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    Emanuel Lasker

    • Born: Dec 24, 1868
    • Died: Jan 11, 1941 (Aged 72)
    The second World Champion and a universal genius described by Albert Einstein as one of the most interesting people he knew
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    Vugar Gashimov

    • Born: Jul 24, 1986
    • Died: Jan 11, 2014 (Aged 27)
    • Peak Rating: 2761
    A wonderfully gifted and popular grandmaster who lost his battle against a brain tumour at the age of only 27
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    Wilhelm Steinitz

    • Born: May 17, 1836
    • Died: Aug 12, 1900 (Aged 64)
    The first undisputed World Champion and one of the first players to study rather than simply play chess
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    José Raúl Capablanca

    • Born: Nov 19, 1888
    • Died: Mar 8, 1942 (Aged 53)
    The third World Champion and perhaps the greatest natural talent chess has ever known
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    Alexander Alekhine

    • Born: Oct 31, 1892
    • Died: Mar 24, 1946 (Aged 53)
    The fourth World Champion was one of the game’s greatest attacking players
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    Max Euwe

    • Born: May 20, 1901
    • Died: Nov 26, 1981 (Aged 80)
    Often, perhaps unfairly, considered the one World Champion not to have been a great, or at least dominant, player of his time
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    Mikhail Botvinnik

    • Born: Aug 17, 1911
    • Died: May 5, 1995 (Aged 83)
    The "patriarch" of Soviet Chess - he played 7 World Championship matches and held onto the title for almost 15 years
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    Vasily Smyslov

    • Born: Mar 24, 1921
    • Died: Mar 27, 2010 (Aged 89)
    Although Smyslov only held onto the World Championship title for a year he outscored Mikhail Botvinnik over the course of their three matches
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    Mikhail Tal

    • Born: Nov 9, 1936
    • Died: Jun 27, 1992 (Aged 55)
    The 8th World Champion, nicknamed the "Magician from Riga", overwhelmed opponents with dazzling attacking chess
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    Tigran Petrosian

    • Born: Jun 17, 1929
    • Died: Aug 13, 1984 (Aged 55)
    The 9th World Champion, famous for being perhaps the hardest man to beat in world chess
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