The 10 Best Chess Players in the World

These are the ten players who currently hold the highest Elo ratings.

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“Best” is a subjective term, but when it comes to chess, the Elo rating system reigns supreme in determining the top chess players in the world. The World Chess Federation (FIDE) has used the Elo rating system, named after its creator Arpad Elo, since 1970 to formalize professionals’ ranks. 

With the renaissance of chess as a mainstream cultural phenomenon following the success of Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit, we gathered the ten best chess players in the world, according to their current rankings. There are a wide array of players not on this list (both active and retired) who have been considered the best at one point or another in their careers. I mean, Garry Kasporov isn’t a top ten ranked player right now, but you’d be silly to not refer to him colloquially as one of the best chess players in the world. Nonetheless, below are the current top ten ranked chess players in the world:

1. Magnus Carlsen

2. Fabiano Caruana

3. Ding Liren

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Liren is the highest-rated Chinese player in history. In 2016, he was the highest-rated Blitz player in the world with a rating of 2875. Ding also surpassed an Elo rating of 2800 in September of 2018, making him the first and only Chinese player to achieve such a rating. 

4. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave

4. Ian Nepomniachtchi

6. Levon Aronian

7. Alexander Grischuk

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Another Russian player on the list (Russia was, for a long time, a powerhouse of producing the world’s top chess players), Grischuk is best known for being an elite blitz player, in addition to his prowess with traditional tournament chess. He won the World Blitz Chess Championship in 2006, 2012, and 2015, making him one of the most decorated blitz players still on the circuit.

8. Wesley So

8. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov

10. Teimour Radjabov

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