15 of the Hottest Chess Players Right Now

15 of the Hottest Chess Players Right Now

Chess is one of the earliest games that’s still played religiously to this day, but have you ever wondered who the hottest chess players are in the world right now? They’re the type of chess players that can make an average person like you and me look ridiculous at the chess table. 

The game of chess originated in sixth century India with the introduction of chaturanga – a game that was played on an 8-by-8 board and used pieces similar to that of chess today. Over the next 10 centuries, the game spread to Persia, the Arabs, China, Japan, and Europe. 

By 1500, the modern day rules of chess started to develop and it became a fixture of everyday life by the 19th century – with clubs, competitions, and tournaments happening around the world. In fact, it was 1851 in London that saw the first ever international chess tournament. 

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Who Are the Hottest Chess Players in 2022?

15 of the Hottest Chess Players Right Now
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Chess has grown mightily since that first international chess tournament in 1851 and the hottest chess players of all-time played a large role in making that happen – and continuing to make it happen. Since 1886, the World Chess Championship has featured all of the best chess players.

If you’re not the reigning world champion, the hottest chess players are usually the ones that reach the ‘Grandmaster’ title, also known as GM. It’s the highest title a chess player can receive and is a title that follows the individual throughout their entire life – they’re Grandmaster for life. 

There have been a lot of Grandmasters, a lot of World Champions, and a lot of talented chess players to grace the sport, but we’re here to talk about the hottest chess players in the world right now – in 2022. With that, we’ll need to take a look at the current FIDE player rankings. 

15. Jan-Krzysztof Duda

Jan-Krzysztof Duda is a 23-year old Polish chess Grandmaster. As of April 2022, he has a FIDE rating of 2750 and is currently ranked No. 15 in the world. He had a peak FIDE rating of 2760 in December of 2021 and a peak ranking of No. 12 in the world in December of 2019. 

Duda earned the title of Grandmaster in 2013 at the age of 15. In 2018, he won the Polish Championship and won the Chess World Championship three years later in 2021.  

14. Viswanathan Anand

Viswanathan Anand is a 52-year old Indian chess Grandmaster. As of April 2022, he has a FIDE rating of 2751 and currently ranks No. 14 in the world. He has a peak FIDE rating of 2817 in March 2011 and a peak ranking of No. 1 in April 2007. His mother was a chess aficionado.

Anand is the first Indian chess player to ever earn the title Grandmaster, doing so in 1988. He became the FIDE World Chess Champion in 2000 and held the title until 2002. He won it yet again in 2007 and held it for another six years until losing it in 2013. It was a legendary run. 

13. Teimour Radjabov

Teimour Radjabov is a 35-year old Azerbaijani chess Grandmaster. As of April 2022, he has a FIDE rating of 2753 and is currently ranked No. 13 in the world. He has a peak FIDE rating of 2793 in November of 2012 and a peak ranking of No. 4, which he achieved in July of 2012. 

Radjabov was just 14 years old when he earned the title of Grandmaster – at the time, he was the youngest to achieve that feat. He’s a three-time winner of the European Team Chess Championship (representing Azerbaijan) and recently won the 2020-21 Airthings Masters. 

12. Leinier Dominguez Perez

Leinier Dominguez Perez is a 38-year old Cuban-American chess Grandmaster. As of April 2022, he has a FIDE rating of 2756 and is currently ranked No. 12 in the world. He has a peak FIDE rating of 2768 and a peak ranking of No. 10 in the world – which he achieved in May 2014.

Dominguez earned the title of Grandmaster in 2001 at the age of 18. He’s a five-time Cuban Chess Champion and three-time Capablanca Memorial. He also won the 2008 World Blitz Championship. Dominguez competed in the World Chess Championship twice (2002, 2004). 

11. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, also known as MVL (his initials), is a 31-year old French chess Grandmaster. As of April 2022, he has a FIDE rating of 2758 and is currently ranked No. 11 in the world. He has a peak FIDE rating of 2819 and a peak ranking of No. 2 – both in 2016. 

MVL was just 14 years old when he achieved the title of Grandmaster in 2005. He’s a three-time French Chess Champion, World Junior Chess Champion, and five-time Biel Grandmaster Tournament winner. He also won the Sinquefield Cup in 2017 and most recently in 2021.

10. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov is a 36-year old Azerbaijani chess Grandmaster. As of April 2022, he has a FIDE rating of 2771 and is currently ranked No. 10 in the world. He has a peak FIDE rating of 2822 in September of 2018 and a peak ranking of No. 2 in February of 2018. 

Mamedyarov learned how to play chess from his father, who also taught him how to box. He’s a two-time World Junior Champion, three-time European Team Champion, one-time World Rapid Champion in 2013, two-time Tal Memorial winner, and one-time Biel Chess Festival winner in 2018. 

9. Ian Nepomniachtchi

Ian Nepomniachtchi is a 31-year old Russian chess Grandmaster. As of April 2022, he has a FIDE rating of 2773 and he’s currently ranked No. 9 in the world. He has a peak FIDE rating of 2792 in May 2021 and a peak ranking of No. 4 in the world, which he achieved in April of 2020.

Nepomniachtchi earned the title of Grandmaster in 2007 at the age of 17. He started playing chess at the age of four and is a two-time Russian Superfinal winner, European Individual winner, Tal Memorial winner, two-time Aeroflot Open winner, and FIDE Candidates winner. 

8. Anish Giri

Anish Giri is a 27-year old Russian-Dutch chess Grandmaster. As of April 2022, he has a FIDE rating of 2773 and is currently ranked No. 8 in the entire world. He has a peak FIDE rating of 2798 in October 2015 and a peak ranking of No. 3, which he achieved in January of 2016. 

Giri earned the title of Grandmaster in 2009 at the age of 14 and a half. He’s a four-time Dutch Champion, Reggio Emillia winner, Reykjavik Open winner, London Chess Classic co-winner, and Wijk aan Zee co-winner. He also won the Third Edition of the Shenzhen Masters in 2019.

7. Richard Rapport

Richard Rapport is a 26-year old Hungarian chess Grandmaster. As of April 2022, he has a FIDE rating of 2776 and is currently ranked No. 7 in the entire world. Both his current FIDE rating and current ranking are career-highs as he continues to climb up the leaderboards. 

Rapport started learning how to play chess at just four years old at the hands of his father and earned the title of Grandmaster in 2010 at the age of 14. He won the Hungarian Chess Championship in 2017 and is the fifth-youngest chess player to be named a Grandmaster. 

6. Wesley So

Wesley So is a 28-year old Filipino-American chess Grandmaster. As of April 2022, he has a FIDE rating of 2778 and is currently ranked No. 6 in the entire world. He has a peak FIDE rating of 2822 in February 2017 and a peak ranking of No. 2 in March 2017 – just one month later. 

So started competing in tournaments at the age of nine and quickly rose to dominance as a child. He’s a three-time and back-to-back reigning U.S. Chess Champion, current World Fischer Random Chess Champion, and three-time Philippine Chess Champion (before his transfer to the United States). 

5. Fabiano Caruana

Fabiano Caruana is a 29-year old Italian-American chess Grandmaster. As of April 2022, he has a FIDE rating of 2781 and is currently ranked No. 5 in the entire world. He has a peak FIDE rating of 2844 and a peak ranking of No. 2 – both of which were achieved in October of 2014. 

Caruana earned the title of chess Grandmaster in 2007 at the age of 14 years (11 months, 20 days), making him the youngest Italian or American to do so at the time. He’s a four-time Italian Chess Champion, recorded a 3098 at the Sinquefield Cup in 2014, a tournament that he won. 

4. Levon Aronian 

Levon Aronian is a 39-year old Armenian-American chess Grandmaster. As of April 2022, he has a FIDE rating of 2785 and is currently ranked No. 4 in the entire world. He has a peak FIDE rating of 2830 in March 2014 and a peak ranking of No. 2, which he achieved in January 2012. 

Aronian earned the Grandmaster title in 2000 at the age of 17 years old and recorded the fourth-highest FIDE rating in history in 2014. He’s a two-time winner of the FIDE World Cup and three-time gold medalist at the Chess Olympiads. He’s one of Armenia’s greatest athletes ever. 

3. Liren Ding 

Liren Ding is a 29-year old Chinese chess Grandmaster. As of April 2022, he has a FIDE rating of 2799 and is currently ranked No. 3 in  the entire world. He achieved a peak FIDE rating of 2816 in November 2018 and a peak ranking of No. 2, which he achieved in November 2021.

Ding earned the title of Grandmaster in 2009 at the age of 17. He not only became China’s 30th Grandmaster, but he’s the highest-ranking Chinese chess player ever and has won three China Chess Championships. He enjoyed a 100-game unbeaten streak, the longest streak at the time.

2. Alireza Firouzja

Alireza Firouzja is an 18-year old Iranian-French chess Grandmaster. As of April 2022, he has a FIDE rating of 2804 and is currently the No. 2 ranked chess player in the entire world – both of which are career-highs. He earned the title of Grandmaster in 2018 at the age of 14 years old. 

Firouzja is currently the youngest chess player to ever record a 2800 rating and has been the No. 2 ranked player since December 2021. He won the FIDE Grand Swiss tourney, an individual gold at the European Team Chess Championship, and the World Blitz Chess Championship. 

1. Magnus Carlsen

Magnus Carlsen is a 31-year old Norwegian chess Grandmaster. As of April 2022, he has a FIDE rating of 2864 and is currently the No. 1 ranked chess player in the world. He also has a peak FIDE rating of 2882 in May 2014 and first achieved  No. 1 ranking in January of 2010. 

Carlsen has been the top-ranked player since July 2011, marking the second-longest reign in chess history, and has the highest peak FIDE score of all-time. He’s widely regarded as the greatest of all-time and has been the World Champion since 2013. Will anyone dethrone him?

Who Are the Hottest Chess Players of All-Time?

Some of the hottest chess players in the world today are also considered some of the greatest chess players of all-time – with Magnus Carlsen being the obvious choice. Still, the sport has been around for so long that there are plenty of other greats that we didn’t mention above.

For example, Garry Kasparov and Bobby Fischer are two names that many consider the hottest chess players ever. Others include Emanuel Lasker, José Raúl Capablanca, Anatoly Karpov, Wilhelm Steinitz, Alexander Alekhine, Mikhail Botvinnik, and Mikhail Tal

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Chess has been around for centuries and variations of it have been around even longer. Don’t worry, unlike other things in this world, chess isn’t going anywhere anytime soon and it’ll continue to be one of the most competitive, yet quiet and respectable sports in the entire world.

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