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See also: Category: World Chess Champions

The World Chess Championship is a match played to determine the World Chess Champion: the highest title possible to earn in chess. The current World Champion is Ding Liren of China.

The official World Chess Champions are as follows (in order from first to latest): Wilhelm Steinitz, Emanuel Lasker, Jose Capablanca, Alexander Alekhine, Max Euwe, Mikhail Botvinnik, Vassily Smyslov, Mikhail Tal, Tigran Petrosian, Boris Spassky, Bobby Fischer, Anatoly Karpov, Garry Kasparov, Vladimir Kramnik, Vishwanathan Anand, Magnus Carlsen and Ding Liren.

World Chess Champions[]

Official Champions Before FIDE (1886 - 1946)[]

Wilhelm Steinitz (1886 - 1894)[]

Steinitz was the first official World Champion. He achieved this in 1886 by defeating Johannes Zukertort. Steinitz succesfully defended his title against Mikhail Chigorin in 1889 and 1892, and Isidor Gunsberg in 1891. He lost the world championship match to Emanuel Lasker in 1894.

Emanuel Lasker (1894 - 1921)[]

Lasker was the longest-reigning World Champion, reigning 27 years between 1894 and 1921. He beat Steinitz in a rematch in 1897. He also beat Frank Marshall in 1907, Siegbert Tarrasch in 1908, Carl Schlechter in 1910, and David Janowski, also in 1910. He did not play another world championship match until 1924, when he lost the title to Jose Raul Capablanca 5-9.

Jose Capablanca (1921 - 1927)[]

Capablanca defeated Lasker in 1921 to become the 3rd World Chess Champion. He did not play a world championship again until 1927, when he lost to Alexander Alekhine.

Alexander Alekhine (1927 - 1935, 1937 - 1946)[]

Alekhine won the Championship in 1927 and held it until 1935 when he lost it to Max Euwe. Two years later he earned it back and held it until his death in 1946. He was the only World Champion to die with the title still intact.

Max Euwe (1935 - 1937)[]

The Interregnum (1946-1948)[]

When Alekhine died, there was an interregnum period because people couldn't decide what to do to decide who will be the next World Chess Champion.

After the Interregnum (1948 - present)[]


The current world champion, Magnus Carlsen

Mikhail Botvinnik (1948 - 1957, 1958 - 1960, 1961 - 1963)[]

He won the title in a tournament match in 1948 after Alekhine's death and kept it until 1957, when he lost it to Vassily Smyslov. Just one year later he won it back and held it until 1960, when Mikhail Tal took it from him. Finally, he won it back in 1961 and held the title until 1963.

Vassily Smyslov (1957 - 1958)[]

Mikhail Tal (1960 - 1961)[]

Tigran Petrosian (1963 - 1969)[]

Boris Spassky (1969 - 1972)[]

Bobby Fischer (1972 - 1975)[]

It was won by forfeit by Anatoly Karpov because Fischer refused to play.

Anatoly Karpov (1975 - 1985)[]

Garry Kasparov (1985 - 2000)[]

Vladimir Kramnik (2000 - 2007)[]

Vishwanathan Anand (2007 - 2013)[]

Magnus Carlsen (2013 - 2023)[]

Ding Liren (2023-present)

He is the current world champion of Chess.