Hikaru's Hot Takes on the Ten Best Chess Players of All Time

Hikaru reviews chess.com’s list of the ten best chess players of all time:

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  1. I agree on Kramnik's point. You don't put Kramnik into top 10 and leave Anand out. Personally for me it's a big question if Kramnik belongs in top 10, while Anand definitely does.

  2. Tal is the most underrated player in history. If he wasn’t born sick and didn’t drink and smoke so much he would’ve been one of the greatest ever.

  3. The problem with these lists is romanticism of past. A top 10 player in the 1800's wouldn't crack a top 200 player list now. So world championships then should also mean less…And yes Natural talent is great but doesn't mean anything for this list in my view. Magnus would wipe the floor with the vast majority of the people on this list including Fischer and maybe even Kasparov. Then of course, greatness is not synomyous with just "best" but also influence and here Anand should be way higher because he was easily top 10 in skill, longevity, but arguably #1 for chess influence. If it's just pure skill/accuracy hard to top carlson, kasparov, etc. If it's outreach Anand is near the tippy top. But don't be putting Tal in the top 10 when he wouldn't even make it to the top 20 of today's FIDE rankings.

  4. With regard to Carlsen he has dominated in the modern age when computers are King and people can learn faster than ever . Hence this era having a record number of GM’s under the age of 14. I think the time factor has to be considered with this in mind in that his competition is probably the highest it has ever been in history.

    If he dominates in the next even 2-3 years to me that means his the best of all time. Heck I would even call him the best now the GOAT easily. Well he has the highest elo just by that measure his that greatest

  5. Respectfully, I dont see how Anand's career was better than Kramnik's. He defeated Kasparov, something Anand could never achieve. And then unified the World Championship title in extremely adverse circumstances (basically being robbed off of one point in the match). Those two milestones are more than numbers, they are historical.

  6. I recently did a ranking of all chess world champions and I as fan (obviusly) didn't put put Tal in top 10. Its funny how simular it is to this one. Only differans that I put Steinitz instead of Tal. I think its hard to chose between Anand and Kramnik whos best but I but Kramnik on 10 place and Anand on 11 due to Kramnik perforemd better on a longer time (I think), had a higher all time raiting and had a better inpact on chesstheory
    You can make a case for Anand as well. Its very close. My list, (not including Morphy as he was not an officiell world champion.) : 1. Kasparov 2. Carlsen 3. Fischer 4. Lasker 5. Karpov 6. Capablanca 7. Alejchin 8. Steinitz 9. Botvinik 10. Kramnik 11. Anand 12. Tal 13. Petrosian 14. Spassky 15. Smyslov 16. Euwe. (Not counting Fide champions)

  7. Magnus will be the undisputed best player in history by 2030 he isn't even 30 and is argued to be the goat already

  8. Oh no Polgar? I thought everyone celebrated when she defeated Magnus and Kasparov only once and get wrecked by them many times. Kasparov 12 Magnus 10

  9. Hikaru , your knowledge of chest history is not as sharp as your play . Let me tell you why Anand was not one of top 10
    1-Anand became world champion very old at age of 38 compared to Tal 24 Karpov 24 Kasparov 22 Kramnik 25 Carlsen 23
    2- Anand grew very slowly . For example at the age of 21 he was number 68, but at the age of 21 Kramnik was number 1
    3- Anand has overall poor record against Kasparov but Kramnik has overall positive record against Kasparov not only in Championship matches
    4-Kramnik overall play is extremely accurate with very small decimal difference than Carlsen but better than Kasparov and Anand
    5-Both Anand and Kramnik failed to dominate while they were world champions “ they failed to keep number 1 rank along with world championship title “ opposite to Karpov Kasparov and Carlsen . Fischer retired early , we don’t know if he could keep his domination

    About Tal : yes agreed his games are not the most accurate by computer , yet he is unique genius . He was the youngest world champion at his time till that broken 25 years later . He won USSR championships 6 times ! He won world blitz championship title 4 years before his death !
    Tal didn’t curb his desire to play complicated and genius plans .Botvinnik said “ if he could curb himself to play in safe style , no body on earth could defeat him “ yet Tal is Tal he insist to go crazy , he likes to hear the roar of the crowed . He inspired millions , including world champions . Radjaov named him the most outstanding but not the strongest ; and Spassky says : He is the Messiah of chess

  10. Fischer was probably at least top two chess players of all time he went two and a half years not loosing a game and at his peak beat 20 grand masters in a row`in the 1970 inter zonal tournaments as well not putting Morphy in the top 10 is a crime at 14 he best some of the best chess players in the world by merely playing against his dad this was probably though because he had an iq of 190 so don't feel bad

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