Sunday, March 17, 2013

History of the World Chess Championship

The History of Chess

 Throughout the history of chess, humanity has continually held a fascination
 with those rare individuals whose immense skill and success at the game 
makes them deserving of being labeled "The Strongest Player on Earth."
 The title of World Chess Champion is the embodiment of this notion. 
This page is both a brief history of the World Chess Championship and 
an index of all of the modern championship matches.
Unofficial World Chess Champions

 For many centuries, there was no formal world chess championship, but 
there were nonetheless a select few who achieved fame for their ideas and successes over the chess board, and sometimes even for their writings. Each 
player below was recognized in his respective time as the strongest chess 
player in the world. The years indicate the approximate time period when 
each could be considered world champion in an unofficial capacity.
player  years  country
Luis Ramirez de Lucena  ~1490  Spain
Pedro Damiano  ~1520  Portugal
Ruy Lopez de Segura  ~1560  Spain
Leonardo da Cutri  ~1575  Italy
Paolo Boi  ~1575  Italy
Alessandro Salvio  ~1600  Italy
Gioachino Greco  ~1620  Italy
Kermur Sire De Legal  ~1730-1747  France
Francois-Andre Philidor  ~1747-1795  France
Alexandre Deschapelles  ~1800-1820  France
Louis De La Bourdonnais  ~1820-1840  France
Pierre de Saint Amant  1842-1843  France
Howard Staunton  1843-1851  England
Adolf Anderssen  1851-1858  Germany
Paul Morphy  1858-1862  USA
Adolf Anderssen  1862-1866  Germany
Wilhelm Steinitz  1866-1878  Austria
Johannes Zukertort  1879-1886  Poland
click player name for biography, stats, discussion, and more

Paul Morphy

 In the 1850s, America's foremost chess player was a young man from

 Louisiana named Paul Morphy. In 1858, Morphy traveled overseas to play 
against the finest competition that Europe had to offer. Morphy annihilated
 the opposition, including the German attacking geniusAdolf Anderssen, who 
was widely regarded as the strongest player of the day. Morphy had proven 
himself in every way a World Chess Champion. After his European tour, Morphy returned to the states, and announced his retirement from chess.Morphy's retirement in 1862 left a vacuum in the chess world, and the simple question, 
"Who is the best?" lacked a definitive answer. Anderssen was a likely choice,
 but it wasn't long before people turned their attention to an Austrian chess sensation named Wilhelm Steinitz, whose daring attacking style had earned 
him the nickname "The Austrian Morphy". When Steinitz defeated Anderssen 
in 1866, Steinitz was widely regarded as the world's best, and would be for 
decades to come.
Official World Chess Champions
 In the 1870s, a Polish immigrant to the United Kingdom named 

Johannes Zukertort was gaining worldwide attention. By the 1880s many 
believed that he had surpassed Steinitz, which was further confirmed when Zukertort won the London tournament of 1883, defeating nearly every leading player in the world, finishing three points above second-place Steinitz. 
The stage was finally set for the first official World Chess Championship.

Wilhelm Steinitz

So who was better, really? In 1886 these two masters settled the question
 in the only acceptable way: they played a long chess match. Although not
 held under the aegis of any official organization, most chess historians
regard the Steinitz-Zukertort match as the first official World Chess
Championship, because it started a grand tradition. This tradition is
characterized by several components, chief among which are:

  1. The title is determined by a match of sufficient length to demonstrate a superiority of one player over the other.
  2. The winner of the match becomes heir to the title of World Chess Champion, the highest title there is.
  3. The title, although intangible, is treated for all purposes like a physical object which may be possessed by only one person at a time.
  4. The reigning champion can only relinquish the title by losing a subsequent match to a competitor, or by retiring, or by death.
  5. From time to time, the reigning champion is obligated to defend his title against the strongest challengers.
 Starting with Steinitz, the title of World Chess Champion has been handed
 down through the generations from one player to another, like an Olympic

FIDE World Chess Champions
 In 1946, Alexander Alekhine passed away, and forced the chess world to
resolve a novel dilemma: the death of a reigning champion. Due to this
problematic interregnum, a French chess organization founded in 1924,
 inactive since 1939, suddenly rocketed to prominence.Fédération
Internationale des Échecs
 (FIDE) proposed a solution that a title tournament
take place inviting the world's most prominent players. The plan was
successful, and led to the 1948 FIDE World Chess Championship Tournament
which crowned Mikhail Botvinnik as World Chess Champion and established a
 more formal system of selecting candidates for the
future.Garry Kasparov

 This system worked reasonably well, until 1993, when World Champion
Garry Kasparov made the historic decision to break his allegiance to FIDE.
 Unhappy with the bidding process to select the site for the match, FIDE's
 lack of consultation with the players, and the 20% cut of the prize fund going
 to FIDE, Kasparov declared that he would defend the title outside of the
auspices of FIDE. This created a split title, in which Kasparov played title
 defense matches under a newly created organization called the PCA
 (Professional Chess Association), while FIDE continued to manage a World Championship cycle that was stripped of legitimacy in the eyes of most chess
 fans. The uncomfortable situation of a split title persisted for 13 years,
during which time Kasparov lost a title defense toVladimir Kramnik.
In order
to end the chaos of the split title, and for FIDE to retain legitimacy, it was necessary to pit Kramnik (the rightful heir of Kasparov's throne) against the
FIDE World Champion. The title was reunified in 2006 when FIDE Champion
 Veselin Topalov lost to Kramnik in the 2006 FIDE World Championship Match
 in Elista.

Index of all World Chess Championships
 The following list is an index of all official World Chess Championships.
Click on a tournament for a crosstable, a short historical article, a
chronological list of all the games, and a discussion forum.


No comments:

Post a Comment