Chess in History

Events in Sport


Historic DiscoveryThe Lewis Chess Pieces

1831-04-11 The 12th century Lewis chess pieces are exhibited at the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, shortly after their rediscovery in a sand bank on the Scottish Isle of Lewis

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Event of interestEvent of Interest

1857-10-06 First American Chess Congress hosted by the American Chess Association in NYC, NY; won by Paul Morphy 10 November

Chess Player Paul Morphy
Chess Player
Paul Morphy
  • 1857-11-10 First American Chess Congress is won by Paul Morphy; beats Louis Paulson, 6-2 for a tournament record of 14 wins, 3 draws and 1 loss
  • 1858-06-21 Louisiana chess prodigy Paul Morphy arrives in Europe
  • 1859-02-26 Paul Morphy's chess match vs Augustus Mongredien begins; Morphy wins
  • 1859-04-30 Paul Morphy returns from 10-month chess tour of Europe, retires
  • 1894-05-26 German Emanuel Lasker becomes undisputed World Chess Champion by beating Austrian-American defending titleholder Wilhelm Steinitz, 10-5 (4 draws) in Montreal, Canada
  • 1927-03-24 Cuban chess champion José Raúl Capablanca wins 33-day Grand Chess Tournament
  • 1935-12-15 In a major upset, Dutch grand master Max Euwe becomes world chess champion beating Russian Alexander Alekhine (9 wins, 13 draws, 8 losses) in Zandvoort, Netherlands
  • 1937-12-07 Russian chess player Alexander Alekhine recaptures his final world title from Dutch grand master Max Euwe by a large margin (+10−4=11)
  • 1945-09-04 American chess grandmaster Reuben Fine wins 4 simultaneous rapid (10 seconds per move) games blindfolded in New York City
  • 1948-05-16 First chess world championship since WWII; Russian player Mikhail Botvinnik wins a 5-player tournament to begin 20-year Russian domination

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1956-10-17 Chess "Game of the Century": 13-year-old Bobby Fischer defeats 1953 U.S. Champion Donald Byrne in the Rosenwald Memorial Tournament at the Marshall Chess Club in New York City

Chess Champion Bobby Fischer
Chess Champion
Bobby Fischer
  • 1958-05-09 Russian Mikhail Botvinnik recaptures world chess championship
  • 1960-05-07 Michael Tal beats Mikhail Botvinnik 12½-8½ for world chess championship
  • 1961-05-12 Russian Mikhail Botvinnik wins world chess championship for 3rd time

  • 1970-08-07 First all-computer chess championship is conducted in New York and won by CHESS 3.0 (CDC 6400), a program written by Slate, Atkin & Gorlen at Northwestern University
  • 1972-09-01 American chess grandmaster Bobby Fischer beats Russian champion Boris Spassky 12.5-8.5 in Reykjavik, Iceland; most publicised world title match ever played; Fischer 1st American to win title
  • 1975-04-03 Bobby Fischer stripped of world chess title for refusing to defend it
  • 1977-04-23 Czech chess master Vlastimil Hort plays 201 games simultaneously & only loses 10
  • 1981-11-20 Russian Anatoly Karpov retains world chess championship

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1985-02-15 World chess championship match abandoned with Anatoly Karpov 25 leading Gary Kasparov 23

Chess Grandmaster and Political Activist Garry Kasparov
Chess Grandmaster and Political Activist
Garry Kasparov

World RecordGarry Kasparov Becomes World Chess Champion

1985-11-09 Garry Kasparov becomes the youngest ever world chess champion (22), with a 13-11 win over fellow Russian Anatoly Karpov

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Garry Kasparov vs. Anatoly Karpov in Moscow on November 9, 1985
Garry Kasparov vs. Anatoly Karpov in Moscow on November 9, 1985
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Event of interestEvent of Interest

2013-01-27 Magnus Carlsen wins the 2013 Tata Steel Chess Tournament

Chess Grandmaster Magnus Carlsen
Chess Grandmaster
Magnus Carlsen
  • 2013-11-22 Norwegian, Magnus Carlsen defeats Viswanathan Anand to win the 2013 World Chess Championship
  • 2014-11-23 Magnus Carlsen defends his World Chess Championship title after defeating Vishy Anand
  • 2018-06-23 Indian chess prodigy Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa becomes the second-youngest grandmaster at 12 years, 10 months, 13 days
  • 2019-07-02 Newly rediscovered Lewis chess piece sells at auction for £735,000 in London

Birthdays in Sport

  • 1726-09-07 François-André Danican Philidor, French composer and chess champion, born in Dreux, France (d. 1795)

Person of interestPeter Mark Roget

1779-01-18 Peter Mark Roget, British lexicographer (Roget's Thesaurus) and inventor (slide rule, pocket chessboard), born in London (d. 1869)

Lexicographer and Inventor Peter Mark Roget
Lexicographer and Inventor
Peter Mark Roget
  • 1794-02-12 Alexander Petrov, Russian chess player (d. 1867)
  • 1818-07-06 Adolf Anderssen, German world chess champion (1851-66), born in Kingdom of Prussia (d. 1879)
  • 1833-02-05 John Watkinson, founder of British Chess Magazine (oldest chess mag)
  • 1833-11-14 Antonius von der Linde, Neth/German librarian/chess player
  • 1836-05-17 Wilhelm Steinitz, Austrian world chess champion (1866-94), born in Prague, Bohemia, Austrian Empire (d. 1900)

Person of interestPaul Morphy

1837-06-22 Paul Morphy, American chess player considered the greatest of his era (1857-61), born in New Orleans, Louisiana (d. 1884)

Chess Player Paul Morphy
Chess Player
Paul Morphy
  • 1842-09-07 Johannes Zukertort, German chess player, born in Lublin, Russian Empire (d. 1888)
  • 1845-02-14 Cecil De Vere, 1st official British chess champion (1866), born in London (d. 1875)
  • 1850-11-12 Mikhail Chigorin, Russian chess player (d. 1908)
  • 1856-11-07 Semyon Alapin, Russian chess master, born in St. Petersburg, Russian Empire (d. 1923)
  • 1862-03-05 Siegbert Tarrasch, German chess player (d. 1934)
  • 1866-03-14 Alexey Troitsky, Russian chess problemist, born in St. Petersburg, Russia (d. 1942)
  • 1868-12-24 Emanuel Lasker, German world chess champion (1894-21), born in Barlinek, Poland (d. 1941)
  • 1872-12-05 Harry Nelson Pillsbury, American chess player, born in Somerville, Massachusetts (d. 1906)
  • 1877-08-10 Frank Marshall, American chess player (d. 1944)
  • 1882-12-12 Akiba Rubinstein, Polish chess player (openings theorist), born in Stawiski, Poland (d. 1961)
  • 1883-12-26 Carl Oscar Ahues, German International Chess Master (1950)
  • 1885-06-22 Milan Vidmar, Slovenian engineer and chess player (d. 1962)
  • 1886-11-07 Aron Nimzowitsch, Latvian chess player (openings theorist), born in Riga, Russian Empire (d. 1935)
  • 1887-02-21 Savielly Tartakower, Austrian/Polish/French chess player, born in Rostov-on-Don, Russia,n Empire (d. 1956)
  • 1888-11-19 José Raúl Capablanca, Cuban world chess champion (1921-27), born in Havana, Cuba, Spanish Empire (d. 1942)
  • 1889-04-14 Efim Bogoljubov, Russian-German chess player, born in Stanislavchyk, Tarashcha Uyezd, Kiev Governorate, Russian Empire (d. 1952)
  • 1889-07-29 Lajos Asztalos, Hungarian chess player (International Chess Master 1950), born in Pécs, Hungary (d. 1956)
  • 1892-11-01 Alexander Alekhine, Russian, French chess player (world champion 1927-35, 37-46), born in Moscow, Russia (d. 1946)
  • 1896-09-16 André Chéron, French chess and bridge theorist (d. 1980)
  • 1901-05-20 Max Euwe, Netherlands, world chess champion (1935-37)
  • 1903-08-25 Arpad Elo, American chess writer and creator of the Elo rating system for two-player games such as chess, born in Egyházaskesző, Hungary (d. 1992)
  • 1906-01-31 R W Bonham, founder (International Braille Chess Association)
  • 1906-02-16 Vera Menchik, Russian born British chess master, 1st official women's world chess champion (1927-39), born in Moscow, Russian Empire (d. 1944)
  • 1907-04-15 Gerald Abrahams, English author (Teach Yourself Chess), born in Liverpool, England (d. 1980)
  • 1909-05-14 Vladimir Alatortsev, USSR, International Chess Master (1950)
  • 1911-03-01 Harry Golombek, British chess grandmaster and author (3-time British champion), born in London, England (d. 1995)
  • 1911-04-17 Mikhail Botvinnik, Russian world chess champion (1948-63), born in Repino, Russia (d. 1995)
  • 1911-11-26 Samuel Reshevsky, Polish-American chess grandmaster, born in Ozorków, Congress Poland, Russian Empire (d. 1992)
  • 1913-02-15 Erich Eliskases, Austrian chess player (d. 1997)
  • 1914-02-21 Arnold S Denker, NY, US chess champion (1944-46)
  • 1916-01-07 Paul Keres, USSR, chess grandmaster (1950)
  • 1916-08-20 Paul Felix Schmidt, Estonian-German chess player, born in Narva, Estonia (d. 1984)
  • 1917-03-19 Laszlo Szabo, Hungarian chess player (d. 1998)
  • 1919-06-09 Izaak Boleslavsky, Soviet chess player, born in Zolotonosha, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union (d. 1977)
  • 1922-02-08 Joeri Averbach, Russian chess grandmaster
  • 1924-02-19 David Bronstein, Ukrainian chess player (d. 2006)
  • 1927-07-06 Jan Hein Donner, Dutch chess grand master, born in The Hague, Netherlands (d. 1988)
  • 1928-01-03 Frank Ross Anderson, Canadian International Chess Master (1954)
  • 1928-07-15 Pál Benkő, Hungarian-American chess player, author (Grandmaster; record 8 US Open Championships), born in Amiens, France (d. 2019)
  • 1929-05-14 Vladimir Antoshin, USSR, International Chess Grandmaster (1964)
  • 1929-06-17 Tigran Petrosian, Soviet Armenian world chess champion (1963-69), born in Tiflis, Georgian SSR, Soviet Union (d. 1984)
  • 1930-06-12 Donald Byrne, American chess player, born in NYC, New York (d. 1976)
  • 1931-03-28 Anatoly Lein, Soviet-American chess player (Grandmaster 1968; World Chess Hall of Fame), born in Leningrad, Russia (d. 2018)
  • 1931-07-23 Viktor Korchnoi, Russian-born chess grandmaster, born in Leningrad (d. 2016)
  • 1932-03-22 Larry Evans, American chess grandmaster, author and journalist (5 x US Chess C'ship; 20+ books), born in NYC, New York (d. 2010)
  • 1933-03-05 Evgeni Vasiukov, Russian chess grandmaster (World Senior Champion 1995), born in Moscow, Russia (d. 2018)
  • 1935-12-08 Tatiana Zatulovskaya, Israeli chess player (Women's Soviet Chess Championship 1960, 62, 63), born in Baku, Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic, USSR (d. 2017)
  • 1937-01-30 Boris Spassky, Russian chess player (world champion 1969-72, born in Leningrad, Russia
  • 1937-03-11 Milan Vukcevich, Yugoslavian chemist and a grandmaster of chess problem composition, born in Belgrade, Serbia (d. 2003)
  • 1937-09-09 Mikhail N Tai, Latvia, World chess champion (1960-61)
  • 1941-05-03 Nona Gaprindashvili, Georgian world women's chess champ (1962-78), born in Zugdidi, Georgian SSR, Soviet Union

Person of interestBobby Fischer

1943-03-09 Bobby Fischer, American chess player (world champion (1972-75), born in Chicago, Illinois (d. 2008)

Chess Champion Bobby Fischer
Chess Champion
Bobby Fischer
  • 1943-11-11 Jan Adamski, Polish International Chess Master (1976)
  • 1944-01-12 Vlastimil Hort, Czechoslovak-born German chess player, born in Kladno, Czech Republic
  • 1946-08-21 Lev Alburt, International Chess Master (1976), born in Orenburg, Russia
  • 1947-01-08 Igor Ivanov, Russian-born Canadian chess champion (1981-84, 1985- ), born in Leningrad, USSR
  • 1949-01-10 Walter S. Browne, Australian-born American chess Grandmaster (1974-78, 1980-84), born in Sydney, Australia (d. 2015)
  • 1949-12-13 Nana Alexandria, Georgian International Woman's Chess Grandmaster (1976), born in Poti, Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic, Soviet Union
  • 1951-05-23 Anatoly Karpov, Russian chess player (world champion 1975-85, 93-99), born in Zlatoust, Russia
  • 1951-06-27 Ulf Andersson, Swedish International Chess Grandmaster (1972), born in Västerås, Sweden
  • 1951-12-14 Jan Timman, Dutch chess player, born in Amsterdam
  • 1953-09-04 Michael Stean, English chess grandmaster, born in London, United Kingdom
  • 1955-01-23 Ruth Haring, American chess player & president of the US Chess Federation, born on Cape Cod, Massachusetts (d. 2018)
  • 1955-04-23 Tony Miles, English chess grandmaster, born in Birmingham, England (d. 2001)
  • 1955-04-25 John Nunn, English chess grandmaster, born in London
  • 1957-03-11 Elena Donaldson-Akhmilovskaya, Leningrad, Soviet Union, Chess Grandmaster, (d. 2012)
  • 1960-02-13 Artur Yusupov, Russian chess player, born in Moscow, Russia
  • 1960-10-20 Konstantin Aseev, Russian chess player (d. 2004)
  • 1961-01-17 Maia Chiburdanidze, Soviet women's world chess champ, born in Kutaisi, USSR
  • 1962-10-14 Jaan Ehlvest, Estonian chess player

Person of interestGarry Kasparov

1963-04-13 Gary Kasparov, Russian chess player (world champion 1985-93), born in Baku, Azerbaijan

Chess Grandmaster and Political Activist Garry Kasparov
Chess Grandmaster and Political Activist
Garry Kasparov
  • 1963-07-25 Julian Hodgson, English chess player, born in London
  • 1964-08-25 Vassilios Kotronias, Greek chess grandmaster, born in Athens, Greece
  • 1964-10-01 Jonathan Sarfati, New Zealand chess player, scientist, and author (FIDE Master), born in Ararat, Australia
  • 1965-06-01 Nigel Short MBE, English chess grandmaster, columnist, coach, commentator (Vice-President FIDE; World #3 1988-89), born in Leigh, England
  • 1966-01-18 Alexander Khalifman, Russian chess player, born in Saint Petersburg, Russia
  • 1966-03-30 Efstratios Grivas, Greek chess grandmaster and author, born in Aigio, Greece
  • 1969-03-18 Vassily Ivanchuk, Ukrainian chess player
  • 1969-09-06 Ben Finegold, American chess player, born in Detroit, Michigan
  • 1969-12-11 Vishwanathan Anand, Indian chess grandmaster, born in Mayiladuthurai, India
  • 1971-12-07 Vladimir Akopian, Armenian chess Grandmaster, born in Baku, Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic, Soviet Union
  • 1974-06-02 Gata Kamsky, American chess player
  • 1975-03-15 Veselin Topalov, Bulgarian chess player
  • 1975-06-25 Vladimir Kramnik, Russian chess grandmaster, born in Tuapse, Krasnodar Krai, Russia
  • 1976-07-23 Judit Polgár, Hungarian chess player
  • 1978-01-08 Boris Avrukh, Israeli chess grandmaster, born in Karaganda, Kazakhstan
  • 1978-09-05 Zhang Zhong, Chinese-Singaporean chess player, born in Chongqing, China
  • 1983-10-11 Ruslan Ponomariov, Ukrainian chess player, born in Horlivka, Ukraine
  • 1984-04-23 Alexandra Kosteniuk, Russian chess grandmaster (Women's World Chess Champion 2008-10), born in Perm, Russia
  • 1987-03-31 Humpy Koneru, Indian chess player (youngest woman to achieve title of grandmaster), born in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh
  • 1988-12-11 Murugan Thiruchelvam, English chess player, born in England
  • 1990-01-12 Sergey Karjakin, Ukrainian chess player, born in Simferopol

Deaths in Sport

  • 1795-08-31 François-André Danican Philidor, French composer and chess champion, dies at 68

Person of interestPeter Mark Roget

1869-09-12 Peter Mark Roget, British lexicographer (Roget's Thesaurus) and inventor (slide rule, pocket chessboard), dies at 90

Lexicographer and Inventor Peter Mark Roget
Lexicographer and Inventor
Peter Mark Roget
  • 1874-06-22 Howard Staunton, English world chess champion, designer of chess pieces, dies at 84
  • 1875-02-09 Cecil De Vere, 1st official British chess champion (1866), dies at 28
  • 1879-03-13 Adolf Anderssen, German world chess champion (1851-66), dies at 60

Person of interestPaul Morphy

1884-07-10 Paul Morphy, American chess player considered the greatest of his era (1857-61), dies at 47

Chess Player Paul Morphy
Chess Player
Paul Morphy
  • 1888-06-20 Johannes Zukertort, German chess player, dies at 45
  • 1900-08-12 Wilhelm Steinitz, Austrian world chess champion (1866-94), dies at 64
  • 1906-06-17 Harry Nelson Pillsbury, American chess player, dies at 33
  • 1908-01-25 Mikhail Chigorin, Russian chess player (b. 1850)
  • 1908-04-11 Henry Bird, English Chess player and author (b. 1829)
  • 1934-02-17 Siegbert Tarrasch, German chess player (b. 1862)
  • 1935-03-16 Aron Nimzowitsch, Latvian-born chess player (b. 1886)
  • 1941-01-11 Emanuel Lasker, German chess player (b. 1868)
  • 1942-03-08 José Raúl Capablanca, Cuban world chess champion (1921-27), dies of a cerebral hemorrhage provoked by hypertension at 53
  • 1944-06-02 Vera Menchik, Russian born British chess master, 1st official women's world chess champion (1927-39), dies in a London air raid at 38
  • 1944-11-09 Frank Marshall, American chess player (b. 1877)
  • 1946-03-24 Alexander Alekhine, Russian-French chess player (world champion 1927-35, 37-46), dies choking on meat at 53
  • 1952-06-18 Efim Bogoljubov, Russian-German chess player, dies at 63
  • 1956-02-05 Savielly Tartakower, Austrian/Polish/French chess player, dies at 74
  • 1956-11-01 Lajos Asztalos, Hungarian chess player (International Chess Master 1950), dies at 67
  • 1961-02-09 Grigory Levenfish, Russian International chess grandmaster, dies at 70
  • 1961-03-14 Akiba Rubinstein, Polish chess player (openings theorist), dies at 78
  • 1968-12-31 Carl Oscar Ahues, German International Chess Master (1950), dies at 85
  • 1973-07-04 Leonid Stein, Russian chess player, dies at about 39
  • 1975-06-05 Paul Keres, Estonian chess player (b. 1916)
  • 1976-04-08 Donald Byrne, American chess player, dies at 45
  • 1977-02-05 Izaak Boleslavski, Russian chess player, dies at 67
  • 1980-03-15 Gerald Abrahams, English author (Teach Yourself Chess), dies at 72
  • 1981-11-26 Max Euwe, Dutch world chess champion (1935-37), dies at 80
  • 1984-08-11 Paul Felix Schmidt, Estonian-German chess player, dies at 67
  • 1984-08-14 Tigran Petrosian, Soviet Armenian world chess champion (1963-69), dies at 55
  • 1988-11-27 Jan Hein Donner, Dutch chess grand master, dies at 61
  • 1992-04-04 Samuel Reshevsky, Polish-American chess grandmaster, dies at 80
  • 1992-06-28 Mikhail Tai, World chess champion (1960-61), dies at 55
  • 1992-11-05 Arpad Elo, Hungarian physicist (chess classification system), dies at 89
  • 1995-01-07 Harry Golombek, British chess grandmaster, author (3-time British champion), dies at 83
  • 1995-05-05 Mikhail Botvinnik, Russian influential world chess champion, dies at 83
  • 1997-02-02 Erich Eliskases, Austrian chess player (b. 1913)
  • 1999-04-13 Ortvin Sarapu, New Zealand chess player, dies at 74
  • 2001-11-12 Tony Miles, English chess grandmaster, dies at 46
  • 2003-05-10 Milan Vukcevich, Yugoslavian chemist and a grandmaster of chess problem composition, dies at 66
  • 2004-08-22 Konstantin Aseev, Russian chess player (b. 1960)
  • 2006-12-05 David Bronstein, Ukrainian-born chess grandmaster (b. 1924)

Person of interestBobby Fischer

2008-01-17 Bobby Fischer, American chess player (world champion (1972-75), dies of renal failure at 64

Chess Champion Bobby Fischer
Chess Champion
Bobby Fischer
  • 2010-11-15 Larry Evans, American chess grandmaster, author and journalist (5 x US Chess C'ship; 20+ books), dies following gallbladder surgery at 78
  • 2011-02-12 Mato Damjanović, Croatian chess grandmaster (b. 1927)
  • 2012-11-18 Elena Donaldson-Akhmilovskaya, Russian Woman Grandmaster of chess, dies from brain cancer at 55
  • 2013-01-19 Anatoly Bannik, Ukrainian chess master, dies at 91
  • 2013-04-12 Robert Byrne, American grand chess master, dies from Parkinson’s disease at 84
  • 2016-06-06 Viktor Korchnoi, Russian-born chess grandmaster, dies at 85
  • 2017-07-02 Tatiana Zatulovskaya, Israeli chess player (Women's Soviet Chess Championship 1960, 62, 63), dies at 81
  • 2018-03-01 Anatoly Lein, Soviet-American chess player (Grandmaster 1968; World Chess Hall of Fame), dies at 86
  • 2018-05-10 Evgeni Vasiukov, Russian chess grandmaster (World Senior Champion 1995), dies at 85
  • 2018-11-29 Ruth Haring, American chess player and President of the US Chess Federation, dies at 63
  • 2019-08-25 Pál Benkő, Hungarian-American chess player, author (Grandmaster; record 8 US Open Championships), dies at 91