chess24 Oct 17, 2020 | 7:28 AMby Tarjei Svensen

Countdown to the Greatest Player of All Time

Levon Aronian, Boris Gelfand and Peter Leko are among the active players who have made it into the Top 50 players of all time. The exciting part begins when Jan Gustafsson and Peter Heine Nielsen begin ranking their picks for the Top 20 best players!


In a video series for chess24, Magnus Carlsen seconds Jan Gustafsson and Peter Heine Nielsen took on the impossible task of ranking The Top 50 Greatest Players of All Time.

The series is available for free for Premium members as the duo gradually reveal their Hall of Fame, discussing each and every player on the list and ranking them among the greats.

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Since we left off with #46 Gata Kamsky in our previous article, the grandmasters have now made it to number 23, Akiba Rubinstein.

Among the active players who made the list are Peter Leko, Boris Gelfand and Levon Aronian. 

About Aronian, Peter Heine said:

He is someone by strength who very much belongs to the world hall of fame. It was Kasparov who said that the chess world is just a more beautiful place when Aronian plays better. In a sporting sense, he has managed everything like winning tournaments and world cups, but when it really comes down to the world championship cycle, he hasn't quite made it.

The Armenian number 1 is among many who apparently have strong opinions on who belongs in the hall of fame.

The series has received widespread feedback on social media and in the comments, which is likely to increase when we get to the top spots.

Peter Heine Nielsen said they are pleased with the feedback from fans received so far.

We are very happy with how the series has been received. Both towards the level of interest, but also the more critical parts. We very much hoped for debate and are pleased to see the interest in historical figures as well as how knowledgable people are. 

The series also drew some criticism by an author who questioned using Chessmetrics ratings as the basis of the list.

On this, Peter commented:

An article has been published as well, debating the methods and the use of Jeff Sonas' Chessmetrics. This is generally part of why we did it, to inspire debate and interest in the field. A special shoutout to those writing comments on the web-page - high-level observations in a sober tone. Internet discussions at their rare best! There is generally no right or wrong in such a subjective debate, we chose to make our choices very much on our own, having done research, and how opinions differs is very interesting for us. 

The Dane can't promise fans any surprises for the next 20 on the list.

Top 20 by logic probaby will have few surprises of who the players are, but their ranking most likely will! Very much looking forward to more debate!

Here is the list so far:

  • 23 Akiba Rubinstein
  • 24 Howard Staunton
  • 25 David Bronstein
  • 26 Adolf Anderssen
  • 27 Johannes Zukertort
  • 28 Louis Charles Made de la Bourdonnais
  • 29 Bent Larsen
  • 30 Samuel Reshevsky
  • 31 Efim Bogoljubov
  • 32 Reuben Fine
  • 33 Levon Aronian
  • 34 Siegbert Tarrasch
  • 35 Vasyl Ivanchuk
  • 36 Carl Schlechter
  • 37 Harry Pillsbury
  • 38 Efim Geller
  • 39 Boris Gelfand
  • 40 Mikhail Chigorin
  • 41 Jan Timman
  • 42 Miguel Najdorf
  • 43 Szymon Winawer
  • 44 Peter Leko
  • 45 Geza Maroczy


See also:


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