qf6+ 24. Bf3 Bf5 25. Nxh7 Qg6
26. Qb5 c6 27. Qa5 Re7 28. Rh5 Bg4 29. Rg5 Qc2+ 30. Kg3 Bxf3
0-1

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Re: Top 10 Chess players of all-time

Post by Sanjog » Wed Aug 18, 2010 1:58 pm

Also, who is the Chess player with incredible memory who faced a premature death following a disease in St Petersburg?
Is that a chess quiz? :tongue:

George Koltanowski is perhaps the greatest blindfold player of all-time, but he lived to the age of 96.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Koltanowski" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
No, he is an Englishman, he beat the English chess champion when he was in his early teenage years.

This list gets interesting now, I guess Mikhail Tal is at the top or is it José Capablanca. Hard to guess really with so many players to choose from!

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