Best Chess players of all time

In no order, who are the top 5 chess players of all time? Mine are Fischer, Kasparov, Carlsen Botvinnik and Alekhine.

I think that Carlsen benefits from today’s technology, which basically wasn’t around for the other 4. The “benefit of coming after”, so to speak, which is kind of true of Kasparov as well.

Botvinnik had an entire country’s resources behind him plus the manipulation of the chess world which the Soviet Union basically controlled. But still a great player.

Alekhine and Fischer relied primarily on their talent alone. No computers or political systems to aid them. Plus the fact that, in Alekhine’s case especially there weren’t numerous decades of high level chess development to lean on.

It’s a subjective topic for sure. Like who’s the best quarterback of all time? Brady? The rules of football have changed since Johnny Unitas played and there are more games in a season so stats, that is to say accomplishments alone, are only part of the picture. Speaking of pictures.

6 thoughts on “Best Chess players of all time

  1. Your list and accompanying logic are hard to argue with. As you point out, it is a very subjective ranking. That said, here are my top five: 1. Kasparov 2. Carlson 3. Fischer 4. Capablanca 5. Karpov.


  2. I would substitute Capablanca for Botvinnik. Capa was unbeatable for fifteen years from before WWI until the late 1920s. It was a time of low chess activity for sure but a lot of amazing players were active. Other than that the list and its criteria are right on.


  3. My top 5 would include:Fischer,Capablanca,Fine,Morphy,and Botvinnik (includes all the mechanics like: Karpov, Spassky, Petrosian, etc.).Its hard not giving Steinitz and Lasker more credit; they did not have a lot to work with.This makes for a good conversational topic.I wonder how many even know who the first 13 world champs are.  I know Morphy and Fine were not WC but Fine won more games against WC than anyone.  Bill


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