Sport and Leisure/Chess

From Quiz Revision Notes


Lewis Chessmen (or Uig Chessmen, named after their find-site) are a group of 78 chess pieces from the 12th century most of which are carved in walrus ivory, discovered in 1831 on the Isle of Lewis. Displayed in British Museum

Philidor's book Analyse du jeu des Echecs, written in 1749, was considered a standard chess manual for at least a century

The Turk was a hoax that purported to be a chess-playing machine. Constructed and unveiled in 1770 by the Austrian-Hungarian baron Wolfgang von Kempelen, the mechanism appeared to be able to play a strong game of chess against a human opponent

Staunton chess set – Nathaniel Cook is credited with the design, and they are named after Howard Staunton. This style of set was first made available by Jaques of London in 1849

The Immortal Game was a chess game played by Adolf Anderssen and Lionel Kieseritzky in 1851 in London. The very bold sacrifices made by Anderssen to finally secure victory have made it one of the most famous chess games of all time

First World Championship chess match won by William Steinitz, in 1886

Capablanca was the first player to be recognized by FIDE as world champion, in 1925

The Women's World Championship was established by FIDE in 1927 as a single tournament held alongside the Chess Olympiad

In 1968, International Master David Levy made a famous bet that no chess computer would be able to beat him within ten years. He won his bet in 1978 by beating Chess 4.7 (the strongest computer at the time), but acknowledged then that it would not be long before he would be surpassed. In 1989, Levy was crushed by the computer Deep Thought in an exhibition match

From 1948 to 1993, the championship was administered by FIDE, the world chess federation. In 1993, the reigning champion (Garry Kasparov) broke away from FIDE, leading to the creation of two rival championships. This situation remained until 2006, when the title was unified at the World Chess Championship 2006

The Elo rating system is a method for calculating the relative skill levels of players in two-player games such as chess and Go. It is named after the system’s creator, Arpad Elo, a Hungarian-born physics professor. Elo's system was adopted by the World Chess Federation in 1970

World Computer Chess Championship (WCCC) was first held in Sweden in 1974, and was won by Kaissa. Junior won in 2013 for the sixth time

From 1985 the World Team Chess Championship was held every four years, since 2011 every two years. Since 2007 there is a separate championship for women teams, which is also held every two years

Deep Blue was a chess-playing computer developed by IBM. In 1997, the machine defeated world champion Garry Kasparov

In 2006 Deep Fritz beat Vladimir Kramnik

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, the former President of Kalmykia, is head of FIDE


++ double check

!! outstanding move

?? blunder

?! dubious move

!? interesting move

0-0 castling kingside

0-0-0 castling queenside

Armageddon – a game which White must win to win the match, but which Black only needs to draw to win the match. White has more time than Black

Elephant – forerunner of the bishop

En Prise – chess piece that can be taken

Fianchetto – a pattern of development wherein a bishop is developed to the second rank of the adjacent knight file, the knight pawn having been moved one or two squares forward

Fool’s mate – 1. f3 e5 2. g4 Qh4

J’adoube (I adjust) – to adjust the position of a chess piece on its square without being required to move it

Scholar’s mate – a four-move checkmate

Sicilian Defence – 1. e4 c5

Zugzwang – when a player is put at a disadvantage by having to make a move; where any legal move weakens the position

Male players

Louis-Charles Mahé de La Bourdonnais (1795–1840) was a French chess master, possibly the strongest player in the early 19th century. La Bourdonnais was considered to be the unofficial World Chess Champion from 1821 until his death in 1840. The most famous match series, indeed considered as the world championship, was the series against Alexander McDonnell in 1834

Howard Staunton (1810–1874) was an English chess master who is generally regarded as having been the world's strongest player from 1843 to 1851, largely as a result of his 1843 victory over Saint-Amant. He promoted a chess set of clearly distinguishable pieces of standardized shape (Staunton pattern) that is still the style required for competitions. He was the principal organizer of the first international chess tournament in 1851

Adolf Anderssen (1818–1879) was a German chess master. He is considered to have been the world's leading chess player in the 1850s and 1860s. He was ‘dethroned’ temporarily in 1858 by Paul Morphy

Paul Morphy (1837–1884) was an American chess player. He is considered to have been the greatest chess master of his era and an unofficial World Chess Champion in 1858. Morphy retired from chess in 1859

Wilhelm (later William) Steinitz (1836–1900) was an Austrian and then American chess player and the first undisputed world chess champion from 1886 to 1894. Steinitz lost his title to Emanuel Lasker in 1894 and also lost a rematch in 1897

Aron Nimzowitsch (1886–1935) was a Russian-born Danish unofficial chess grandmaster and an influential chess writer

Emanuel Lasker (1868–1941) was a German chess player, mathematician, and philosopher who was World Chess Champion for 27 years (1894–1921). In his prime Lasker was one of the most dominant champions, and he is still generally regarded as one of the strongest players ever

Emanuel Lasker invented a draughts-like game in 1911

Jose Raul Capablanca (1888–1942) was a Cuban chess player who was world chess champion from 1921 to 1927. Due to his achievements in the chess world, mastery over the board and his relatively simple style of play he was nicknamed the ‘Human Chess Machine’

Alexander Alekhine (1892–1946) he became the fourth World Chess Champion in 1927 by defeating Capablanca, widely considered invincible, in what would stand as the longest chess championship match held until 1985. He was defeated by Euwe in 1935, but regained his crown in the 1937 rematch

Max Euwe (1901–1981) was a Dutch chess Grandmaster, mathematician, and author. He was the fifth player to become World Chess Champion (1935 – 1937). Euwe also served as President of FIDE, the World Chess Federation, from 1970 to 1978

Mikhail Botvinnik (1911–1995) was a Soviet International Grandmaster and three-time World Chess Champion (1948–1957, 1958–1960, 1961–1963). Working as an electrical engineer and computer scientist at the same time, he was one of the very few famous chess players who achieved distinction in another career while playing top-class competitive chess

Vasily Smyslov (1921–2010) was a Soviet and Russian chess grandmaster, and was World Chess Champion from 1957 to 1958

Mikhail Tal (1936–1992) was a Soviet–Latvian chess player, a Grandmaster, and the eighth World Chess Champion, from 1960 to 1961. He holds the records for both the first and second longest unbeaten streaks in competitive chess history. Many authorities consider him to have been the greatest attacking Grandmaster in the history of chess

Tigran Petrosian (1929–1984) was a Soviet-Armenian grandmaster born in Tbilisi, and World Chess Champion from 1963 to 1969. He was nicknamed ‘Iron Tigran’ due to his playing style because of his almost impenetrable defence, which emphasized safety above all else

Victor Korchnoi (1931-2016) played three matches against Anatoly Karpov, the latter two for the World Chess Championship. In 1974, he lost the Candidates final to Karpov, who was declared world champion in 1975 when Bobby Fischer failed to defend his title. Then, after defecting from the Soviet Union in 1976, he won consecutive Candidates cycles to qualify for World Championship matches with Karpov in 1978 and 1981, losing both

Nigel Short (born 1965) was ranked third in the world, from January 1988 – July 1989 and in 1993, he challenged Garry Kasparov for the World Chess Championship, in London

Boris Spassky (born 1937) is a Soviet-French chess grandmaster. Spassky defeated Tigran Petrosian in 1969 to become World Champion, then lost the title in the Fischer–Spassky match in 1972

Bobby Fischer (1943–2008) captured the World Championship from Boris Spassky of the USSR in a match held in Reykjavík in 1972. In 1975, Fischer declined to defend his title when he could not come to agreement with FIDE over the conditions for the match. After ending his competitive career, he proposed a new variant of chess and a modified chess timing system: His idea of adding a time increment after each move is now standard

The Game of the Century refers to a game played between Donald Byrne and 13-year-old Bobby Fischer in the Rosenwald Memorial Tournament in New York City in 1956, which Fischer won

In 1977, Bobby Fischer played three games in Cambridge against the MIT Greenblatt computer program. Fischer won all the games

Bobby Fischer was involved with the Worldwide Church of God and died in Iceland

Tony Miles (1955-2001) was the first British-born chess grandmaster

Raymond Keene (born 1948) was the second British-born chess grandmaster. He has been chess correspondent of The Times since 1985, and has written over 100 books on chess

Anatoly Karpov (born 1951) was the official world champion from 1975 to 1985 when he was defeated by Garry Kasparov. He played three matches against Kasparov for the title from 1986 to 1990, before becoming FIDE World Champion once again after Kasparov broke away from FIDE in 1993. He held the title until 1999, when he resigned his title in protest against FIDE's new world championship rules

Garry Kasparov (born 1963) became the youngest ever undisputed World Chess Champion in 1985 at the age of 22. He held the official FIDE world title until 1993, when a dispute with FIDE led him to set up a rival organization, the Professional Chess Association. He continued to hold the "Classical" World Chess Championship until his defeat by Vladimir Kramnik in 2000. He is also widely known for being the first world chess champion to lose a match to a computer under standard time controls, when he lost to Deep Blue in 1997. He was the world No. 1 ranked player for 255 months

Vladimir Kramnik (born 1975) was the Classical World Chess Champion from 2000 to 2006, and the undisputed World Chess Champion from 2006 to 2007. In 2006, Kramnik, the Classical World Champion, defeated reigning FIDE World Champion Veselin Topalov in a unification match, the World Chess Championship 2006. As a result Kramnik became the first undisputed World Champion, holding both the FIDE and Classical titles, since Kasparov split from FIDE in 1993. In 2007, Kramnik lost the title to Viswanathan Anand

Veselin Topalov (born 1975) from Bulgaria won the FIDE World Chess Championship in  2005. Ranked number one for a total of 27 months

Viswanathan Anand (born 1969) from India held the FIDE World Chess Championship from 2000 to 2002, at a time when the world title was split. He became the undisputed World Champion in 2007 and defended his title against Vladimir Kramnik in 2008. He then successfully defended his title in the World Chess Championship 2010 against Veselin Topalov. As the reigning champion, he defeated Boris Gelfand, the winner of the Candidates Tournament, for the World Chess Championship 2012

Sergey Karjakin (born 1990) is a Russian (formerly Ukrainian) grandmaster. He was a chess prodigy and holds the record for both the youngest International Master, 11 years and 11 months, and grandmaster in history, at the age of 12 years and 7 months. In September 2011 he had an Elo rating of 2772, making him Russia's second best chess player, and the fifth in the world

Magnus Carlsen (born 1990) is a Norwegian chess Grandmaster and chess prodigy who is currently the number-one ranked player in the world. His peak rating is 2882, the highest in history. In 2004 Carlsen became a Grandmaster at the age of 13, making him the third-youngest Grandmaster in history. In 2010, at the age of 19 years, he became the youngest chess player in history to be ranked world number one, breaking the record previously held by Vladimir Kramnik. Magnus Carlsen faced Anand in the World Chess Championship 2013 in Chennai. Carlsen won the match 6½–3½. Carlsen retained the title against Sergey Karjakin in 2016 and Fabiano Caruana in 2018

Female players

Vera Menchik (1906–1944) was a British-Czech chess player who gained renown as the world's first women's chess champion. She also competed in chess tournaments with some of the world's leading male chess masters, defeating many of them, including future World Champion Max Euwe. The daughter of a Czech father and British mother, Vera Menchik was born in Moscow but, in the aftermath of World War I and the Russian Revolution, moved with her family to England in 1921. She won the first Women's World Championship in 1927 and successfully defended her title six times. She was killed in a V-1 rocket bombing raid in Clapham in 1944

Lyudmila Rudenko (1904–1986) was a Soviet chess player and the second Women's World Chess Champion from 1950 until 1953

Elisabeth Bykova (1913–1989) was a Soviet chess player and the third and fifth Women's World Chess Champion, from 1953 until 1956, and again from 1958 to 1962

Xie Jun (born 1970) from China was Women's World Chess Champion from 1991 to 1996 and again from 1999 to 2001

Susan Polgar (born 1969), often known as Zsuzsa Polgar, was the Women's World Chess Champion from 1996 to 1999. She was also the first woman in history to break the gender barrier by qualifying for the 1986 Men's World Championship

Judit Polgar (born 1976) is a Hungarian chess grandmaster. She is by far the strongest female chess player in history. In 1991, Polgar achieved the title of Grandmaster at the age of 15 years, the youngest person ever to do so at that time. Polgar was ranked No. 35 in the world on the November 2011 FIDE rating list with an Elo rating of 2710. She is the only female player to have won a game against a Men's World champion

Sofia Polgar (born 1974) is an International Master and Woman Grandmaster, and is the middle sister of Grandmasters Susan and Judit Polgar

Alexandra Kosteniuk (born 1984) is a Russian chess Grandmaster and was Women's World Chess Champion from 2008 to 2010

Hou Yifan (born 1994) won the Women's World Chess Championship 2010 in Hatay, Turkey, making her the youngest women's world champion in history, aged 16. She defended her title by defeating Indian GM Koneru Humpy in 2011, and regained the title in 2013

Anna Ushenina (born 1985) from Ukraine won the Women's World Chess Championship 2012, which was a knockout tournament for the first time

Ju Wenjun (born 1991) from China won three consecutive Women's World Chess Championships held between 2018 and 2020