Is Magnus Carlsen the greatest chess player of all time? Not according to the chess24 Hall of Fame


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Reigning world champion Magnus Carlsen was only ranked second behind Garry Kasparov, while Bobby Fischer is third in the full Hall of Fame revealed on chess24 today. The full list of the 50 greatest players of all time arrives as the Norwegian world champion prepares to take part in the Skilling Open, the first event of the $ 1.5 million Champions Chess Tour. This action will begin next Sunday, November 22.

Today, chess24 can reveal the players who topped the list of the 50 greatest players of all time, according to our panel of experts, Grandmasters Jan Gustafsson and Peter Heine Nielsen. The duo ranked the world’s best players in a series of popular videos where the names were gradually revealed over the course of two months.

The video series, where each player on the list is discussed with a sample game, is available for free to Premium members.

Get 40% off Premium subscription with code Carlsen40

Using Chessmetrics calculations by chess statistician Jeff Sonas as the basis for the list, the ranking sparked a huge debate among chess fans around the world, with the authors receiving both praise and criticism. It is unlikely that it will end there.

The duo concluded that 13th world champion Garry Kasparov is the No. 1 greatest player of all time. Magnus Carlsen, who snatched the world title from Viswanathan Anand in 2013 and defended it in 2014, 2016 and 2018, is No.2.

Peter Heine Nielsen, the second Norwegian since the 2013 World Championship game, explained why they put Kasparov first:

There is nothing to say, it is that simple. His world championship record: five wins, one canceled match, one draw and one loss. Basically six world championship wins. Then comes the world ranking, his 21 years and 11 months of number 1. It’s just incredible! He defended his crown against very tough opposition most of the time, and he retained his place as world number 1 for nearly 22 years. He is dominant. Sometimes it is so much better. There is a famous quote from Bareev. “How come Kasparov is 90 points ahead of number two?” It is clear that he is the strongest player in the history of the time.

Commenting then, he added that Kasparov had spent 255 months at No.1 compared to Carlsen’s current 124 months:

As unfair as it may be to a 29-year-old to compete with, in a historical context, it matters. Jan and I consider today the deadline – there is no debate.

Many chess fans still consider Bobby Fischer, who became world champion by beating Boris Spassky in the famous 1972 world championship match in Reykjavik, to be the greatest of all time. Gustafsson and Nielsen disagree:

Fischer was an incredible player. That it is “only” no. 3 has just won one World Championship match. His dominant race to take the throne went in an incredible way, and he was the strongest player in the world for several years before according to Sonas. Which adds up to be enough to get ahead of other multiple champions, but not to surpass Magnus and Kasparov.

Kasparov: I hardly see the same competition that I experienced

In August, Garry Kasparov himself made a statement that sparked debate among chess fans, saying he faced tougher opposition when competing in the 1990s.

I’m not trying to undermine Magnus’ opponents, with all due respect to the best players today, but I can still hardly see the same competition I experienced, especially in the 90s. aside from my matches with Karpov and the generation of Karpov, but then I had to compete with the next generation, it’s Vishy, ​​Vasyl Ivanchuk, Borya Gelfand, then the younger generation of Kramnik, Judit and Peter Svidler. I was still winning tournaments with younger players and a lot of them were great players, let’s just mention Vishy and Kramnik, two other world champions. I still don’t see the same competition against Magnus today, and even though I thought for a moment of Ding or maybe Caruana, they don’t show the same kind of class and continuity that Vishy or Kramnik did there. is 20 or 25 years old.

Speaking to Tania Sachdev, Carlsen then responded to the comments by saying he believed it was too early to judge from a historical perspective:

I think I am the wrong person to answer. One thing to note is that these things are somehow easier to judge once people’s careers are over. There are a lot of people today whose careers are just beginning, so judging them from a historical perspective is not that easy.

Carlsen went on to explain that he was impressed with the ability of players from the previous generation, such as Viswanathan Anand, Vladimir Kramnik, Boris Gelfand and Vasily Ivanchuk, to compete with much younger players.

My point is that you have to see where the current crop of players compares to the next one to come. This is the main takeaway. Before that, it is too early to tell. Right now I’m just trying to beat whoever is there obviously.

Nielsen: Morphy emerges as the most “bizarre”

Here are the top 5:

5. Alexander Alekhine
4. Emmanuel Lasker
3. Bobby fischer
2. Magnus carlsen
1. Garry Kasparov

From the most recent generation, Vladimir Kramnik reached number 11, while Viswanathan Anand is 9th, ahead of Paul Morphy in 10th, but behind Mikhail Botvinnik in 8th, José Raul Capablanca in 7th and Anatoly Karpov in 6th.

Asked about the most difficult on the list, Nielsen said:

Morphy stands out as the most “bizarre”. One can argue for number 1, or for a considerably lower rank on the list. Basically it is the “Fischer problem” in the extreme. There is an argument for him to be even more dominant, but also that his career has been considerably shorter. With him and others, opinions diverge among critics. We take it as a good sign that opinions differ both ways and that we have landed on the reasonable compromise that such a list should reflect.

On Sunday, November 22, Carlsen will join 15 other elite chess stars in the Skilling Open, the first event of the $ 1.5 million Champions Chess Tour.

12 of the 16 players have so far been announced:

  1. Ding liren
  2. Levon Aronien
  3. Teimour Radjabov
  4. David Anton
  5. Sergei Karzakin
  6. Liem Quang Le
  7. Wesley so
  8. Anish Giri
  9. Jan-Krzysztof Duda
  10. Vidit Gujrathi
  11. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave
  12. Magnus carlsen

The event will be broadcast in 9 languages ​​on chess24, but also worldwide in 60 countries via Eurosport and live on television in Norway on TV 2.

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