List of FIDE chess world number ones

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A total of seven chess players have been the chess world number one on the official FIDE rating list since it was first published in July 1971.[1]

The first world number one, in July 1971, was Bobby Fischer. In January 1976 Anatoly Karpov became the highest-rated player on the FIDE list, FIDE having dropped Fischer (whose rating was higher than Karpov's) from the list due to inactivity. In January 1984, the third world number one was Garry Kasparov. Anatoly Karpov briefly held the world number one ranking in July 1985, and the fourth world number one, Vladimir Kramnik, briefly held the ranking in January 1996. Other than these two brief periods, Kasparov dominated for some 22 years from 1984 until his retirement from professional chess on 10 March 2005. In January 1990, he surpassed Fischer's peak of 2785 and became the first player ever to achieve a 2800 rating. In July 1999, he reached his peak rating, 2851. This was the highest FIDE rating in history until January 2013, when it was surpassed by Magnus Carlsen.

On Kasparov's retirement, the world number one ranking passed to Veselin Topalov, since Kasparov was removed from the rating list in April 2006 due to inactivity. In April 2007, Viswanathan Anand became the sixth player to top the rankings.[2] Kramnik briefly returned to the number one ranking in January 2008, but was again joint number one by rating, being placed first in the list due to having played more games in the rating period in question. For most of the period April 2007 to November 2009, the top ranking was held by either Anand or Topalov. The seventh and current world number one is Magnus Carlsen, who first achieved this ranking in the January 2010 list, and has been world number one since July 2011 after having lost and reclaimed the position from Anand during 2010 and 2011.

List of world number ones[edit]

The following is a list of the players ranked number one on the FIDE rating system since the first official list in July 1971, along with their ratings during the periods in question.

1971 to 2009[edit]

Month Name Rating
1971 July United States Bobby Fischer 2760
1972 July United States Bobby Fischer 2785
1973 July United States Bobby Fischer 2780
1974 May United States Bobby Fischer 2780
1975 January United States Bobby Fischer 2780
1976 January Soviet Union Anatoly Karpov 2695
1977 January Soviet Union Anatoly Karpov 2690
1978 January Soviet Union Anatoly Karpov 2725
1978 July supplementary list
1979 January Soviet Union Anatoly Karpov 2705
1979 July supplementary list
1980 January Soviet Union Anatoly Karpov 2725
1980 July supplementary list
1981 January Soviet Union Anatoly Karpov 2690
1981 July Soviet Union Anatoly Karpov 2690
1982 January Soviet Union Anatoly Karpov 2700
1982 July Soviet Union Anatoly Karpov 2700
1983 January Soviet Union Anatoly Karpov 2710
1983 July Soviet Union Anatoly Karpov 2710
1984 January Soviet Union Garry Kasparov 2710
1984 July Soviet Union Garry Kasparov 2715
1985 January Soviet Union Garry Kasparov 2715
1985 July Soviet Union Anatoly Karpov 2720
1986 January Soviet Union Garry Kasparov 2720
1986 July Soviet Union Garry Kasparov 2740
1987 January Soviet Union Garry Kasparov 2735
1987 July Soviet Union Garry Kasparov 2740
1988 January Soviet Union Garry Kasparov 2750
1988 July Soviet Union Garry Kasparov 2760
1989 January Soviet Union Garry Kasparov 2775
1989 July Soviet Union Garry Kasparov 2775
1990 January Soviet Union Garry Kasparov 2800
1990 July Soviet Union Garry Kasparov 2800
1991 January Soviet Union Garry Kasparov 2800
1991 July Soviet Union Garry Kasparov 2770
1992 January Russia Garry Kasparov 2780
1992 July Russia Garry Kasparov 2790
1993 January Russia Garry Kasparov 2805
1993 July Russia Garry Kasparov 2815
1994 January Russia Garry Kasparov 2815
1994 July Russia Garry Kasparov 2815
1995 January Russia Garry Kasparov 2805
1995 July Russia Garry Kasparov 2795
1996 January Russia Vladimir Kramnik 2775
1996 July Russia Garry Kasparov 2785
1997 January Russia Garry Kasparov 2795
1997 July Russia Garry Kasparov 2820
1998 January Russia Garry Kasparov 2825
1998 July Russia Garry Kasparov 2815
1999 January Russia Garry Kasparov 2812
1999 July Russia Garry Kasparov 2851
2000 January Russia Garry Kasparov 2851
2000 July Russia Garry Kasparov 2849
2000 October Russia Garry Kasparov 2849
2001 January Russia Garry Kasparov 2849
2001 April Russia Garry Kasparov 2827
2001 July Russia Garry Kasparov 2838
2001 October Russia Garry Kasparov 2838
2002 January Russia Garry Kasparov 2838
2002 April Russia Garry Kasparov 2838
2002 July Russia Garry Kasparov 2838
2002 October Russia Garry Kasparov 2836
2003 January Russia Garry Kasparov 2847
2003 April Russia Garry Kasparov 2830
2003 July Russia Garry Kasparov 2830
2003 October Russia Garry Kasparov 2830
2004 January Russia Garry Kasparov 2831
2004 April Russia Garry Kasparov 2817
2004 July Russia Garry Kasparov 2817
2004 October Russia Garry Kasparov 2813
2005 January Russia Garry Kasparov 2804
2005 April Russia Garry Kasparov 2812
2005 July Russia Garry Kasparov 2812
2005 October Russia Garry Kasparov 2812
2006 January Russia Garry Kasparov 2812
2006 April Bulgaria Veselin Topalov 2804
2006 July Bulgaria Veselin Topalov 2813
2006 October Bulgaria Veselin Topalov 2813
2007 January Bulgaria Veselin Topalov 2783
2007 April India Viswanathan Anand 2786
2007 July India Viswanathan Anand 2792
2007 October India Viswanathan Anand 2801
2008 January Russia Vladimir Kramnik 2799
2008 April India Viswanathan Anand 2803
2008 July India Viswanathan Anand 2798
2008 October Bulgaria Veselin Topalov 2791
2009 January Bulgaria Veselin Topalov 2796
2009 April Bulgaria Veselin Topalov 2812
2009 July Bulgaria Veselin Topalov 2813
2009 September Bulgaria Veselin Topalov 2813
2009 November Bulgaria Veselin Topalov 2810

2010 to present[edit]

Year January February March April May June July August September October November December
2010 Norway Carlsen (2810) Norway Carlsen (2813) Norway Carlsen (2813) Norway Carlsen (2826) Norway Carlsen (2826) India Anand (2817)
2011 Norway Carlsen (2814) India Anand (2817) India Anand (2817) Norway Carlsen (2821) Norway Carlsen (2823) Norway Carlsen (2826)
2012 Norway Carlsen (2835) Norway Carlsen (2835) Norway Carlsen (2835) Norway Carlsen (2837) Norway Carlsen (2837) Norway Carlsen (2843) Norway Carlsen (2843) Norway Carlsen (2848) Norway Carlsen (2848)
2013 Norway Carlsen (2861) Norway Carlsen (2872) Norway Carlsen (2872) Norway Carlsen (2872) Norway Carlsen (2868) Norway Carlsen (2864) Norway Carlsen (2862) Norway Carlsen (2862) Norway Carlsen (2862) Norway Carlsen (2870) Norway Carlsen (2870) Norway Carlsen (2872)
2014 Norway Carlsen (2872) Norway Carlsen (2872) Norway Carlsen (2881) Norway Carlsen (2881) Norway Carlsen (2882) Norway Carlsen (2881) Norway Carlsen (2877) Norway Carlsen (2877) Norway Carlsen (2870) Norway Carlsen (2863)

Publication details[edit]

There were unofficial lists in 1964, 1969, 1970 and January 1971, as the Elo rating system was first introduced.

From 1971 to 1980, there was one main rating list published each year (for a total of 10), initially published in July from 1971 to 1973, then once in May (1974), before switching to annual publication in January from 1975 to 1980 (in this period, some supplements and amendments were also published).

From 1981 to July 2000, two lists per year were published, in January and July (for a total of 39 lists). In July 2000, the publication schedule was increased to four times a year (January, April, July, October) operating from July 2000 to July 2009 (for a total of 36 lists). In July 2009, the publication schedule was increased again, to six times a year (January, March, May, July, September, November) operating from July 2009 to July 2012 (for a total of 18 lists). In July 2012 the publication schedule was increased again to the current monthly schedule.

Publication of the rating lists in the 1970s and 1980s was in Chess Informant and other chess publications. The number of games played by individuals during the rating period was added to the lists from July 1985 onwards. Player ID numbers were used from January 1990. From January 1999, the practice of rounding to the nearest five Elo points was discontinued, and ratings were then rounded to the nearest Elo point for publication. From July 2000 onwards, the ratings are available from the FIDE website.[3]

In January 2010 former World Champion Boris Spassky criticized the current emphasis on ratings rather than World Champions.[4] Although Spassky was World Champion during the inception of the FIDE rankings in 1971, he never became the number-one rated player in the world; since July 1971 he and Vladimir Kramnik are the only undisputed World Champions to never become ranked world number-one during their tenure as champions.

Player statistics[edit]

As of January 2014, seven players have held the world number one ranking over a period of 42 years and seven months, encompassing 121 rating lists. These seven players include six undisputed world chess champions, with Topalov being the only player to achieve the number one ranking without becoming undisputed world champion, though he was FIDE world champion from 2005 to 2006, and is still an active player. Kramnik and Spassky are the only world champions in the period in question to never have been world number one while being champion.

Fischer was top of the lists successively five times over a period of 4.5 years, though he is considered to have already become the number one player in the world before the official list started, as he topped the unofficial list in 1970. Karpov topped the list 12 times, successively 11 times over a period of 8 years, and once for 6 months. Kasparov has been world number one on the official list a record 54 times over a period of 22 years, and a record 31 times successively over nearly a decade from July 1996 to January 2006; he was number one 3 times successively over 1.5 years, then 20 times successively over 10 years, then finally 31 times over 9 years and 9 months. Kramnik was world number one 2 times (for 6 and 3 months), for a total of 9 months. Topalov has been world number one successively 4 and 6 times (a total of 10 times), for 12 months and 15 months respectively (for a total of 27 months). Anand has been world number one successively 2 and 3 times (a total of 5 times), for 6 months and 9 months respectively (for a total of 15 months).

Time at FIDE number one and youngest age at FIDE number one (through December 1, 2014)
Player Months at No. 1 Peak rating Age at first time No. 1 Date at first time No. 1 Rating at first time No. 1
Soviet Union Russia Kasparov, GarryGarry Kasparov 255 2851 20 years, 263 days January 1, 1984 2710
Soviet Union Karpov, AnatolyAnatoly Karpov 90 2780 24 years, 223 days January 1, 1976 2695
United States Fischer, BobbyBobby Fischer 54 2785 28 years, 114 days July 1, 1971 2760
Norway Carlsen, MagnusMagnus Carlsen 53 2882 19 years, 32 days January 1, 2010 2810
Bulgaria Topalov, VeselinVeselin Topalov 27 2813 31 years, 17 days April 1, 2006 2804
India Anand, ViswanathanViswanathan Anand 21 2817 37 years, 111 days April 1, 2007 2786
Russia Kramnik, VladimirVladimir Kramnik 9 2811 20 years, 190 days January 1, 1996 2775

See also[edit]

References and notes[edit]

External links[edit]