Top Chess Players In The World – The Best 100
Chess is by far the top intellectual game in the world. People who don’t play chess perceive chess players as “smart people”. And there is no doubt truth to that, chess requires critical thinking, decision making, memorization, etc. Therefore, we must salute and recognize the best chess players in the world. There are estimates that 600 million people worldwide play chess.
The top 100 chess players account for such a tiny percentage of players almost unfathomable. So let’s give these heroes their due, and count down the top 100 chess players according to the November FIDE rankings.
The Players at the top, #100 through 91
The list of top chess players will go in reverse order, instead of staring at #1, a player who has been there for almost ten years, we will start at #100, and work our way down.
#100 – Sergei Rublevsky — Rublevsky earned the Grandmaster title 25 years ago.
#99 — Jorge Cori — Cori, only 24 years old, is the top Peruvian chess player, and the only one in the top 100.
#98 — Yuriy Kuzubov — Kuzubov won/placed in several notable tournaments as a teenager and young adult, including SPICE cup and Reykjavik Open. He was also Ukranian Champion in 2014.
#97 — Maxim Rodshtein — at 30 years old, Rodshtein is ranked #2 among players in Israel.
#96 — Baskaran Adhiban — Adhiban is an exciting player to follow. In 2017, Adhiban won third place at the Tata Steel Masters, despite being the lowest-rated player in the field.
#95 — Anton Demchenko — Russian Grandmaster, qualified for the World Cup in 2017 and 2019.
#94 — Pavel Eljanov — Eljanov has slid in world rankings and ratings, having been 2765 and world top 10, is now the #6 Ukranian chess player, though that doesn’t take anything away from his storied chess career.
#93 — Nijat Abasov — Armenian #4, at 14, he was world #93, now, ten years later, he is still world #93. Maybe he can make a breakthrough!
#92 — Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu — The highest-ranked Romanian player in history, he played under that flag until 2014, now playing for Germany. He won his first German championship in 2017.
#91 — Maxime Lagarde — Let’s not confuse him with the super-GM, Maxime Vachier Lagrave. He is, however, the defending French chess champion!
#90 through #81
#90 — Sanan Sjugirov — Russian Grandmaster, former chess prodigy in his own right, winning the world Under 10 and Under 14 Championships in 2003 and 2007 respectively.
#89 — Samuel Sevian — Youngest American to break the Grandmaster title, at 13 years and 10 months old.
#88 — Grigoriy Oparin — Notable accomplishments include qualifying for the World Cup and winning the Russian Junior Championship, both in 2014.
#87 — Constantin Lupulescu — Headlined recently for winning first place in the 2019 Reykjavik Open.
#86 — Alexander Morozevich — Possibly one of the bigger dropoffs of the world elite, he was world #2 eleven years ago.
#85 — Hou Yifan — Almost needs no introduction, Chinese Grandmaster, strongest women player currently.
#84 — Dariusz Swiercz — Youngest Polish to achieve Grandmaster title, at 14 years and seven months, now plays for the USA as of 2018.
#83 — Gadir Guseinov — Won several medals competing with Azerbaijan in European team championships.
#82 — Illya Nyzhnyk — Ukranian Grandmaster, defending US Open Champion
#81 — Rustam Kasimdzanov — Known mostly these days as the second to Fabiano Caruana, Kasimdzanov is not a bad player himself, having won the FIDE World Championship in 2004.
More players at the top, #80 through 71
#80 — Krishnan Sasikiran — At 38 years old, he has had better days, though fun fact, he is only the 2nd Indian player in history to cross 2700, amazing considering the Indian talent there is right now!
#79 — Hrant Melkumyan — made the Pro Chess League all-star team, helping the Armenian team win the league championship in 2018 as board one.
#78 — Evgeniy Najer, 42-year old Russian Grandmaster, recently defeated Viswanathan Anand in the first round of the FIDE Grand Swiss tournament 2019, hurting Anand’s chances for a spot in the 2020 Candidates.
#77 — Gawain Jones — English Grandmaster. Fun fact, Jones, at the time was the youngest player ever to beat an International Master in an official tournament game, at ten years old.
#76 — Alexy Sarana — At 19 years old has a bright future as he is currently at his peak FIDE rating.
#75 — Vladimir Matlakhov — Matlakhov has had his shots to at least challenge for the world championship, advancing to the 2nd round of the FIDE world championships in 2000 and 2004, and successes in the World Cup in 2005 and 2009.
#74 — Ernesto Inarviek — Russian Grandmaster, some early successes include representing Russia in the Olympiad in 1998 and 2000, 1999 Asian Under 16 champion and European Youth Under 16 Champion in 2001.
#73 — Alexi Shirov — World #2 two and a half decades ago, is known for the “fire on the board” he brings, both to the chessboard, and the chess literature.
#72 — Peter Leko — Leko came THIS CLOSE to winning the World Championship in 2004, putting possibly the greatest chess player ever, Garry Kasparov in a must-win situation in the last game, which he did.
#71 — Viktor Laznicka — Czech Republic #2 player at 31 years old.
#70 through #61
#70 — Markus Ragger — In 2017, Ragger became the first Austrian player to cross the 2700 FIDE mark.
#69 — Etienne Bacrot — Bacrot is the current #2 player in France, behind Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, has peaked at world #9 in 2005.
#68 — Anton Korobov — One of the top players in the chess-stacked country of Ukraine, Korobov has won the Ukranian Championship three times.
#67 — Alexey Dreev — Probably his best accomplishment is qualifying for the Candidates tournament in the 1990-1993 World Championship Cycle, though losing to Viswanathan Anand.
#66 — Ni Hua — Prominent Chinese Grandmaster, Chinese team captain, as well as 3-time Chinese champion.
#65 — Vladimir Fedoseev — At only 22 years old, Fedoseev tied for 1st pla in the world rapid championship, losing to Viswanathan Anand in the tiebreak match.
#64 — Ray Robson — Born in Guam, now represents the USA, and always comes close to winning the US Championship, but never quite makes it.
#63 — Vladislav Kovalev — Top-rated player in Belarus. Won the Tata Steel Challengers in 2019.
#62 — Saleh Salem — Saleh Salam is the #1 player in the UAE and has also won many accomplishments, including Asian Youth Championships 2007-2009, Asian chess championship in 2015, and Arab Chess Championship in 2008, 2014, and 2018.
#61 — Alexander Areshchenko — Ukranian GM, helped his team win bronze in the World Team Championship twice.
The Best Chess Players #60 through 31
#60 — Luke McShane — English Grandmaster, “world’s strongest amateur” as he has a regular job outside of chess.
#59 — Alexandr Predke — Russian Grandmaster, awarded the title in 2016.
#58 — Daniil Dudov — Dudov was headlined recently in November playing in the FIDE Grand Prix event in Hamburg. As the lowest seed, he defeated Teimour Radjabov and Peter Svidler in the knockout event, though eventually lost to Duda.
#57 — Wang Yue — Chinese Grandmaster, was as high as 2756 November of 2010.
#56 — Vassily Ivanchuk — Ivanchuck is known for his true talent and creativity on the board, and having been as high as world #2, one of the best players in the world in 1991.
#55 — Sam Shankland — American Grandmaster, as well as 2018 US Chess Champion.
#54 — Ivan Cheparinov — Famous for being Vesselin Topalov’s second, perhaps infamous for the handshake controversy with GM Nigel Short.
#53 — Nils Grandelius — Top player in Sweeden, tied for 1st place in the European Individual Championship 2019.
#52 — Yuriy Kryvoruchko — Ukranian Grandmaster originally from the Soviet Union.
#51 — Parham Maghsoodloo — A product of the super talented Iranian youngsters, winning the Iranian championships in 2017 and 2018, as well as World Junior Championship in 2018.
#50 through #41
#50 — Boris Gelfand — Countless accolades in the 1990s-2000s, came close to World Champion several times but could never quite make it.
#49 — Gata Kamsky — Also a decorated career, having won the US Championship 5 times.
#48 — Igors Rausis — Maybe now the most infamous Grandmaster of this age…
#47 — Gabriel Sargassan — Armenian Grandmaster, helped his team win gold and bronze medals.
#46 — Bassem Amin — Top Egyptian player, only one of three Grandmasters to become a doctor.
#45 — David Anton — Spanish Grandmaster at age 18 years old.
#44 — Li Chao — One of the top Chinese players, has also helped his team win many awards.
#43 — Zoltan Almasi — #2 player in Hungary, and well deserved, winning the Hungarian chess championships a staggering eight times.
#42 — Dmitri Jakovenko — Jakovenko’s peak year was clearly 2009. This was the year when he was world #5, and overtook Vladimir Kramnik as Russian #1.
#41 — Matthew Sadler — English Grandmaster, now known for his writing, including the recent hit “Game Changer”.
#40 through #31
#40 — Michael Adams — At the young age of 48 is still the top English player, and was a perennial world chess championship candidate in the 1990s and 2000s.
#39 — Francisco Vallejo Pons — Spanish Grandmaster, five-time Spanish Champion.
#38 — David Howell — #2 player in England, youngest UK player ever to become GM at age 16.
#37 — David Navara — #1 player in the Czech Republic, and is the 9-time champion of his country.
#36 — Bu Xiangzhi — Chinese Grandmaster. He knocked Carlsen out of the World Cup in 2017.
#35 — Maxim Matlakov — Russian Grandmaster, was Peter Svidler’s second when he played in the Candidates tournament in 2013, 2014, and 2016.
#34 — Evgeny Tomashevsky — Russian Grandmaster, known as the “professor” for his style, glasses, and high education.
#33 — Jeffrey Xiong — Young American Grandmaster, made it to the quarterfinals (final eight) in the 2019 World Cup, losing to Radjabov.
#32 — Le Quang Liem — Top-ranked Vietnamese player, has represented Vietnam on the Olympiad team since 2006.
#31 — Kirill Alekseenko — Russian Grandmaster, recently won that coveted wild-card spot for the 2020 Candidates tournament.
Top Chess Players #30 through 21
#30 — Peter Svidler — Legendary Russian Grandmaster, and now renown chess commentator.
#29 — Alireza Firouzja — Iranian Grandmaster, has been notoriously killing it online, as well as online, having recently crossed 2700.
#28 — Vidit Gujrathi — #3 rated player in India, became a Grandmaster at age 18.
#27 — Wei Yi — Chinese Grandmaster, crossed 2700 at a record 15 years old.
#26 — Radoslaw Wojtaszek — Wojtaszek is a Polish Grandmaster, #2 player in his country. His most noteable performance was winning Dortmund in 2017 with a score of 4.5/7, ahead of players like Vladimir Kramnik, and Maxime-Vachier Lagrave.
#25 — Vladislav Artemiev — Russian Grandmaster, was recently headlined for winning Gibraltar Master’s in January 2019.
#24 — Pentala Harikrishna — Indian Grandmaster, Harikrishna has been the long-time #2 player in India. He also crossed 2768 and world top 10 for the first time in November 2016.
#23 — Dmitry Andreikin — Andreikin’s best performance likely was in 2013, when he reached the world cup finals, losing to Kramnik 1.5-2.5. He therefore qualified for the Candidates tournament the next year finishing at 7/14 points.
#22 — Veselin Topalov — Topalov, a Bulgarian Grandmaster, was world #1 until Carlsen took over in 2010 and never looked back. He also achieved a peak of 2816 in 2015.
#21 — Hikaru Nakamura — Nakamura famously won the US Chess Championships five times. He also peaked as high as world #2.
Top Chess Players #20 through 11
#20 — Jan-Krzysztof Duda — Duda is one of the world’s rising stars, coming out of Poland. Duda is climbing the ranking ladder and does not seem to be looking back anytime soon.
#19 — Nikita Vitiugov — Russian Grandmaster. Several notable accomplishments including winning the 2013 Gibraltar Masters. He did so, defeating the previous winner Nigel Short in a tiebreak match.
#18 — Richard Rapport — Rapport is well known as the Hungarian #1 player, and for his sometimes obnoxious playing style. He can still make a run for it at 23 years old, near his peak.
#17 — Wang Hao — Chinese Grandmaster, and is Candidates bound by winning the Grand Swiss Tournament
#16 — Vladimir Kramnik — “Big Vlad” is technically retired, though for the legend he is, definitely deserves his place here.
#15 — Yu Yangyi — Yu Yangyi has helped his Chinese team win events, including the 2014 Olympiad, with a personal performance rating of 2912.
#14 — Sergey Karjakin — Karjakin is best known as “Minister of Defense” for his resilience in defending difficult positions. He also almost beat Carlsen in the 2016 World Championship match.
#13 — Viswanathan Anand — Simply a legend, no words can describe, and still going strong at 50 years old.
#12 — Wesley So — Originally from the Philippines, at one point, we considered So to be the next challenger to Carlsen, peaking at 2822 and world #2 in 2017. Lots of players have had their chance to truly “challenge” Magnus.
#11 — Lenier Dominguez Perez — Perez, originally Cuban, transferred to the USA in 2018, making the USA team that much stronger.
Top Chess Players #10 through 1
#10 — Alexander Grischuk — Grischuck is a fun player to watch, and recently qualified for the 2020 Candidates tournament, making the field more interesting.
#9 — Teimour Radjabov — Radjabov does not play a whole lot, but when he does, he is simply good. He has also qualified for the 2020 Candidates tournament.
#8 — Shakhiyar Mamedyarov — An illustrious player in his own right, Mamedyarov is Azerbaijani #1, has played in several Candidates tournaments, and, as many, has peaked at world #2.
#7 — Levon Aronian — Aronian at 37 is still going strong and has many great accolades ahead of him. However, despite all of his accomplishments, he’s never quite cracked world champion yet.
#6 — Ian Nepomniachtchi — “Nepo” is quietly the top Russian player currently. He won the Moscow FIDE Grand Prix 2019 in his home country and qualified for the 2020 Candidates tournament.
#5 — Anish Giri — Giri is perhaps “infamous” for his 14 draws in the 2016 Candidates tournament, and for his lack of big tournament wins. However, he’s 25, and can still make a push to the very top. Only a few will make it though.
#4 — Maxime Vachier-Lagrave — #1 player in France, unfortunately, has never qualified for the Candidates tournament. He has yet to complete his work in the chess world.
#3 — Ding Liren — Many players assume the Chinese wonder will be the next world champion. Will he make the breakthrough, or will he be one of the many world #2’s who doesn’t quite make it?
#2 — Fabiano Caruana — Helped create one of the most anticipated world championship matches. A classic world #1 vs. #2, and were only separated by a couple of points. Caruana knows how to work hard, and he will not give in.
#1 — Magnus Carlsen — Has been at this sweet spot, the best among chess players in the world for almost a decade. Will anyone catch him?