The Players
April 18, 2019

Magnus Carlsen

Known as the “Mozart of Chess”, Magnus Carlsen is in a league of his own. The reigning World Champion’s rating has skyrocketed past Kasparov’s previous record of 2851 to an unfathomably high 2882 (1st May 2014). With fierce determination and a palpable will to win, he has dazzled fans with his ability to out-work his opponents and find computer-like moves in his games time after time.

His superb endgame skill also allows him to squeeze the slightest of advantages and defeat opponents in positions that seem unwinnable. The sky's the limit for this young GM and he has the ability to stay in the clouds way above everyone else for a long time.

Recently, he held the current rating record of 2882, more than 65 points higher than the next best player. In November 2013 Carlsen defeated Viswanathan Anand to become the current World Champion, a title he does not plan on giving up anytime in the near future.

Hikaru Nakamura

Nakamura is an American chess Grandmaster. He began playing chess prior to the age of five and was coached by his stepfather, FIDE Master and chess author Sunil Weeramantry. At age 10 years and 79 days, Nakamura achieved the title of National Master from the USCF, becoming the youngest American ever to earn the title at that time.

In 2003, at age 15 years and 79 days, Nakamura solidified his reputation as a chess prodigy, being the youngest American to become a Grandmaster at that time, breaking the record of Bobby Fischer by three months.

Hikaru Nakamura is widely considered to be one of the best bullet and blitz chess player sin the world. His “cult following” of hundreds of spectators can be found watching his games online, where he holds numerous ratings records.

Peter Svidler

Russian Grandmaster Peter Svidler is a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to the different versions of chess tournaments. An accomplished player at blitz, classical and chess960, Svidler has had much success across the board in all different forms. A 7-time Russian Champion, he has represented his home country well by being one of the best players in the world for many years.

Peter Svidler was born in Russia and learned to play chess when he was 6 years old. He became an International Master in 1991 and a Grandmaster in 1994. Around the time he became a Grandmaster, he won his first Russian Championship, a tournament he would win another 6(!) times. Svidler has played in many Candidates tournaments to determine the World Champion challenger, but has never progressed to the championship match. He has won a variety of individual tournaments throughout his career including classical, blitz and chess960 tournaments. On the board he is a brilliant tactician and is one of the top ranked players in the world.

Fabiano Caruana

The boy-wonder who broke Hikaru Nakamura’s record as America’s youngest Grandmaster, Fabiano Caruana has scaled the chess mountain and reached the peak. This young Grandmaster has been ranked as high as number 2 in the world and has won numerous tournaments in his career. In 2018, the American faced Magnus Carlsen in the World Chess Championship 2018 in London, losing in the rapid tiebreaks.

Caruana placed second in the 2018 US Chess Championships, and tied for first in the Sinquefield Cup (with Carlsen and Aronian). In jointly winning the Sinquefield Cup, Caruana played a tiebreak match with Wesley So for the final spot in the London Chess Classic, which he won, 1.5-0.5.

Wesley So

The Philippines chess prodigy, Wesley So has shot up the rating charts in a short amount of time. He is the seventh youngest Grandmaster in history and the Philippines youngest Grandmaster ever. But he hasn’t stopped there: he’s won many tournaments and most recently won a tournament ahead of a field that featured only Grandmasters. Now that he is going to college in the United States, he will have more opportunities for sponsorship and will be competing in many more tournaments in the near future.

Most recently he took down the 49th Capablanca Memorial tournament which consisted of only Grandmasters and no less strong players.Recently So has begun to attend Webster University in the United States with help from Susan Polgar and the SPICE program. He still continues to travel throughout the world, winning tournaments and playing terrific chess at the same time.

Alireza Firouzja

Firouzja is an Irania chess prodigy, he won the Iranian Chess Championship at age 12 and completed the requirements for the title Grandmaster at the age of 14.

At the 2018 World Rapid Championship held in Saint Petersburg, Firouzja finished sixth in a field of world-class players, behind only Daniil Dubov, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Hikaru Nakamura, Vladislav Artemiev and Magnus Carlsen. Starting as the 169th seed in a tournament of 206 participants, Firouzja scored 10/15 (+8–3=4) and a performance rating of 2848, the second-highest in the event behind the winner Dubov. At the World Blitz Championship, he placed 42nd out of 150 with a score of 12/21 (+10–7=4).He led the field by a clear point after 7 rounds with 6½/7, but his form faltered after losing to the eventual winner Carlsen in round 8.

Firouzja won the Iranian Chess Championship for a second time in 2019, finishing clear first with 9/11 (+7–0=4).In March, he competed in the World Team Chess Championship with Iran. He scored 7/9 points (+6–1=2) as Iran placed sixth out of ten.Later in March, he participated in the 3rd Sharjah Masters. He tied for 1st–7th on 7/9 (+5–0=4), placing fourth on tiebreak. Ernesto Inarkiev won the event.Firouzja, alongside Parham Maghsoodloo, is the joint-highest ranked Iranian player as of April 2019, with a rating of 2669.

Alexander Grischuk

One of the best blitz chess players in the world, having won the World Blitz Championship and held one of the highest online blitz ratings ever, Alexander Grischuk is also an incredibly strong player at longer games. He has played in many Candidates tournaments, attempting to challenge for the World Championship. Despite having fallen short each time so far, he is currently the third best player in the world and has a very bright future ahead of him, surely challenging for the World Championship within a short time.

He won the 2006 World Blitz Championship and came in second in the 2012 version. Nowadays he continues to be among the elite chess players, being ranked as high as third in the world.