Chess has been around for thousands of years and ever since its creation, people have battled intensely trying to master this extremely complex game. Because of that, through trial and error,people have come up with various openings for both sides, white and black,which offer distinct advantages and disadvantages, depending on how a specific game develops.

The first moves of a typical standardchess game are called „the opening”. Openings differ depending on the set ofmoves the chess players choose to make. Because of the fact that the playerwith the white pieces starts first, black always tries to organize its moves insuch a way to defend against the initiative of the white pieces. As such, whiteis usually the aggressor, and black is usually the defender. An importantaspect of the game that has to be mentioned is that the black pieces, intheory, can always defend against the moves of the white pieces – which meansthat with perfect play, the game is a draw. This is important because thatmeans that everyone at a chess table has equal chances to win, draw, or lose.

6. Paul Morphy

Although the official title of World Chess Champion did not exist in 1857, some argue that, the first World Chess Champion was Paul Morphy, after he won the First American Chess Congress with an incredible performance of 14 wins, 3 draws, and only 1 loss. His games were so spectacular at the time that many regarded him as the best player to have ever played the game, and even today his games are studied in order to achieve quick development and understanding of open lines. Grand Master Mikhail Botvinnik, a World Chess Champion in his own right, has this to say about Paul Morphy: „His mastery of open positions was so vast that little new has been learned about such positions after him.”

Paul Morphy has 463 official games, and from them as white he usually played The Evans Gambit (44 times), and as black he usually played The King’s Gambit (21 times). (Chess.com © 2020, 2018)

As a visual, The Evans Gambit looks like this:

and The King’s Gambit looks like this:

5. José Raúl Capablanca

During his professional years as a chessplayer between 1893 – 1941, José Raúl Capablanca yGraupera was the third World Champion, reigning between 1921 – 1927. His masteryof the endgame and exquisite play of the opening turned him into one of thebest chess players in history. Excluding the exhibition games, Capablanca hasplayed 688 games in professional competitions, from which he won 376, drew 265,and only lost 47.

His favourite opening as white seems to have been The Ruy Lopez, which he has chosen as an opening 151 times. His favourite opening as black seems to have been The Orthodox Defence, which is a variant of The Queens Gambit Declined, which he has played 53 times.Capablanca’s way of playing the game greatly influenced some of the future World Chess Champions such as Botvinnik,  Robert James Fischer and Anatoly Karpov. AsThe Ruy Lopez opening was very popular among many of their respective chess games. (Chess.com © 2020, 2019)

As a visual, The Ruy Lopez opening looks like this:

, and The Queens Gambit Declined looks like this:

4. Robert James Fischer

He was The World Chess Champion between 1972 – 1975. He was known for his almost flawless play of the Sicilian Opening both as white and as black, and also for his controversial personality. He had a controversial personality because before, during, or after games he used to make demands to the organizers, whichever those might have been, such as giving him a personalized chair, or removing the crowd of people watching the game as it bothered his concentration. He grew up with the Russian chess books and his play was based on accuracy above all else, and at the age of 14 he became the youngest Grand Master in chess at that specific time. He was a brilliant tactician and a ferocious attacker, never being afraid of a challenge. In his World Chess Championship match against the Russian superstar Boris Spassky, he defeated him 12.5 – 8.5, after losing the first two games. In 1975, Fischer forfeited his title after FIDE did not approve of his demands in his World Chess Championship title match against Anatoly Karpov. As such, Anatoly Karpov became the new World Chess Champion by default. After ending his professionalchess career, Fischer proposed a new variant of chess, which is now known asChess960, and also came up with the idea of adding a small time increment after every chess move in official chess games. His later idea has now become standard in all official chess tournaments. His highest FIDE rating was 2785. (Copyright 2001-2020, Chessgames Services LLC, 2018)

As his go, he enjoyed playing the Sicilian opening as black, and also playing against it as white. He was considered as being the greatest Sicilian specialist in history both as an attacker when white starts with e4, and as a defender when black opposes white’s e4 with c5. Because the Sicilian defence was a favourite of Fischer and had a lot of success with it, many Grand Masters played that exact defence in their own games, and against him.

The Sicilian Opening looks like this:

3. Anatoly Karpov

After Robert James Fischer refused to defend his World Chess Champion title and Anatoly Karpov became the new World Chess Champion by default, many doubted him and his abilities simply because he was given the title without having to face Fischer himself. Because of this, he had to prove himself worthy of the title during his career. He defended his title two times over the 10 years as a champion against Viktor Korchnoi, finally losing his title against Garry Kasparov in 1985.  His highest FIDE rating was 2780. He also has one of the highest number of official games among Grand Masters, 3610 of them. From which he won 963, drew 1284 and lost 226.

Anatoly Karpov, was himself a Sicilian specialist, playing this opening 231 times, but also a Karo-Kann (Chess.com © 2020, 2018) player, using this opening 257 times as black. (Copyright 2001-2020, Chessgames Services LLC, 2018) (Copyright 2001-2020, Chessgames Services LLC, 2018)

The Karo-Kann opening looks like this:

2. Garry Kasparov

Perhaps the most recognized champion, and perhaps the most respected, Garry Kasparov was a true force of nature on the chess table. His ability to outplay his opponents, his direct attacking spirit and seemingly effortless way of getting his opponent sin bad positions without them even realizing before its too late, have transformed him, for many, into a symbol of chess. As many Grand Masters of today, have got into chess because of Garry Kasparov and even if you are not a chess player, when you about a chess player, you would probably think of Garry Kasparov. He was the undisputed World Chess Champion between 1985 – 1993, and Classical World Chess Champion between 1993 – 2000. A student of Alexander Alekhine’s games, because of their aggressive style of play, he incorporated this aggressiveness into his own games and revitalized the game of chess by changing into from a passive, mostly drawish type, into an attacking, always looking for opportunities type. He received the Grand Master title at the age of 16, and his highest FIDE rating was 2851 (the highest in history at thattime, only surpassed by the current World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen).

Many people around theworld have heard about the famous ”Man vs Machine” game in which Garry Kasparovplayed the IBM supercomputer Deep Blue in 1996. While many know about GarryKasparov losing the first game against the computer, many don’t know that GarryKasparov ended up winning the overall match against the supercomputer with ascore of 4 – 2. (© 2007 – 2020 | 365Chess.com, 2020) (Copyright 2001-2020, Chessgames Services LLC, 2018)

As openings go, Garry Kasparov was fond of the Sicilian both as white and as black, same as Fischer, but he also enjoyed playing the King’s Indian as black.

The King’s Indian looks like this:

1. Magnus Carlsen

He is the 16thWorld Chess Champion, and our current World Chess Champion as well. In thefamous words of Garry Kasparov ”Carlsen is a lethal combination between Fischerand Karpov!”. His excellent theory knowledge combined with the relentlessdesire to always win his games (often continuing to play even when the positionis a theoretical draw, amid often winning those positions), have made himcapable of achieving some of the most brilliant things in chess’s history.Things such as, achieving the highest FIDE rating of all time (2882), being thefirst person to ever be number 1 in standard, rapid, and blitz chess formats in2016. Furthermore, he also hold the record for the highest rating achieved byany player aged 13, 17, and 24 inclusive.

As openings go, he plays the Sicilian both as white and black, continuing the openings styles of Kasparov and Fischer. From his 3195 recorded games, 578 involved the Sicilian. (Copyright 2001-2020, Chessgames Services LLC, 2020)

Chess has always been a sport of the mind in which after hours of play, you keep fighting looking, trying, to find the best move in your position. It is a game of endurance, in which one wrong move can cost you everything, all your hard work can be gone in a single move. In many ways, chess is a lot like life, because both in chess and in life, you rarely get a second chance, and one wrong step can cost you everything. (© 2007 – 2020 | 365Chess.com, 2020)

Bibliography

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Chess.com © 2020. (2018, 6 4). chess.com. Preluat de pe chess.com: https://www.chess.com/games/paul-morphy

Chess.com © 2020. (2019, 7 12). chess.com. Preluat de pe chess.com: https://www.chess.com/players/anatoly-karpov

Chess.com © 2020. (2019, 6 3). chess.com. Preluat de pe chess.com: https://www.chess.com/players/jose-raul-capablanca

Chess.com © 2020. (2019, 6 6). Chess.com © 2020. Retrieved from Chess.com © 2020: https://www.chess.com/players/magnus-carlsen

Copyright 2001-2020, Chessgames Services LLC. (2018, 7 24). Chessgames Services LLC. Preluat de pe Chessgames Services LLC: https://www.chessgames.com/player/anatoly_karpov.html

Copyright 2001-2020, Chessgames Services LLC. (2018, 9 23). Chessgames Services LLC. Preluat de pe Chessgames Services LLC: https://www.chessgames.com/player/robert_james_fischer.html

Copyright 2001-2020, Chessgames Services LLC. (2020, 1 20). Chessgames Services LLC. Preluat de pe Chessgames Services LLC: https://chessgames.com/player/magnus_carlsen.html

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