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A selection of black and white chess pieces on a checkered surface.

Chess is a two-player strategy board game played on a checkered board with 64 squares arranged in an 8×8 grid. The game is played by millions of people worldwide. Chess is believed to be derived from the Indian game chaturanga sometime before the 7th century. Chaturanga is also the likely ancestor of the Eastern strategy games xiangqi, janggi, and shogi. Chess reached Europe by the 9th century, due to the Umayyad conquest of Hispania. The pieces assumed their current powers in Spain in the late 15th century; the modern rules were standardized in the 19th century.

Play involves no hidden information. Each player begins with 16 pieces: one king, one queen, two rooks, two knights, two bishops, and eight pawns. Each piece type moves differently, with the most powerful being the queen and the least powerful the pawn. The objective is to checkmate the opponent's king by placing it under an inescapable threat of capture. To this end, a player's pieces are used to attack and capture the opponent's pieces, while supporting each other. During the game, play typically involves exchanging pieces for the opponent's similar pieces, and finding and engineering opportunities to trade advantageously or to get a better position. In addition to checkmate, a player wins the game if the opponent resigns, or (in a timed game) runs out of time. There are also several ways that a game can end in a draw.

The first generally recognized World Chess Champion, Wilhelm Steinitz, claimed his title in 1886. Since 1948, the World Championship has been regulated by the Fédération Internationale des Échecs (FIDE), the game's international governing body. FIDE also awards life-time master titles to skilled players, the highest of which is Grandmaster (GM). Many national chess organizations have a title system of their own. FIDE also organizes the Women's World Championship, the World Junior Championship, the World Senior Championship, the Blitz and Rapid World Championships, and the Chess Olympiad, a popular competition among international teams. FIDE is a member of the International Olympic Committee, which can be considered as a recognition of chess as a sport. Several national sporting bodies (e.g. the Spanish Consejo Superior de Deportes) also recognize chess as a sport. Chess was included in the 2006 and 2010 Asian Games. There is also a Correspondence Chess World Championship and a World Computer Chess Championship. Online chess has opened amateur and professional competition to a wide and varied group of players.

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Fischer in 1960

Robert James Fischer (March 9, 1943 – January 17, 2008) was an American chess grandmaster and the eleventh World Chess Champion. Many consider him to be the greatest chess player of all time.

Fischer showed great skill in chess from an early age; at 13, he won a brilliancy known as "The Game of the Century". At age 14, he became the US Chess Champion, and at 15, he became both the youngest grandmaster (GM) up to that time and the youngest candidate for the World Championship. At age 20, Fischer won the 1963–64 US Championship with 11 wins in 11 games, the only perfect score in the history of the tournament. His book My 60 Memorable Games, published in 1969, is regarded as essential reading. He won the 1970 Interzonal Tournament by a record 3½-point margin, and won 20 consecutive games, including two unprecedented 6–0 sweeps, in the Candidates Matches. In July 1971, he became the first official FIDE number-one-rated player.

Fischer won the World Chess Championship in 1972, defeating Boris Spassky of the USSR, in a match held in Reykjavík, Iceland. Publicized as a Cold War confrontation between the US and USSR, it attracted more worldwide interest than any chess championship before or since. In 1975, Fischer refused to defend his title when an agreement could not be reached with FIDE, chess's international governing body, over one of the conditions for the match. Under FIDE rules, this resulted in Soviet GM Anatoly Karpov, who had won the qualifying Candidates' cycle, being named the new world champion by default. Read more...

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FIDE world ranking

Rank Change* Player Rating
1 Steady Norway Magnus Carlsen 2875
2 Steady United States Fabiano Caruana 2816
3 Steady China Ding Liren 2805
4 Increase 2 France Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 2779
5 Decrease 1 Netherlands Anish Giri 2779
6 Increase 3 Russia Alexander Grischuk 2775
7 Increase 1 Russia Ian Nepomniachtchi 2775
8 Decrease 3 Azerbaijan Shakhriyar Mamedyarov 2774
9 Decrease 2 India Viswanathan Anand 2767
10 Increase 4 Russia Vladislav Artemiev 2761
11 Increase 6 United States Leinier Dominguez Perez 2760
12 Steady Azerbaijan Teimour Radjabov 2759
13 Decrease 2 United States Hikaru Nakamura 2754
14 Decrease 1 United States Wesley So 2754
15 Steady Russia Vladimir Kramnik 2753
16 Decrease 6 Armenia Levon Aronian 2752
17 Decrease 1 Russia Sergey Karjakin 2748
18 Increase 4 China Wei Yi 2741
19 Decrease 1 Bulgaria Veselin Topalov 2740
20 Decrease 1 China Yangyi Yu 2738
*Change from the previous month[1]

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  1. ^ Administrator (1 May 2019). "Top 100 Players May 2019 - Archive". FIDE.