Infographic: All World Chess Champions


We all know that Magnus Carlsen is the World Chess Champion, but who was the first one? And when? Even less is known about women champions. You probably have heard about Susan Polgar, but who is the current woman chess champion?

The infographic below shows all official world chess champions, men and women as well as their nationalities and the years of the championships:

All World Chess Champions

This infographic is released under a Creative Commons License / BY-ND, which means please feel free to redistribute it as long as you link back to and you don’t alter it. You can download a high-res, print-quality PDF below:

Note how between 1993 and 2005 there was a split in the Championship between the FIDE World Chess Championship and the Classical World Chess Championship. 

I haven’t included the unofficial world chess champions. These are players universally regarded as the strongest of their time. They include Ruy Lopez, Howard Staunton and Paul Morphy.

Just in case you prefer to see the champions in a table format, here they are:

1866 Wilhelm Steinitz Austria
1889 Wilhelm Steinitz USA
1891 Wilhelm Steinitz USA
1892 Wilhelm Steinitz USA
1894 Emanuel Lasker Germany
1897 Emanuel Lasker Germany
1907 Emanuel Lasker Germany
1908 Emanuel Lasker Germany
1910 Emanuel Lasker Germany
1921 Jose Raul Capablanca Cuba
1927 Alexander Alekhine France
1929 Alexander Alekhine France
1934 Alexander Alekhine France
1935 Max Euwe Netherlands
1937 Alexander Alekhine France
1948 Mihkail Botvinnik USSR
1951 Mikhail Botvinnik USSR
1954 Mikhail Botvinnik USSR
1957 Vasily Smyslov USSR
1958 Mikhail Botvinnik USSR
1960 Mikhail Tal USSR
1961 Mikhail Botvinnik USSR
1963 Tigran Petrosian USSR
1966 Tigran Petrosian USSR
1969 Boris Spassky USSR
1972 Bobby Fischer USA
1975 Anatoly Karpov USSR
1978 Anatoly Karpov USSR
1981 Anatoly Karpov USSR
1984 Anatoly Karpov USSR
1985 Garry Kasparov USSR
1986 Garry Kasparov USSR
1987 Garry Kasparov USSR
1990 Garry Kasparov USSR
Classical Chess Championships
1993 Garry Kasparov Russia
1995 Garry Kasparov Russia
2000 Vladimir Kramnik Russia
2004 Vladimir Kramnik Russia
FIDE Chess Championships
1993 Anatoly Karpov Russia
1996 Anatoly Karpov Russia
1998 Anatoly Karpov Russia
1999 Alexander Khalifman Russia
2000 Viswanathan Anand India
2002 Ruslan Ponomariov Ukraine
2004 Rustan Kasimdzhanov Uzbekistan
2005 Veselin Topalov Bulgaria
Reunified Chess Championships
2006 Vladimir Kramnik Russia
2007 Viswanathan Anand India
2008 Viswanathan Anand India
2010 Viswanathan Anand India
2012 Viswanathan Anand India
2013 Magnus Carlsen Norway
2014 Magnus Carlsen Norway
2016 Magnus Carlsen Norway
2018 Magnus Carlsen Norway

Here are the women world chess champions:

1927 Vera Menchik USSR
1930 Vera Menchik USSR
1931 Vera Menchik USSR
1933 Vera Menchik USSR
1934 Vera Menchik USSR
1935 Vera Menchik USSR
1937 Vera Menchik USSR
1937 Vera Menchik USSR
1939 Vera Menchik USSR
1950 Lyudmila Rudenko USSR
1953 Elisaveta Bykova USSR
1956 Olga Rubtsova USSR
1958 Elisaveta Bykova USSR
1959 Elisaveta Bykova USSR
1962 Nona Gaprindashvili USSR
1965 Nona Gaprindashvili USSR
1969 Nona Gaprindashvili USSR
1972 Nona Gaprindashvili USSR
1975 Nona Gaprindashvili USSR
1978 Maia Chiburdanidze USSR
1981 Maia Chiburdanidze USSR
1984 Maia Chiburdanidze USSR
1986 Maia Chiburdanidze USSR
1988 Maia Chiburdanidze USSR
1991 Xie Jun China
1993 Xie Jun China
1996 Susan Polgar Hungary
1999 Xie Jun China
2000 Xie Jun China
2001 Zhu Chen China
2004 Antoaneta Stefanova Bulgaria
2006 Xu Yuhua China
2008 Alexandra Kosteniuk Russia
2010 Hou Yifan China
2011 Hou Yifan China
2012 Anna Ushenina Ukraine
2013 Hou Yifan China
2015 Mariya Muzychuk Ukraine
2016 Hou Yifan China
2017 Tan Zhongyi China
2018 Ju Wenjun China
Armand Niculescu

Armand Niculescu is a full-stack developer and creator of SparkChess. He has two BDs in engineering and marketing and a MSc in Management. He's been programming since the age of 12 and he also loves design, photography, and - obviously - chess.