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 from the first unofficial list in June 1967 to the present day, along with their ratings during the periods in question.

Year January February March April May June July August September October November December
1967 Soviet Union Spassky (2670) [unofficial rating list]
1968 United States Fischer (2710) [unofficial rating list]
1969 United States Fischer (2720) [unofficial rating list]
1970 United States Fischer (2720) [unofficial rating list]
1971 United States Fischer (2740) [unofficial rating list] United States Fischer (2760)
1972 United States Fischer (2785)
1973 United States Fischer (2780)
1974 United States Fischer (2780)
1975 United States Fischer (2780)
1976 Soviet Union Karpov (2695)
1977 Soviet Union Karpov (2690)
1978 Soviet Union Karpov (2725) supplementary list
1979 Soviet Union Karpov (2705) supplementary list
1980 Soviet Union Karpov (2725) supplementary list
1981 Soviet Union Karpov (2690) Soviet Union Karpov (2690)
1982 Soviet Union Karpov (2700) Soviet Union Karpov (2700)
1983 Soviet Union Karpov (2710) Soviet Union Karpov (2710)
1984 Soviet Union Kasparov (2710) Soviet Union Kasparov (2715)
1985 Soviet Union Kasparov (2715) Soviet Union Karpov (2720)
1986 Soviet Union Kasparov (2720) Soviet Union Kasparov (2740)
1987 Soviet Union Kasparov (2735) Soviet Union Kasparov (2740)
1988 Soviet Union Kasparov (2750) Soviet Union Kasparov (2760)
1989 Soviet Union Kasparov (2775) Soviet Union Kasparov (2775)
1990 Soviet Union Kasparov (2800) Soviet Union Kasparov (2800)
1991 Soviet Union Kasparov (2800) Soviet Union Kasparov (2770)
1992 Russia Kasparov (2780) Russia Kasparov (2790)
1993 Russia Kasparov (2805) Russia Kasparov (2815)
1994 Russia Kasparov (2815) Russia Kasparov (2815)
1995 Russia Kasparov (2805) Russia Kasparov (2795)
1996 Russia Kramnik (2775) Russia Kasparov (2785)
1997 Russia Kasparov (2795) Russia Kasparov (2820)
1998 Russia Kasparov (2825) Russia Kasparov (2815)
1999 Russia Kasparov (2812) Russia Kasparov (2851)
2000 Russia Kasparov (2851) Russia Kasparov (2849) Russia Kasparov (2849)
2001 Russia Kasparov (2849) Russia Kasparov (2827) Russia Kasparov (2838) Russia Kasparov (2838)
2002 Russia Kasparov (2838) Russia Kasparov (2838) Russia Kasparov (2838) Russia Kasparov (2836)
2003 Russia Kasparov (2847) Russia Kasparov (2830) Russia Kasparov (2830) Russia Kasparov (2830)
2004 Russia Kasparov (2831) Russia Kasparov (2817) Russia Kasparov (2817) Russia Kasparov (2813)
2005 Russia Kasparov (2804) Russia Kasparov (2812) Russia Kasparov (2812) Russia Kasparov (2812)
2006 Russia Kasparov (2812) Bulgaria Topalov (2804) Bulgaria Topalov (2813) Bulgaria Topalov (2813)
2007 Bulgaria Topalov (2783) India Anand (2786) India Anand (2792) India Anand (2801)
2008 Russia Kramnik (2799) India Anand (2803) India Anand (2798) Bulgaria Topalov (2791)
2009 Bulgaria Topalov (2796) Bulgaria Topalov (2812) Bulgaria Topalov (2813) Bulgaria Topalov (2813) Bulgaria Topalov (2810)
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) Norway Carlsen (2863) Norway Carlsen (2862)
2015 Norway Carlsen (2862) Norway Carlsen (2865) Norway Carlsen (2863) Norway Carlsen (2863) Norway Carlsen (2876) Norway Carlsen (2876) Norway Carlsen (2853) Norway Carlsen (2853)

List of world female number ones[edit]

The following is a list of the players ranked number one female on the FIDE rating system from the third unofficial list in January 1969 to the present day, along with their ratings during the periods in question.

Year January February March April May June July August September October November December
1969 Soviet Union Gaprindashvili (2420) [unofficial rating list]
1970 Soviet Union Gaprindashvili (2410) [unofficial rating list]
1971 Soviet Union Gaprindashvili (2390) [unofficial rating list] Soviet Union Gaprindashvili (2390)
1972 Soviet Union Gaprindashvili (2450)
1973 Soviet Union Gaprindashvili (2420)
1974 Soviet Union Gaprindashvili (2405)
1975 Soviet Union Gaprindashvili (2410)
1976 Soviet Union Gaprindashvili (2440)
1977 Soviet Union Gaprindashvili (2445)
1978 Soviet Union Gaprindashvili (2425) supplementary list
1979 Soviet Union Gaprindashvili (2405) supplementary list
1980 Soviet Union Chiburdanidze (2400) supplementary list
1981 Soviet Union Chiburdanidze (2425) Soviet Union Chiburdanidze (2405)
1982 Soviet Union Chiburdanidze (2390) Soviet Union Chiburdanidze (2385)
1983 Sweden Cramling (2355) Soviet Union Chiburdanidze (2380)
1984 Sweden Cramling (2405) Hungary Susan Polgar (2405)
1985 Hungary Susan Polgar (2430) Soviet Union Chiburdanidze (2450)
1986 Soviet Union Chiburdanidze (2455) Hungary Susan Polgar (2455)
1987 Soviet Union Chiburdanidze (2530) Soviet Union Chiburdanidze (2550)
1988 Soviet Union Chiburdanidze (2560) Soviet Union Chiburdanidze (2555)
1989 Hungary J. Polgar (2555) Hungary J. Polgar (2555)
1990 Hungary J. Polgar (2550) Hungary J. Polgar (2540)
1991 Hungary J. Polgar (2540) Hungary J. Polgar (2550)
1992 Hungary J. Polgar (2550) Hungary J. Polgar (2575)
1993 Hungary J. Polgar (2595) Hungary J. Polgar (2635)
1994 Hungary J. Polgar (2630) Hungary J. Polgar (2630)
1995 Hungary J. Polgar (2630) Hungary J. Polgar (2635)
1996 Hungary J. Polgar (2675) Hungary J. Polgar (2665)
1997 Hungary J. Polgar (2645) Hungary J. Polgar (2670)
1998 Hungary J. Polgar (2675) Hungary J. Polgar (2665)
1999 Hungary J. Polgar (2677) Hungary J. Polgar (2671)
2000 Hungary J. Polgar (2658) Hungary J. Polgar (2656) Hungary J. Polgar (2656)
2001 Hungary J. Polgar (2676) Hungary J. Polgar (2678) Hungary J. Polgar (2686) Hungary J. Polgar (2686)
2002 Hungary J. Polgar (2677) Hungary J. Polgar (2677) Hungary J. Polgar (2681) Hungary J. Polgar (2685)
2003 Hungary J. Polgar (2700) Hungary J. Polgar (2715) Hungary J. Polgar (2718) Hungary J. Polgar (2722)
2004 Hungary J. Polgar (2728) Hungary J. Polgar (2728) Hungary J. Polgar (2728) Hungary J. Polgar (2728)
2005 United States Susan Polgar (2577) Hungary J. Polgar (2732) Hungary J. Polgar (2735) Hungary J. Polgar (2735)
2006 Hungary J. Polgar (2711) Hungary J. Polgar (2711) Hungary J. Polgar (2710) Hungary J. Polgar (2710)
2007 Hungary J. Polgar (2727) Hungary J. Polgar (2727) Hungary J. Polgar (2707) Hungary J. Polgar (2708)
2008 Hungary J. Polgar (2707) Hungary J. Polgar (2709) Hungary J. Polgar (2711) Hungary J. Polgar (2711)
2009 Hungary J. Polgar (2693) Hungary J. Polgar (2693) Hungary J. Polgar (2687) Hungary J. Polgar (2687) Hungary J. Polgar (2680)
2010 Hungary J. Polgar (2682) Hungary J. Polgar (2682) Hungary J. Polgar (2682) Hungary J. Polgar (2682) Hungary J. Polgar (2682) Hungary J. Polgar (2686)
2011 Hungary J. Polgar (2686) Hungary J. Polgar (2686) Hungary J. Polgar (2699) Hungary J. Polgar (2699) Hungary J. Polgar (2701) Hungary J. Polgar (2710)
2012 Hungary J. Polgar (2710) Hungary J. Polgar (2709) Hungary J. Polgar (2709) Hungary J. Polgar (2709) Hungary J. Polgar (2698) Hungary J. Polgar (2698) Hungary J. Polgar (2705) Hungary J. Polgar (2705) Hungary J. Polgar (2705)
2013 Hungary J. Polgar (2696) Hungary J. Polgar (2696) Hungary J. Polgar (2696) Hungary J. Polgar (2696) Hungary J. Polgar (2696) Hungary J. Polgar (2696) Hungary J. Polgar (2696) Hungary J. Polgar (2696) Hungary J. Polgar (2696) Hungary J. Polgar (2689) Hungary J. Polgar (2689) Hungary J. Polgar (2693)
2014 Hungary J. Polgar (2693) Hungary J. Polgar (2693) Hungary J. Polgar (2693) Hungary J. Polgar (2685) Hungary J. Polgar (2685) Hungary J. Polgar (2685) Hungary J. Polgar (2676) Hungary J. Polgar (2676) Hungary J. Polgar (2675) Hungary J. Polgar (2675) Hungary J. Polgar (2675) Hungary J. Polgar (2675)
2015 Hungary J. Polgar (2675) Hungary J. Polgar (2675) China Hou Yifan (2686) China Hou Yifan (2686) China Hou Yifan (2686) China Hou Yifan (2676) China Hou Yifan (2676) Hungary J. Polgar (2675)

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 July 1, 2015)
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 102 2780 24 years, 223 days January 1, 1976 2695
Norway Carlsen, MagnusMagnus Carlsen 60 2882 19 years, 32 days January 1, 2010 2810
United States Fischer, BobbyBobby Fischer 54 2785 28 years, 114 days July 1, 1971 2760
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]