In Context

The first four moves of a chess game can be played 318,979,564,000 different ways.

A master chess player has a rating of 2200 or more under the United States Chess Federation rating system. A grandmaster chess player has a rating above 2500. The highest rating ever achieved was 2870, a record set by Magnus Carlsen in 2013.

Russia has the most grandmasters of any country: 219. Ukraine is second with 80, and the United States is currently third with 78.

The highest number of moves theoretically possible for a chess game is 5,949.

The first (unofficial) world chess champion was an American, Paul Morphy, who played the greatest players across Europe from 1857 to 1859. The first official world champion was also an American: Wilhelm Steinitz was born in Prague but immigrated to the United States; he won the world championship in 1886 and lost it to Emanuel Lasker in a match held in New York and Montreal in 1894. America would not have another world champion until Bobby Fischer won the title in 1972.

Emanuel Lasker from Germany held the title of world champion longer the longest: 26 years and 337 days.

The first American chess tournament was held in New York in 1843.

In March 2013, Awonder Liang of Madison, Wisconsin became the youngest American ever to achieve the level of master in chess at age nine years, 11 months and 14 days.


» "Interesting Chess facts"

» Chess Games. "Magnus Carlsen"

» World Chess Federation. "Federations Ranking"

» Chess Poster. "Did you know?"

» Evans, Larry. "Book Chronicles The Great U.s. Players." Sun Sentinel, June 30 1996.

» 50 States and Capitals. "New York Facts and Trivia"

» Schultz, Rob. "Madison fourth-grader Awonder Liang becomes youngest ever American chess master" Wisconsin State Journal, March 26 2013.