History Of Chess (Part 2)
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History of Chess (Part 2)

History of Chess (Part 2)

We have looked at the humble beginnings of chess in History of Chess (Part 1). All the stepping stones that have made chess what it is. From how technology has impacted the game and FIDE’s part in ensuring that everything stays stable even during the pandemic.

In this article, we will look at all the events that have modernized the game.

The events are a combination of both the negatives and positives that have occurred over time.

Man Vs. Machine

Technology is a big part of the current chess world with computers like Stockfish reaching strength levels that no humans have been able to reach.

How did it start? From February 10-17, 1996, a match was held between a computer and a human.

What made this match significant was that a computer named Deep Blue was facing off against the then World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov.

Garry Kasparov managed to win the match 4-2, but the computer did make history by becoming the first program to defeat a World Champion in a classical game of chess.

Not satisfied with the results, a rematch occurred the following year in 1997. In this match, Deep Blue managed to win 3,5 to 2,5.

This was the first time in history that a computer defeated a world champion in a classical tournament format match.

This event will historically be known as having inspired the evolution of chess engines and programs.

☉ To get a taste of how the chess games between humans and computers were in the past, you can see how Kasparov Broke the Computer with a Queen Sacrifice

In this video lesson, GM Igor Smirnov shows you how to crush the Sicilian Defense as White with a solid yet tricky opening variation.

Reunification Match

Chess was left in shambles due to the drama between Kasparov and FIDE. It needed one World Champion, and in 2006, a unification match between Vladimir Kramnik and Veselin Topalov occurred.

Vladimir Kramnik, was the Classical World Champion at the time, while Vaselin Topalov held the FIDE World Champion title.

The classical games ended in a tied score of 6-6. This led to a break, which Vladimir Kramnik won with a score of 2,5-1,5.

This result meant that we no longer had two World titles, but we rather had one undisputed title.

Even though the Professional  Chess Association is said to have ended in 1996, this event further solidified the end of its era.

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Highest Ever Classical Rating

As we said before, rating was introduced in chess to measure a player’s current strength compared to other players.

This has also allowed us to be aware as to which is the highest ever rating reached by a human.

This record is held by Grandmaster Magnus Carlsen, who managed to reach a rating of 2882.

This record has been held since May 2014 until now. The previous record was held by Garry Kasparov, who managed to reach a rating of 2851 in July 1999.

Out of the fourteen players who managed to reach 2800+, only two of them have retired from playing chess while twelve are still active.

This is a sign that modern chess players are easily reaching new heights when it comes to chess strength.

☉ Look here why Magnus Carlsen can be considered as the Greatest Chess Player of All Time

Chess Engines

In the mid-2000s, elite chess players were consistently playing against new chess engines that were being released.

Due to computer technology advancing, new and even more powerful chess engines are being released.

The current strongest engine has a rating of 3500+, meaning it’s 700+ ahead of the strongest human being, GM Magnus Carlsen.

Such advanced strength has seen chess engines being utilized by humans as part of preparation.

One of the main disadvantages of engines is that they are being utilized to cheat.

Though on the upside, they are also utilized to detect cheaters by focusing on the player’s accuracy rate.

The full potential of engines has not been revealed, but we see projects like Chessable.

Chessable finds chess engines repeating positions on a scheduled basis to help users with their memorizing skills.

☉ You need to learn the most used chess terms in order to understand what chess players talk about.

Caught Red Handed

Cheating scandals have not just been seen online, they have occurred over the board.

While it has not been common, there have been multiple incidents involving some of the top chess players.

Here are some of the events that have occurred over the years:

  • 2010 FIDE Olympiad Tournament: Cyril Marzolo, Arnaud Hauchard, and Sébastien Feller were caught using a computer program to cheat. Cyril Marzolo would send the moves by SMS to the team coach, Arnaud Hauchard. Then Arnaud Hauchard would stand or sit at various tables as a signal to Sébastien Feller.
  • 2014 Iasi Open: Wesley Vermeulen was caught in the toilet using a chess program on a smartphone to cheat.
  • 2015 Dubai Open Chess Tournament: Gaioz Nigalidze was caught in the washroom using a chess program on a smartphone. As a result, he was stripped of his Grandmaster title, but was allowed to keep his International Master title.
  • 2016 Moscow Open: Sergey Aslanov was caught cheating with a smartphone that he was hiding under a loose tile behind a drainpipe.
  • 2019 Strasbourg Open: Igors Rausis was caught cheating using a smartphone in the bathroom.

All of these cases resulted in the cheaters getting banned from playing chess for a certain period.

Some of the players who were titled had their titles revoked as part of the punishment.

☉ Chess puzzles are one of the key elements which most players use to improve their skills in chess. Learn more about chess puzzles here.

Online Chess

The Internet gave people the ability to communicate with each other at any time, overshadowing the distance between them.

The problem now was how chess players would play against each other even if they are far apart.

This problem was resolved when the Internet Chess Club started operating in 1992.  This led to other platforms being formed over the years, and the largest being Chess.com, Lichess.org, and Chess24.

Online chess has also led to players getting assistance from chess engines due to multiple reasons.

These reasons are: wanting to win events, wanting to have more followers, and being considered as being better than other chess players.

To combat the number of players cheating, chess platforms have evolved to the level where they have humans and engines detecting cheaters and banning them.

With Covid-19 at its peak, players were forced to stay away from over-the-board chess tournaments as chess is a physical sport.

This made online platforms the best places to play chess and also for chess players keeping contact with each other. During the covid times, we saw almost every chess player being online on the platforms.

Elite chess players, like World Champion Magnus Carlsen, also utilized online platforms.

Some major chess events (most of them prized) were also held on online platforms.

☉ Most people want to play chess online, but they are not sure where to play it and why they should play there. You can know here the Top 5 Platforms to Play Chess Online

FIDE Online Titles

The FIDE Online Arena is a chess server that was founded by FIDE, and is now acquired and managed by World Chess.

In 2016, they introduced the idea of having online titles. The following are the titles and how to acquire them:

  1. Grandmaster (AGM) is the highest online title. It is achieved by a series of 150 bullet games, 100 blitz games, or 50 rapid games with a performance rating of over 2000.
  2. International Master (AIM) is achieved by a series of 150 bullet games, 100 blitz games, or 50 rapid games with a performance rating of over 1700.
  3. FIDE Master (AFM) is achieved by a series of 150 bullet games, 100 blitz games, or 50 rapid games with a performance rating of over 1400.
  4. Candidate Master (ACM) is achieved by a series of 150 bullet games, 100 blitz games, or 50 rapid games with a performance rating of over 1100.

In 2021, it was announced that Arena ratings and titles will be included on player profiles.

This also means that players with these titles will also find them reflected on over the board player’s lists.

Such a move symbolizes that online chess is having a massive positive impact on the game.

Other countries have even tried having a hybrid rating. A rating has a combination of both online and over-the-board ratings.


A pandemic arrived which had a massive impact on how we play chess and interact with other chess players.

The first major stage of this pandemic found players not being able to play face to face due to lock-down restrictions that were made worldwide.

All events, including FIDE events, were being held online on the following platforms:

  • Chess.com
  • Lichess.org
  • Chess24.com
  • Chessarena.com (Fide Arena)
  • Tornelo.com

Gradually, as time went on, the restrictions reduced a bit and players were now allowed to play over the board chess with certain rules having to be followed still.

The major problem was that players had traveling problems which might force them to miss events.

The most notorious of these problems occurred when World Number two, Ding Liren, failed to participate in the first Grand Prix Leg.

This meant that his chances of qualifying for the candidates were nonetheless gone.

Even if he had won the other leg, his accumulated points would not be enough to qualify.

The same of these Covid-19 scandals also occurred involving the eventual Grand Prix Winner, Hikaru Nakamura.

A few players criticized why he was elected to participate yet he had not played any games in over a year and was considered inactive.

The pandemic came with unforeseen occurrences, but in it all FIDE always found alternatives to keep both the players and chess fans happy.

☉ Playing blitz is the most common way of practicing chess, and there are true specialists in this subject. Meet the Top 10 Best Blitz Chess Players in the World


Over the history, chess, like any sport, has had its positive and negative events. Even with the negative events that have occurred, solutions have been found to those problems led by the chess governing body.

It will be interesting to see how chess will evolve. While chess will not evolve in terms of piece movement, it has the technology to support it.

This technology will find players becoming stronger as they learn of new variations and learning methods. Also, having a chance to communicate with players who are in advanced countries and have a lot of access to material helps in developing one’s strength.

I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.

If you want GM Igor Smirnov to help you get better at chess, watch this Masterclass.

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