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:

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:

1866Wilhelm SteinitzAustria
1889Wilhelm SteinitzUSA
1891Wilhelm SteinitzUSA
1892Wilhelm SteinitzUSA
1894Emanuel LaskerGermany
1897Emanuel LaskerGermany
1907Emanuel LaskerGermany
1908Emanuel LaskerGermany
1910Emanuel LaskerGermany
1921Jose Raul CapablancaCuba
1927Alexander AlekhineFrance
1929Alexander AlekhineFrance
1934Alexander AlekhineFrance
1935Max EuweNetherlands
1937Alexander AlekhineFrance
1948Mihkail BotvinnikUSSR
1951Mikhail BotvinnikUSSR
1954Mikhail BotvinnikUSSR
1957Vasily SmyslovUSSR
1958Mikhail BotvinnikUSSR
1960Mikhail TalUSSR
1961Mikhail BotvinnikUSSR
1963Tigran PetrosianUSSR
1966Tigran PetrosianUSSR
1969Boris SpasskyUSSR
1972Bobby FischerUSA
1975Anatoly KarpovUSSR
1978Anatoly KarpovUSSR
1981Anatoly KarpovUSSR
1984Anatoly KarpovUSSR
1985Garry KasparovUSSR
1986Garry KasparovUSSR
1987Garry KasparovUSSR
1990Garry KasparovUSSR
Classical Chess Championships
1993Garry KasparovRussia
1995Garry KasparovRussia
2000Vladimir KramnikRussia
2004Vladimir KramnikRussia
FIDE Chess Championships
1993Anatoly KarpovRussia
1996Anatoly KarpovRussia
1998Anatoly KarpovRussia
1999Alexander KhalifmanRussia
2000Viswanathan AnandIndia
2002Ruslan PonomariovUkraine
2004Rustan KasimdzhanovUzbekistan
2005Veselin TopalovBulgaria
Reunified Chess Championships
2006Vladimir KramnikRussia
2007Viswanathan AnandIndia
2008Viswanathan AnandIndia
2010Viswanathan AnandIndia
2012Viswanathan AnandIndia
2013Magnus CarlsenNorway
2014Magnus CarlsenNorway
2016Magnus CarlsenNorway
2018Magnus CarlsenNorway

Here are the women world chess champions:

1927Vera MenchikUSSR
1930Vera MenchikUSSR
1931Vera MenchikUSSR
1933Vera MenchikUSSR
1934Vera MenchikUSSR
1935Vera MenchikUSSR
1937Vera MenchikUSSR
1937Vera MenchikUSSR
1939Vera MenchikUSSR
1950Lyudmila RudenkoUSSR
1953Elisaveta BykovaUSSR
1956Olga RubtsovaUSSR
1958Elisaveta BykovaUSSR
1959Elisaveta BykovaUSSR
1962Nona GaprindashviliUSSR
1965Nona GaprindashviliUSSR
1969Nona GaprindashviliUSSR
1972Nona GaprindashviliUSSR
1975Nona GaprindashviliUSSR
1978Maia ChiburdanidzeUSSR
1981Maia ChiburdanidzeUSSR
1984Maia ChiburdanidzeUSSR
1986Maia ChiburdanidzeUSSR
1988Maia ChiburdanidzeUSSR
1991Xie JunChina
1993Xie JunChina
1996Susan PolgarHungary
1999Xie JunChina
2000Xie JunChina
2001Zhu ChenChina
2004Antoaneta StefanovaBulgaria
2006Xu YuhuaChina
2008Alexandra KosteniukRussia
2010Hou YifanChina
2011Hou YifanChina
2012Anna UsheninaUkraine
2013Hou YifanChina
2015Mariya MuzychukUkraine
2016Hou YifanChina
2017Tan ZhongyiChina
2018Ju WenjunChina
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.