The Top 5 Chess Players of All Time: Learn More about Some of the Greatest Chess Players in History!

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The Top 5 Chess Players of All Time: Learn More about Some of the Greatest Chess Players in History!

0:00 – Introduction
0:08 – Anatoly Karpov
0:46 – Bobby Fischer
1:38 – Viswanathan Anand
2:17 – Garry Kasparov
3:03 – Magnus Carlsen

The game of chess has a large history, with many amazing players contributing to the game and its development. Some of the most famous chess players of all time include Paul Morphy, Viswanathan Anand, Alexander Alekhine, Adolf Anderssen, Pal Benko, Mikhail Botvinik, José Raúl Capablanca, Magnus Carlsen, Mikhial Chigorin, Reuben Fine, Bobby Fischer, Boris Gelfand, Sergey Karjakin, Anatoly Karpov, Garry Kasparov, Victor Korchnoi, Vladimir Kramnik, Bent Larson, Emanuel Lasker, Hikaru Nakamura, Ian Nepomniachtchi, Sam Palatnik, Judit Polgár, Ruslan Ponomariov, Ray Robson, Akiba Rubinstein, Sergei Shirov, Nigel Short, Jeremy Silman, Vasily Smyslov, Wesley So, Boris Spassky, Wilhelm Steinitz, Peter Svidler, Mikhail Tal, and many more.
Chess, thanks to the players listed above, has a very rich history. Chess can be traced back around 1400 years, and is commonly known to have originated in India. It went from India to Persia, and eventually found itself taking over the globe.
Where we really saw chess take off was in the 19th century. The Romantic, Scientific, Hypermodern, and New Dynamism eras soon took place. In the 19th century, chess had not yet seen its potential in terms of level of play. However, many chess players had a huge impact on the development of the game. Players include Lasker, Capablanca, Morphy, Alekhine, Silman, Philidor, Blackburne, Bird, Zuckertort, Chigorin, Reti, and many more. These players were not as good as the players we see current day, but they developed chess into a place that had never been seen before.
We soon saw players in the 20th century who brought chess to a new level. This led into players like Mikhail Botvinik, Vasily Smyslov, Mikhail Tal, Tigran Petrosian, Boris Spassky, Bobby Fischer, Anatoly Karpov, and eventually Garry Kasparov. I would say the largest shift we were starting to see as chess fans was an increase in opening theory. Before, chess endgames were played at a high level. The middlegame was studied vigilantly as well. Tactical and positional chess knowledge was very emphasized. However, it was not until this new era that openings started to dominate the preparation of the elite chess players. Chess competition was enjoying a new fanbase, as the game had become more global. A great example of this was the match between Bobby Fischer and Borris Spassky. It was a chess match, but it symbolized so much more than that as it took place during the cold war.
In the 21st century, the use of computers, especially in opening preparation, started to be utilized by Viswanathan Anand. Anand led the charge, and the world of chess has followed. Now opening preparation has been looked to almost to a fault. However, from this, we have seen many different styles of play. Anand, for example, memorizes thousands of opening lines, looking to beat opponents without even having to think. Magnus Carlsen, on the other hand, has looked to strive for positions that had not yet been reached before. Carlsen looks to reach positions never seen before, and because of this, we see two people playing chess. The mystery of chess has been lost a little bit, but thanks to players like Carlsen, we as chess fans can enjoy unfamiliar games with creative ideas utilized.
Above is the history of chess. Many great players have contributed to the game in different ways. However, the question we look to answer in this video who is “the top 5 chess players of all time.” I have decided to answer this question by looking at it through the lense of level of play. If we look at who is the most entertaining to watch, Mikhail Tal is number 1 in my mind. And if influental, then Paul Morphy is right up there. However, I decided to answer this question of “greatness” and have translated it to “best.” This is not meant to go against the older players! In fact, if anything, it honors them. Chess would not be where it is today if it weren’t for them. One of the greatest legacies a chess player can give is leaving the game better than when he/she left it.
In summary, the history of chess is long and rich. Many diverse styles, accomplishments, and performances have been shown. We hope you enjoy this video!
Many diverse styles, accomplishments, and contributions have led many great players to dominate the game of chess.



  1. I think for me my five favorite players are morphy, capablanca, tal, kasparov and magnus.

  2. Considering success in world title matches and tournaments for me it is Emanuel Lasker by far. Not only he was the Champion for 27(!) years, he won a lot of big tournaments. Up to 1924 (New York) he won 16 of 20 tournaments he played. Even after he lost the title and was still competitive in the 1930ties. He played on a high level for almist 50 years, half a century!

  3. How about Mikhail Botinivik , Mikhail Tal or Vladimir Kramnik ?

  4. Anand shouldn't be in the top five. To place Anand over Fischer is absurd. Fischer's dominance in modern chess is comparable to his great compatriot Paul Morphy's. It was a relatively short time for both of them, a couple of years – but no-one else has achieved such a distance from his peers.

  5. Respect this ranking. Is after research and accounts of matches, not due any reasons.

  6. Fischer 2 Fischer 3 Fischer 4 Fischer 5 Fischer.

  7. My Top 5 are Morphy, Anderssen, Fischer, Tal, and Ivanchuk

  8. Mikhail Tal might not be the best but he was the most entertaining chess player ever (imo). Truly a magician.

  9. I like Capablanca because he claimed he never read chess books, Murphy as well.

  10. My favorite chess player of all time is Mikhail Tal but the best chess player of all time is Magnus

  11. Even though i love anand the most but gary is best no one can argue.

  12. The Top 5 Best Chess Player of All Time
    1. Bobby Fischer 🇺🇸 2895 1971-10
    2. Garry Kasparov 🇷🇺 2886 1993-03
    3. Mikhail Botvinnik 🇷🇺 2885 1945-10
    4. Magnus Carlsen 🇳🇴 2882 2014-05
    5. Emanuel Lasker 🇩🇪 2878 1894-05

  13. 5. Capablanca – Style
    4. Karpov – Power
    3. Carlsen – Freestyle
    2. Fisher – Ideas
    1. Tal – Attack

    I would never add Anand, because i could add any guy that will study computer engines and learn all the moves, and not feel the game.

    And before you attack me, remember, attacking is a Tal move.

  14. Thank god you placed Karpov at 5 man he is damn underrated I feel he should be placed 3rd Fischer should be 5th anand should be 4th but nevertheless your list is good bro

  15. Wrong, Fischer beat the Soviet system, chess was sewn up. Fischer had too deal with the threat of assassination, he wanted those 'cameras off for a reason' a lot at stake, cold war secret weaponry, he was told by kissemger, any news paper reporters camera, and his late arrival so no one knew what plane he would take.

  16. Growing up, I appreciated the chess style of Paul Keres, arguably the strongest player to never be World Champion, because of what I considered his intelligent aggression on the chess board.

    Among current GMs, I like Yasser Seirawan, as his preferred openings most closely reflect the openings I prefer to play,

  17. My two faves are Fischer and Tal. Fischer was a great player and inspired people like me in the 1970s, I was born in '63, to play Chess. Tal, I was in awe of Capablanca 'til I read about Tal. Tal was an attacker and he had insurmountable health issues. These two I would and do try to emulate. Love Fischer's quote about 1.e4 being best by test.

  18. I think all lists are unfair. The new players profit from the knowledge, good opening, mistakes done from all previous chess players. all new players they learn much more chess by studying all the uncountable games between karpov and kasparov then studying the basics, books, etc. What I think is that are players that changed and are markers in chess history. Morphy, Capablanca, Alekhine, Euwe, Lasker, Botvinnik. They were the creators of first openings, strategies, tactics. Then, the game suffer big evolution due to Tal, Fischer, Karpov and Kasparov. Lets say that they create the modern chess. That's why I said before: only by studying the games between karpov against kasparov is already an encyclopedia of chess openings, defenses, positional game, etc, etc.
    There are players that are markers in chess history. Rank them is always unfair. Better to rank their impact in chess history

  19. Bobby and Vishy are beautiful to watch..

  20. Would you say it was playing chess good or the Starbursts that eventually propelled your rating past 3000?

  21. Puting Fischer over Karpov is insane. Fischer was Fide champ for 2 and a half years and ducked Karpov. Karpov was champ for more than 10 years, defended the title against Korchnoi and Anand, and fought Kasparov several time in the biggest chess rivals of all time. His chess legacy is superior by far.

  22. Michael Tal was one of kind player.
    Attack was his ultimate goal.
    It's worth mentioning.

  23. 4 of them are alive!
    We are living in the greatest era of chess!

  24. Just a humbly submitted opinion. Obviously lists like these, in whatever field, are perennially popular, but so often contain an unfortunate omission — namely the criteria used. In other words, "top" or "greatest" in what sense? Why not make that clear? For example, I can imagine lists based on at least four different vantage points: 1) Overall level of play, 2) Prime level of play, 3) Style of play, and 4) Significance to the game of chess. A parallel from boxing (a sport I've followed for many years): While I cannot ignore the extraordinary effectiveness of Floyd Mayweather (50-0), I prefer the boxing style of Thomas Hearns, personally. Having said all that, very good video which I thoroughly enjoyed!

  25. hehehe fck how many times he lost against school boy fking school boy and he is the greatest 😂

  26. Saying Magnus is the GOAT because of ELO and CAPS is like saying the best scientist must be whoever is at the forefront of contemporary science. Every professional knows everything Einstein did, and many school children do as well. Yet, there is one name that comes to mind when we talk about science, and it isn't "Class of 2028". In chess, the same thing is happening – engines have increased player's knowledge, but not necessarily their skill or greatness. I personally think that Kasparov and Fischer are both ahead of Magnus, especially after his recent decision to not defend his title. There are also arguments for Lasker and Morphy. This is all hypothetical, but the trend of calling whoever is the current thing the GOAT is arrogant and misses so much of the picture.
    (I don't mean to call you arrogant, there are legitimate arguments for Magnus as well. I am just commenting on a broad trend I see across all domains where humans seem to always think they are at the pinnacle of our existence.)

  27. Any list that doesn't include Mikhail Tal is incomplete.

  28. I can clearly see you don't know much about chess. This is just your opinion sir.
    If you much older like me. You will know names like Lasker and Alekhine even Steinitz.
    To me Lasker the greatest player of all time. If you want to break it down to modern day its Kasparov and those days its Lasker. Magnus is 2nd to Kasparov. Fischer and Tal must exciting players to watch as they always went for the win most of the time.

  29. Bruh,you put Bobby Fischer in no.4 and put Vishy on 3,Gary On 2 and Carlsen on 1,Whoaaa!
    You are the player who don't know anything and make videos randomly by searching in google

  30. Tal didnt found his place in ur top 5 but is no.1 in comment box. That's speak for itself. The Magician from Riga.

  31. Your choice of top 5 is weighed much on how long they were such.
    Where as the title or word you use… 'top' …denotes best.
    Who can reasonably choose who is best?
    Best, as in best among his peers? That would go to Fischer, and then Carlson.
    Best, as in the best mind for chess? Again many and most would select Fischer.
    Best, as in with what 'help' is or was available in that day? I would lean towards Bobby.

    I feel that the 'best' one to compete with who is today's best…would be James Fischer.
    Take Carlson back 50 yrs… to the day of much less theory and 'only books' and put him across the board from Fischer.
    Birth Fischer ahead 50 years, with access to all today's programs…and let him battle with Magnus.
    And and a final thought? Let the two go full tilt at Fischer random chess.
    Will we not see WHO is the ultimate sovereign of Chess?

  32. Computer aids and game memorization have long been criticized by Capablanca and Fischer. As far as natural chess talent my picks are #1 Morphy, #2 Capablanca and #3 Fischer.

  33. Except in terms of sheer longevity, placing Anand ahead of Fisher on any list is ludicrous. The actual debate is whether Fisher is superior to Kasparov and Magnus (it's difficult to say which of these three is the best. These three could be ranked similarly to Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic. Depending on the criterion we choose to employ, any one of them could be assigned to one of the top three spots), and then you bring Anand, who, despite being an phenomenal player and possibly among the top 10 players to ever live, cannot even be put above Tall, Capablanca, or Paul Morphy in terms of their unparalleled contributions to the game of chess or their pure creativity when it comes to playing chess.

  34. Mikhail tal best player unstoppable

  35. Its okk All 5 are great but we missed two one is Mikhail Tal and other his friend Rashid Nezhmetdinov..both were superb i think Tal should be at number 5..

    Chess player

  36. Capablanca ,alkhine ,tal,bolbinik where much better than the ones you mention

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