World Chess Championship trivia
The 6th game of the 2012 world chess championship between Vishy Anand and Boris Gelfand was drawn after 29 moves. It was the 6th straight draw. The world championship is half way through, with 6 more games before a tiebreak match. Tomorrow is a rest day (as if they needed it) before they resume on May 20. The games have been drawn in 24, 25, 37, 34, 27, and 29 moves. There have been three Semi-Slav Openings, two Gruenfelds, and one Sicilian Defense.
In the U.S. Championship, Nakamura defeated Kamsky with the Black pieces (Sicilian, Najdorf) to take the lead by ½ point. It was the first decisive result in 6 games between Nakamura and Kamsky. One more round to go.
Here is some trivia on the World Chess Championship.
The idea of a world chess champion began around 1840.
In 1843, Howard Staunton (1810-1874) defeated Pierre Charles Fournier de Saint-Amant (1800-1872) in an unofficial match for the world chess championship.
The phrase “world chess champion” first appeared in 1845 when Howard Staunton was described as “the Chess Champion of England or…the Champion of the World.”
A proposed world championship match was scheduled for after 1846, but its main organizer, Ludwig Bledow (1795-1846) died, and the proposed tournament did not take place.
Chess is the second sport to have a world championship. Billiards was the first sport to have a world championship, which first occurred in 1873. William Cook won the title.
The first official world chess championship began in 1886, when William (Wilhelm) Steinitz (1836-1900) played Johann Zukertort (1842-1888) in a match. The prize fund was 400 British pounds a side. The match was played in three cities: New York, St Louis, and New Orleans. Steinitz wanted the U.S. flag to be placed next to him during the match, even though he still was an Austrian citizen (he became an American citizen almost three years later). Less than 40 people were present at the start of this historical match, despite Steinitz’s daughter, Flora, selling programs and photographs to earn a few extra dollars for the family. Steinitz couldn’t even afford a winter coat for her daughter. The winner was the first to win 10 games, draws not counting. Steinitz was down 1-4 against Zukertort in the 1886 world championship, but came from behind to win. The time control was 30 moves in 2 hours, followed by 15 moves an hour after that. For the first time in chess history, a demonstration board was used so that the game could be followed by the spectators.
In January-February 1889, Steinitz defended his title against Mikhail Chigorin (1850-1908), which was played in Havana. The winner would be the first to reach 10.5 points. There was only one draw in the match. The last game was a draw after 70 moves, which gave Steinitz the title. Steinitz won 10 games and Chigorin won 6 games. The total purse for the players was only $1,150, the smallest prize fund of any world chess championship.
In 1890/91, Steinitz defended his title against Isidor Gunsberg (1854-1930). The match was played in New York. It was the best of 20 games. Steinitz won 6, lost 4, and drew 9 games. Steinitz received 2/3 of the total prize money ($3,000), and Gunsberg received 1/3. This was the first time a loser of a match took a share of the purse.
In 1892, Steinitz defended his title against Chigorin, who was his challenger in 1889. Just like 1889, the match was held in Havana. The event was held at the Centro Asturiano Club. Chigorin blamed his loss on the heat. Chigorin lost the last game (game 23) by what was called the blunder of the century, allowing mate with the rooks on the 7th rank. The shortest world championship win was 19 moves in this match.
In 1894, Emanuel Lasker (1868-1941) defeated Steinitz in the world championship. The match was played in New York, Philadelphia, and Montreal. Lasker won 10, lost 5, and drew 4. Steinitz was 58 and Lasker was 26 when they played for the world championship, an age difference of 32 years. William Steinitz was 58 years, 10 days when he lost his title to Emanuel Lasker on May 26, 1894. Steinitz did offer an excuse as to why he lost the match. He said it was due to insomnia. The stakes were for $2,000 a side, or $4,000 combined (about $500,000 in today’s money).
Lasker defended his title against Steinitz in 1896-97 with 10 wins, 5 draws, and 2 losses. The match was played in Moscow. Lasker won the first four games in a row. A month after the world championship match, Steinitz had a nervous breakdown and was sent to a psychiatric clinic in Moscow. Did the loss affect his mind? This match is considered the second best match performance of all time, behind the Fischer-Larsen, 6-0 match in 1971.
In 1907, Lasker defended his title against Frank Marshall (1877-1944). The winner was the first to win 8 games. Lasker beat Marshall with 8 wins and 7 draws. Marshall could not win a single game. The match was played in New York, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Chicago, and Memphis.
In 1908, Lasker defended his title against Siegbert Tarrasch (1862-1934) in Duesseldorf and Munich. Lasker won with 8 wins, 3 losses, and 5 draws. Lasker was convinced that Tarrasch had hypnotic powers and wanted to play the match from a different room. Lasker received 4,000 marks for his winnings.
In January-February 1910, Lasker played Carl Schlechter (1874-1918) in Vienna and Berlin. The match ended in a 5-5 tie. It was supposed to be a match of 30 games, but lack of funds kept it shorter. Lasker won 1 game, drew 8 games, and lost one game to tie the match. Schlechter needed only a draw in the last round to win the match. During that last game, he was winning, but eventually lost the game in 71 moves and the match. The match was held in Vienna and Berlin. Lasker received 1,000 marks for each game played. After the match, the public decided to call this match a world chess championship match. There is little evidence that Lasker considered this a world championship match where he would lose his title if he lost this short match.
In November-December 1910, Lasker defended his title against David Janowski (1868-1927) in Berlin. Lasker won 8 games and drew 3 games. Janowski was unable to win a single game. Lasker had defended his world championship title 6 times in 4 years.
Lasker did not defend his world championship title from 1897 to 1906, or from 1911 to 1920.
In 1920, Lasker resigned his title in a dispute over match conditions. Lasker wrote to Jose Capablanca (1888-1942) in Spanish and resigned his title to Capablanca without playing a game. However, Lasker needed the money and agreed to play Capablanca in 1921 for the world championship for $13,000.
In 1921, the world championship match was played in Havana between Lasker and Capablanca. It was supposed to be the best of 24 games, but Lasker resigned after 14 games. Capablanca’s prize was $12,000, less than what Lasker got to play in the match.
Emanual Lasker was world champion the longest. He was world champion for 26 years and 337 days, from 1894 to 1921. Lasker had 52 career wins in world championship play. He played in 8 world championship matches.
In 1927, Alexander Alekhine (1892-1946) beat Capablanca in Buenos Aires for the world championship title. The winner was the first to win 6 games. Alekhine won 6, lost 3, with 25 draws. The stake money was $10,000 in gold (40,000 pesos). $4,800 was to go to the winner, $3,200 was to go to the loser, and $2,000 was for Capablanca’s appearance fee. The entire match took place behind closed doors and lasted 73 days. There were no spectators or photographs. The opening of 32 of the 34 games was the Orthodox Defense of the Queen’s Gambit Declined. During the match, Alekhine became a naturalized French citizen. The only time-out was when Alekhine had 6 teeth extracted during the match. After the final game, Alekhine was carried through the streets of Buenos Aires by a crowd of 10,000 chess fanatics. Before the match, the score between the two opponents was 4 wins, 5 draws, and 0 losses in favor of Capablanca. Before the match, Spielmann predicted that Alekhine would not win a single game. Hardly anyone in the world expected Alekhine to win.
In 1929, Alekhine defended his title against Efim Bogoljubow (1889-1952) in Germany and The Netherlands. Alekhine avoided Capablanca’s challenge of a re-match and took on Bogoljubow at Wiesbaden (first 8 games), Heidelberg (3 games starting October 3), Berlin (6 games), The Hague, and Amsterdam from September 6 through November 12, 1929. Alekhine won with 11 wins (the most wins of any world championship), 9 draws, and 5 losses. He avoided Capablanca by insisting that the winner get $10,000 in gold, just as he got on Buenos Aires. But after the stock market crash in October, 1929, there were no backers. Alekhine had a small fortune until the 1929 financial crash, in which he lost almost everything. There has only been one checkmate in world championship play. Alekhine checkmated Bogoljubow in 29 moves in the 1929 world championship match.
After the stock market crash of 1929, Capablanca could not raise $10,000 for a re-match with Alekhine. Capablanca wrote to Alekhine to postpone a world championship match, then later accused Alekhine of stalling for a rematch. Alekhine then attacked Capablanca and the negotiations between the two broke down. After this, Alekhine and Capablanca never spoke again, nor did they ever shake hands when they met at the chess board in future tournaments.
In April-June 1934, Alekhine again defended his title against Bogoljubow. The match was held in 12 cities in Germany (Baden-Baden, Villingen, Freiburg, Pforzheim, Stuttgart, Munich, Bayreuth, Bad Kissingen, Nuremburg, Karlsruhe, Manheim, and Berlin). Alekhine won 8, drew 15, and lost 3 games. Alekhine received $6,000 for his efforts.
On October 3, 1935 the world championship match between Alekhine and Max Euwe (1901-1981) began in Zandvort for $10,000 to the winner. The match was played in 13 cities in The Netherlands. On December 15, 1935 Euwe had won with 9 wins, 13 draws, and 8 losses. This was the first world championship match to officially have seconds to help in analysis during adjournments. Salo Landau, a Dutch Jew, was Alekhine’s second and Geza Maroczy was Euwe’s second. After the 26th game, Landau withdrew after a disagreement with Alekhine.
From October 5 to December 7, 1937, Alekhine played Euwe for the world championship match in various Dutch cities (The Hague, Rotterdam, Haarlem, Groningen, and Amsterdam). Alekhine did what no other world champion before him had been able to do – he regained the world championship in a return match. He won 10 games, drew 11, and lost 4.
Alekhine died in 1946 and FIDE took over the world chess championship.
In 1948, Mikhail Botvinnik (1911-1995) became world champion by winning a 5-player match-tournament played in The Hague and Moscow.
In 1951, Botvinnik defended his title against David Bronstein (1924-2006), played in Moscow. The match was a 12-12 tie (best of 24 games), but in case of tie, Botvinnik remained world champion.
In 1954, Botvinnik defended his title against Vasily Smyslov (1921-2010) in Moscow. It was also a 12-12 tie, so Botvinnik remained world champion.
In 1957, Smyslov beat Botvinnik in Moscow with 6 wins, 3 losses, and 13 draws.
In 1958, Botvinnik won his title back after defeating Smyslov in Moscow with 7 wins, 5 losses, and 11 draws. Smyslov was world champion for one year and 12 days.
The last world championship game to lose on time was 1958.
In 1960, Mikhail Tal (1936-1882) beat Botvinnik in Moscow with 6 wins, 2 losses, and 13 draws. He became the youngest world chess champion at age 23 up to that time.
In 1961, Botvinnik won his title back again after defeating Tal with 10 wins, 5 losses, and 6 draws. The match was played in Moscow. Mikhail Tal had the briefest reign of any world chess champion. He was world champion for one year and five days.
In 1963, Tigran Petrosian (1929-1984) defeated Botvinnik in Moscow with 5 wins, 2 losses, and 15 draws. Botvinnik was not allowed a rematch. If we don’t count Fischer’s default loss to Spassky in 1972, the shortest games in world championship play is 10 moves. Two games were drawn in 10 moves in the Petrosian-Botvinnik match.
Botvinnik played every World Champion of the 20th century. Botvinnik played 157 world championship games. He won 36, lost 39, and drew 82 games.
In 1966, Petrosian beat Boris Spassky (1937- ) in Moscow with 4 wins, 3 losses, and 17 draws. Petrosian became the first world champion since Steinitz to defeat his challenger to remain world champion. He received $2,000 for his efforts.
In 1969, Spassky beat Petrosian in Moscow with 6 wins, 4 losses, and 17 draws.
In 1972, Robert (Bobby) Fischer (1943-2008) beat Spassky in Reykjavik, Iceland with 7 wins, 3 losses, and 11 draws.
On April 24, 1975, Anatoly Karpov (1951- ) became world champion after Fischer forfeited his title.
Karpov became World Chess Champion before he became the USSR Chess Champion.
In 1978, Karpov beat Viktor Korchnoi (1931- ) in Baguio city, Philippines with 6 wins, 5 losses, and 21 draws. The longest world championship game was 124 moves. It was the 5th game in the 1978 Karpov-Korchnoi match. The game ended in a stalemate with bishop and pawn vs. pawn endgame.
In 1981, Karpov beat Korchnoi in Meran (Merano), Italy with 6 wins, 2 losses and 10 draws.
The longest world championship was the 1984-85 match between Karpov and Gary Kasparov (1963- ). It lasted 48 games and 159 days before being called off. It also had the most draws in a match – 40 games. There were 17 consecutive draws in this match. 1,647 moves were made in this match. The winner was the first to win 6 games, but the match was canceled after Karpov had won 5 games, lost 3 games, and drew 40 games.
In 1985, Kasparov beat Karpov in Moscow with 5 wins, 3 losses, and 16 wins. Kasparov became world champion at the age of 22 years and 210 days.
In 1986, Kasparov beat Karpov with 5 wins, 4 losses, and 15 draws. The match was held in London and Leningrad.
In 1987 Kasparov defended his title against Karpov in Seville, Spain. The game ended in a 12-12 tie and Kasparov retained his title.
In 1990, Kasparov beat Karpov with 4 wins, 3 losses, and 17 draws. The first half of the match was played in New York City. The second half of the match was played in Lyon, France. Kasparov won $1.7 million for defeating Karpov, who took home $1.3 million in their world championship match.
In 1992, Fischer won $3,650,000 for defeating Spassky, who took home $1.35 million in their unofficial world championship match. The match was held in Sveti Stefan and Belgrade, Yugoslavia. Fischer won 10, lost 5, and drew 15 games.
In 1993, the world championship title matches were split between FIDE and the Professional Chess Association (PCA). Kasparov was stripped of his FIDE title. FIDE gave the title back to Karpov.
In 1993, Kasparov defeated Nigel Short in London with 6 wins, 1 loss, and 13 draws. This was for the PCA world championship title. Karpov defeated Jan Timman with 6 wins, 2 losses, and 13 draws. This was for the FIDE world championship title.
In 1995, Kasparov defeated Viswanathan (Vishy) Anand (1969- ) at the World Trade Center in New York with 4 wins, 1 loss, and 13 draws. This was for the PCA title.
In 1996, Karpov beat Gata Kamsky in Elista with 6 wins, 3 losses, and 9 draws. This was for the FIDE title.
In 1998, Karpov defended his title against Anand in Groningen with 4 wins, 2 losses, and 2 draws. This was for the FIDE title.
In 1999, Alexander Khalifman became FIDE world champion after winning the world championship tournament in Las Vegas.
In 2000, Vladimir Kramnik defeated Kasparov in London with 2 wins and 13 draws. This was called the Braigames world championship.
In 2000, Anand became FIDE world champion after winning the world championship tournament held in New Delhi and Tehran.
In 2002, Ruslan Ponomariov became FIDE world champion after winning the world championship tournament in Moscow. He became the youngest men’s world champion at age 18.
In 2004, Rustam Kasimdzhanov became FIDE world champion after winning the world championship tournament in Tripoli.
In 2004, Kramnik defended his title by drawing a match against Peter Leko in Brissago.
In 2005, Veselin Topalov became FIDE world champion after winning an 8-player tournament held in Brazil.
In 2006, a reunification match was held and Kramnik became world champion after beating Topalov in Elista.
In 2007, Anand, age 36, became world champion after winning an 8-player tournament in Mexico City.
In 2008, Anand beat Kramnik in Bonn, with 3 wins, 1 loss, and 7 draws.
In 2010, Anand beat Topalov in Sofia with 3 wins, 2 losses, and 7 draws.
Anatoly Karpov has won over 170 tournaments, more than any other world champion.
World champion Gary Kasparov had the highest Elo rating of any world champion. His peak rating was 2851 in 1999.
The 2010 World Chess Championship is the first men’s world championship without a Russian or Soviet player since 1921 (Lasker-Capablanca).
Anand is the only player to have won the World Chess Championship in three different formats: Knockout, Tournament, and Match.
If Boris Gelfand beats Anand, he will be the oldest person to win the world chess championship for the first time, at the age of 44.
Ruy Lopez (1560-1575)
Leonardo Cutri (1575-1587
Paolo Boi (1587-1598)
Alessandro Salvio (1598-1621)
Gioacchino Greco (1621-1634)
Gustavus Selenus (1634-1666)
Legall de Kemeur (1730-1747)
Francois Philidor (1747-1795)
Alexandre Deschapelles (1798-1824)
Louis de la Bourdonnais (1824-1840)
Howard Staunton (1843-1851)
Adolf Anderssen (1851-1858)
Paul Morphy (1858-1859)
Adolf Anderssen (1859-1866)
Wilhelm Steinitz (1866-1886)
William Steinitz (1886-1894)
Emanuel Lasker (1894-1921
Jose Capablanca (1921-1927)
Alexander Alekhine (1927-1935, 1937-1946)
Max Euwe (1935-1937)
Mikhail Botvinnik (1948-1957, 1958-1960, 1961-1963)
Vasily Smyslov (1957-1958)
Mikhail Tal (1960-1961)
Tigran Petrosian (1963-1969)
Boris Spassky (1969-1972)
Robert Fischer (1972-1975)
Anatoly Karpov (1975-1985, 1993-1999)
Garry Kasparov (1985-1993)
Alexander Khalifman (1999-2000)
Viswanatan Anand (2000-2002)
Rustam Kasimdzhanov (2004-2005)
Vesselin Topalov (2005-2006)
Vladimir Kramnik (2006-2007)
Viswanatahn Anand (2007-present)