Chess Records are always fascinating because they show you what is possible. So check out all the awesome amazing human achievements in Chess below. If you know of an amazing achievement in Chess that isn't on the list or an achievement has been surpassed, please drop us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A cast of dancers, models and young ballet students perform as chess pieces. The chess pieces were designed by iconic Durban designer Terrence Bray and his class of fashion design students at the Durban University of Technology.
Best match player. William Steinitz played 27 chess matches from 1862 to 1896, and won 25 of the 27. He won 160 games, lost 70, and drew 57.
Best Selling Chess Book. Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess has sold over one million copies.
Best world championship record. Vera Menchik-Stevenson [pictured] (1906-1944) was Women’s World Chess Champion from 1927 to 1944. She defended her title 6 times. In world championship play, she won 78 games, drew 4 games, and only lost once.
Highest USCF Correspondence rating. In 1993, John Penquite had a USCF correspondence rating of 2933 after 58 straight wins with no losses or draws.
Highest Elo rating. In the May 2014 FIDE rating list, Magnus Carlsen had an Elo rating of 2882. In July 2005, Judit Polgar had an Elo rating of 2735, the highest for any woman.
Highest per capita chess population. Iceland has the highest per capita chess population in the world. In December 2005, Reykjavik had 8 grandmasters living in its city of 110,000. Beersheva, Israel has the highest percentage of grandmasters per capita of any city.
Highest performance rating. Bobby Fischer [pictured] had the highest performance rating of 3080 when he defeated Bent Larsen by the score of 6-0. In the 2007 Candidates matches, Gata Kamsky had a 3047 performance rating after defeating Etienne Bacrot (rated 2709) with 3 wins and a draw. In 1989, Sofia Polgar had a peformance rating of over 2900 when she scored 8.5 out of 9 in an international tournament in Rome.
Highest USCF rating. In 2011, Hikaru Nakamura had a USCF rating of 2878. In 1972, Bobby Fischer’s highest USCF rating was 2825.
11th World Chess Champion
Largest chess library. The largest public library for chess is the J.G. White Collection at the Cleveland Public Library [pictured]. It contains over 32,000 chess books and over 6,000 volumes of bound periodicals. The largest private library for chess is owned by Grandmaster Lothar Schmid. He has over 20,000 chess books.
Largest chess set collection. Floyd Sarisohn is the owner of the largest chess set collection in the world. He owns over 670 chess sets and has been collecting for over 40 years.
Largest chess tournament. In 1935-36, the USSR Trade Unions chess championship was held. It had 700,000 entrants, the largest of any chess tournament. Every year the United Kingdom organizes the UK Chess Challenge for schools. In 2004, the tournament had 71,000 children from over 2,000 schools participating, the largest chess tournament in the world. In 1985, the U.S. Scholastic Championships drew 1,572 chess players. The 1973 New York Chess Congress drew 1,487 chess players.
Cleveland Public Library
Largest public chess collection
Largest Olympiad. The 35th Chess Olympiad in Bled in 2002 had 136 men’s teams and 92 women’s teams, the largest Olympiad ever.
Largest tie for first place. 13 players tied for 1st place in the 2000 National Open in Las Vegas.
Largest number of unique games. The number of possible unique chess games is greater than the number of electrons in the universe. The number of electrons is estimated to be about 10^79, while the number of unique chess games is 10^120.
Longest chess career. Walter Ivans (1870-1968) of Tucson, Arizona, started playing chess at the age of 10. He died at the age of 98. He played chess for 85 years. Walter Muir (1905-1999) played correspondence chess for 75 years.
Longest chess player name. Lionel Adalbert Bagration Felix Kieseritsky.
Longest chess problem. The longest solution to a composed chess problem requires 292 moves.
Longest consecutive captures in a row. In Blodig-Wimmer, Germany 1988, and Rudd-Roberson, Swansea 2006, there were 17 captures of chess pawns and pieces in a row (17 half moves).
Longest decisive game. The longest decisive chess game is 237 moves (Fressinet-Kosteniuk [pictured], Villandry 2007). It was won by Black.
Longest game. The longest tournament chess game (in terms of moves) is 269 moves (Nikolic-Arsovic, Belgrade 1989). The game ended in a draw after over 20 hours of play. 10 games have been 200 moves or over in tournament play. In theory, the longest chess game can go up to 5,949 moves.
Longest game in terms of time. The game Stepak-Mashian, Israel 1980 was 193 moves and lasted 24 hours and 30 minutes.
Longest game without a capture. In 2000, Meijfroidt-Lenoir lasted 72 moves without a capture before White lost on time.
Longest time to make a move. The longest recorded time for a chess player to make a move goes to the International Grand Master Trois from Brazil with two hours and twenty minutes on the seventh move.
Longest match. The longest world championship match was the 1984-85 Karpov-Kasparov match. It lasted 48 games and 159 days.
Longest running chess column. Hermann Helms (1870-1963) wrote a chess column for 62 years, from 1893 to 1955, in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. George Kolranowski wrote a chess column for 52 years, totalling over 19,000 chess columns.
Longest running correspondence chess rivalry. Reinhart Straszacker and Hendrick van Huyssteen, both of South Africa, played their first game of correspondence chess in 1946. They played for over 53 years, until Straszacker died in 1999. The played 112 games, with both men winning 56 games each.
Longest running state championship. America’s longest running state championship is New York, which began its first tournament in 1878.
Longest world champion. Emanuel Lasker [pictured] was world chess champion for 26 years and 337 days.
Longest tournament. In 1889 in New York, 20 players played a double round robin. 430 games were played from March 25, 1889 to May 18, 1889.
Longest running tournament. As of 2012, Hastings is in its 88th series as an annual British tournament.
Longest sequence without captures. In Wegner-Johnson, Gausdal 1991, there were 151 moves made before a capture. The game lasted 200 moves.
Longest series of checks. In 1995 in the Czech Republic, a game between Rebickova and Voracova ended with 74 checks by the black Queen.
2nd World Champion
Most active chess player in one year. In 1995, Robert Smeltzer of Dallas played 2,266 USCF-rated games in one year, the most ever.
Most blindfold games played consecutively. In December 1960, George Koltanowski played 56 opponents blindfold consecutively (not simultaneously) in San Franciso. He won 50 and drew 6. The exhibition lasted 9 hours.
Most blindfold games played simultaneously. In 1934, George Koltanowski played 34 games blindfolded, winning 23 and drawing 10. In São Paulo in 1947 Miguel Najdorf played 45 opponents with the result of 39 wins, four draws and two losses. However Najdorf was allowed to look at the scoresheets during the match. In October 1960, Janos Flesch of Hungary played 52 opponents blindfold simultaneously. He won 31, drew 3, and lost 18 in 12 hours of play. Flesch was permitted to verbally recount the scores of the games in progress. In November 2011, Marc Lang of Germany played 46 opponents blindfold simultaneously. Of the 46 games he won 25, drew 19, and lost 2 in 21 hours of play.
Most chess articles. Edward Winter has published over 7,000 chess articles in his Chess Notes. Bill Wall has written over 1,000 chess articles for magazines and published on the Internet.
Most popular first move. 1. e4 is the most popular first move in Chess. The next most popular first moves are 1.d4, 1.Nf3 and 1.c4 in that order. In each of these openings White wins between 35 - 37% of the time.
Most chess books written. Raymond Keene has authored over 100 books on chess, more than any other author. Other chess authors of over 100 chess books include Fred Reinfeld, Eric Schiler, and Eduard Gufeld. Reinfeld wrote 102 chess books and 260 books in total from other subjects.
Most consecutive games without a loss. Mikhail Tal [pictured] played 95 consecutive tournament games without a loss (46 wins and 49 draws) in 1973-1974.
Most consecutive wins. Wihelm Steinitz win 25 consecutive games from 1873 to 1882.
Most correspondence games. In 1988, Stan Vaughan played 1,124 correspondence games at once. The prior record was 1,001. In 1948, Robert Whller of Hillsboro, California played 1,001 correspondence games at once.
Most drawing Grandmaster. Ulf Andersson of Sweden has drawn 74% of his games against top-level opposition, winning 10%, and losing 16%. The most drawing World Champion was Tigran Petrosian (1929-1984), who drew more than half his total games of chess.
8th World Chess Champion
Most games simultaneously. Grandmaster Susan Polgar player 326 opponents simultaneously at a shopping mall in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida on July, 2005. She won 309, drew 14, and lost 3. Her winning percentage was 96.93%. The previous record was 321. International Master Andrew Martin played 321 opponents simultaneously at WellingtonCollege, Berkshire, England on February 21, 2004. He won 294 games, drew 26 games, and lost one game (to Talal Shakerchi). It took him 16 hours and 51 minutes. He walked over 5 miles and played over 7,000 moves. The previous record was 310, achieved in 1996 in Sweden by Ulf Andersson. In June 2005, Pachuca, Mexico had a total of 12,388 chess competitors in a simultaneous exhibition.
Most games lost in a tournament. Nicholas MacLeod lost 31 games at the 6th American Chess Congress at New York 1889.
Most games won in a tournament. Gustav Neumann won all 34 of his games at Berlin 1865.
Most Grandmasters in one tournament. In 1989, the Belgrade Grandmaster’s Association had 98 grandmasters participating, the most grandmasters in one tournament.
Most games simultaneously, winning all games. In 1966, Jude Acers played 114 opponents at the Louisiana State Fair, and won all 114 games.
Most moves in a chess game. The longest chess game is 269 moves between Ivan Nikolic vs. Goran Arsovic, Belgrade, 1989. The game ended in a draw. The game lasted over 20 hours.
Most moves in a chess game with a winner. The longest chess game with a winner is 193 moves when Yedael Stepak beat Yaakov Mashian in the Israel Championship semi-finals in 1980. It is also the longest game in time, lasting 24 hours and 30 minutes.
Most moves in a world championship chess game. The longest world championship game is 124 moves in the 5th game of the 1978 Korchnoi-Karpov [pictured] match in Baguio City, Philippines. The game ended in a stalemate.
Most opponents in consecutive games of chess. The record for the most consecutive games played with different opponents is 1,131 by Grandmaster Susan Polgar in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida on August 1-2, 2005. She won 1,112 games, drew 16 games, and lost 3 games in 16.5 hours. Her winning recod was 99.03%. The previous record was 1,102 opponents by Woman Grandmaster Anna-Maria Botsari at Kalavryta, Greece, on February 27-28, 2001. The simultaneous exhibition took 17 hours. The previous record was by Ye Jiangchuan, who played 1,004 opponents in 28 hours, 33 minutes, starting on December 31, 2001. He won 912 and drew 76.
Most participation in a chess tournament. Edgar McCormick (1914-1991) played in the U.S. Open 37 times, more than anyone else.
Most queens. In Szalanczy-Nguyen, Budapest 2009, 6 Queens were on the board at the same time.
Most simultaneous games. In 2011, Ehsan Ghaem-Maghami played 604 players in 25 hours. He won 580, drew 16, and lost 8.
12th World Chess Champion
Most state titles. Howard Ohman (1899-1963) won the Nebraska State Chess Championship 25 times.
Most titles. John Kalish, born in 1937, won the national championship of Okinawa 25 consecutive times, from 1959 to 1984. Ortvin Sarapu [pictured] (1924-2000) won the New Zealand championship 20 times. Ingrid Larsen won the Danish women’s championship 17 times. Arkadijs Strazdinis has won the New Britain, Connecticut chess club championship 30 times, from 1952 to 1994. From 1952 to 1975, he had won it 23 times in a row.
Most tournaments won. John Curdo of Boston has won 865 chess tournaments in his career. Anatoly Karpov has won over 170 chess tournaments, more than any Grandmaster in history.
Most US chess championships. Bobby Fischer won the U.S. Chess Championship 8 times.
Gisela Gresser (1906-2000) won the women’s U.S. Chess Championship 9 times.
Most valuable chess set. The world’s most valuabe chess set in the world is the Faberge chess set, owned by Dr. George Dean.
Most world championship career wins. Lasker had 52 career wins in world championship play.
Most world championship games. Botvinnik played 157 world championship games. He won 36, lost 39, and drew 82.
Most wins in a match. In 1929, Alekhine had 11 wins in his world championship match with Bogoljubow.
Ortvin Sarapu ("Mr Chess")
International Master and winner of
the NZ Chess Championship on
no less than 20 occasions!
Youngest American champion. Bobby Fischer was the youngest American chess champion ever, at the age of 14.
Youngest arbiter. The youngest international arbiter of a major tournament was Sophia Gorman (Rohde) who, at age 19, was an arbiter at the FIDE World Candidates tournament.
Youngest Candidate for the World Championship. Bobby Fischer was the youngest Candidate for the World Chess Championship at the age of 15.
Youngest chess author. Murray Chandler [pictured] (1960- ) wrote A White Pawn In Europe at the age of 15.
Youngest country champion. Niaz Murshed won the championship of Bangladesh at the age of 12 years and 309 days. Henrique Mecking won the championship of Brazil at the age of 13. In 2000, Humpy Koneru won the British Ladies’ Championship at the age of 13 years and 4 months. Nigel Short tied for 1st in the British championship at the age of 14. Bobby Fischer won the U.S. Championship at the age of 14.
Youngest gold medallist. Judit Polgar won a gold medal in the 1988 Saloniki chess olympiad at the age of 11. In 2000, Alexander Grischuk won a gold medal at the age of 17 in the Istanbul Olympiad. In 1992, Vladimir Kramnik won a gold medal at the age of 17 in Manila Olympiad.
NZ International Grandmaster
and youngest Chess author
Oldest folding chessboard. The folding chessboard was originally invented in 1125 by a chess-playing priest. Since the Church forbade priests to play chess, he hid his board by making one that looked simply like two books lying together.
First chess clock. The first mechanical chess clock was invented by Thomas Wilson in 1883. Prior to that, sandglasses were used. Sandglasses were first used in London in 1862. The present-day push-button clock was first perfected by Veenhoff in 1900.
First wins by a chess computer. A computer called Deep Thought became the first computer to beat an international grandmaster in November 1988, in Long Beach, California. However, the computer Deep Blue was the first machine to overcome a reigning World Chess Champion in a match, when it defeated Garry Kasparov in 1997.
Most amusing incident. During the 1972 Fischer-Spassky match in Rekjavik, the Russians suspected Spassky’s erratic play had to do with Fischer’s chair. The Icelandic organization put a twenty-four-hour police guard around the chair while chemical and X-ray tests were performed on the chair but nothing unusual was found.
First chess game from space. The first chess game that took place between astronauts in space and someone on Earth was played on June 9, 1970, by the Soyez-9 crew. The game ended in a draw.
First double-pawn move. The pawn move that advances the piece two squares on its first move instead of one was first introduced in Spain in 1280.
Second book ever printed. The second book ever printed in the English language was about chess. The first was a collection of stories about the Trojan War.
Earliest stalemate. Sibilio-Mariotti, Ravenna 1982 saw a stalemate on move 27.
Fewest draws in a world championship. There was only one draw in the 1889 World Championship match between Steinitz and Chigorin. It was the last game.
A infamous scene from Star Trek where Spock contemplates his next move in three-dimensional Chess