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Chess is a recreational and competitive game played between two players. The current form of Chess (sometimes called Western chess or international chess) has an international pedigree which evolved from similar, much older games in India and Persia. The modern form of the game emerged in Southern Europe during the second half of the 15th century. Today, chess is one of the world's most popular games, played by millions of people worldwide at home, in clubs, online, by correspondence, and in tournaments.

The game is played on a square chequered chessboard with 64 squares arranged in an eight-by-eight square. At the start, each player (one controlling the white pieces, the other controlling the black pieces) controls sixteen pieces: one king, one queen, two rooks, two knights, two bishops, and eight pawns. The object of the game is to checkmate the opponent's king, whereby the king is under immediate attack (in "check") and there is no way to remove it from attack on the next move.

The tradition of organized competitive chess started in the sixteenth century and has developed extensively. Chess today is a recognized sport of the International Olympic Committee. The first official World Chess Champion, Wilhelm Steinitz, claimed his title in 1886; Norwegian Grandmaster Magnus Carlsen is the current World Champion. Theoreticians have developed extensive chess strategies and tactics since the game's inception. Aspects of art are found in chess composition.

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Viswanathan Anand 08 14 2005.jpg

The World Chess Championship is played to determine the World Champion in the board game chess. Both men and women are eligible to contest this title.

The official world championship is generally regarded to have begun in 1886, when the two leading players in the world played a match. From 1886 to 1946, the championship was conducted on an informal basis, with a challenger having to defeat the incumbent in a match to become the new world champion. From 1948 to 1993, the championship was administered by FIDE, the international chess organization. In 1993, the reigning champion (Garry Kasparov) broke away from FIDE, meaning there were two rival championships. This situation remained until 2006, when the title was unified at the World Chess Championship 2006. The most recent championship was the World Chess Championship 2007, won by Viswanathan Anand.

In addition, there is a separate event for women only, for the title of Women's World Champion, and separate competitions and titles for juniors, seniors and computers. However, these days the strongest competitors in the junior, senior, and women's categories often forego these niche title events in order to pursue top level competition, although they continue to be part of chess tradition. Computers are barred from competing for the open title.

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For chess news, see 2015 in sports, the 2015 in chess category, the current sports events portal, or the Wikinews sports portal. Below is the FIDE rating list of the top 20 players as of May 2015.

Rank Player Rating
1 Norway Magnus Carlsen 2876
2 India Viswanathan Anand 2804
3 United States Fabiano Caruana 2803
4 United States Hikaru Nakamura 2799
5 Bulgaria Veselin Topalov 2798
6 Russia Alexander Grischuk 2780
7 United States Wesley So 2778
8 Russia Vladimir Kramnik 2777
9 Netherlands Anish Giri 2776
10 Armenia Levon Aronian 2776
11 China Ding Liren 2757
12 France Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 2754
13 Russia Sergey Karjakin 2753
14 Czech Republic David Navara 2751
15 Russia Evgeny Tomashevsky 2749
16 China Li Chao 2748
17 Poland Radosław Wojtaszek 2746
18 Israel Boris Gelfand 2744
19 England Michael Adams 2740
20 Russia Dmitry Jakovenko 2738

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