Friday, January 18, 2008

Controversy Corner

I'll be gone on another trip through Monday, not sure if I'll have a chance to blog any, so here's something that I hope will spur some controversy and commentary over the weekend; I had recently linked back to an old post on The Greatest, wherein I identified my choices for the greatest chess players ever, in certain categories.

Now, for your edification and especially your criticism, my ordered list of The Top 10 Chess Players of All Time, using the following criteria: 1) Their accomplishments as players, that is, results in tournaments and matches; 2) Relative dominance over their contemporaries for at least a few years; 3) Longevity at the top; 4) Advancement of the art of chess through the example of their play. That these criteria are based partly on subjective judgment makes it all the more fun to debate, of course. How to compare different eras? Subjective!

Other notes--I considered leaving off players who are still active, but a couple deserve to be on here just for what they've done so far, so they might move up over the coming years. I also considered a brief paragraph of justification for the inclusion of and order of the players, but it's more fun if you have to speculate about my reasons and provide your own when telling me how full of it I am. So, here is the bare list:

1. Kasparov
2. Capablanca
3. Karpov
4. Fischer
5. Alekhine
6. Botvinnik
7. Lasker
8. Tal
9. Kramnik
10. Anand

Please share your differences in the comments!

(ADDENDUM: I understand Fischer has passed away, the news is all over the MSM and chess blogosphere; I'm saddened that he's dead, of course, and also that much of his titanic talent and intellect seemingly went to waste over the last three decades).


Eric Shoemaker said...

Hi Robert, here's my list, which doesn't differ too much from your own:

1. Kasparov
2. Karpov
3. Fischer
4. Capablanca
5. Botvinnik
6. Alekhin
7. Reshevsky
8. Lasker
9. Morphy
10. Rubinstein

chessboozer said...

I noticed Im not on the list, Just wondering how did you do against your dentist.

Anonymous said...

Kramnik and Anand? While very good players of course, they can't be top 10! They haven't all that dominant in our time like others have been in theirs.

I really don't know enough to make a top 10 list; but a few names that might be better than those two are Morphy, Bronstein, and Petrosian.

Naisortep said...

Steinitz should be on the list. He won matches against the best players of his time by dominant scores, was arguably the best player from 1866-1896, and is credited by Lasker and others with laying down the laws of modern chess.

Pawn Shaman said...

I would move Botvinnik further up for his role as a great mentor and teacher.

Where did you visit when you came to Flag?

Anonymous said...

Your list will be fine as long as Fischer is no 1 followed by Kasparov. Fischer is really the King of the 64 squares.

drunknknite said...

I'm going to go ahead and say that Carlsen is the best player of all time and will eclipse all of the aforementioned stars in the coming years. And that's after his brutal loss to Leko in a drawn position yesterday and his near loss to Van Wely today.

But in reality the debate between players of different generations is one that can never be resolved. I do however agree strongly with LEP that Petrosian and Bronstein should be included in the discussion before Anand (Kramnik is debatable as he seems to have proven himself over the last 7 years).

Alimuzzaman said...

Here is my list:
1. Garry Kasparov
2. Bobby Fischer
3. Jose Raul Capablanca
4. Anatoly Karpov
5. Mikhail Botvinnik
6. Alexander Alekhine
7. Emanuel Lasker
8. Paul Morphy
9. Vladimir Kramnik
10.Wilhelm Steinitz

I know that there are many outstanding players who remained outside of this list. For example, Tal, Bronstein, Keres, Reshevsky, Najdorf, Smyslov, Spassky,Rubinstein, Staunton, Shirov, Anand, Petrosian, Nimzovich so many. And there are players whose style I dont like like: Wilhelm Steinitz, Karpov and Botvinnik. But when one considers all the aspect - especially their finest contribution through which chess as a whole improved - I had pretty much obvious choice. These are the players whose style - whatever you call it was standalone and was one of a kind. And they all dominated and ruled the chess world by their strenght and their efforts. So this is pretty much I wanted to share...