(47% of undisputed world champions)


The listing of world chess champions of Jewish descent given below is based on the list of so-called "undisputed world chess champions," a category whose definition reflects the fact that the world chess championship was in dispute in the years 1993-2006.  In 1993, the then world champion Garry Kasparov and his challenger Nigel Short broke with
the Fédération Internationale des Échecs (FIDE), which had sponsored the world chess championship matches since 1948, and organized the Professional Chess Association (PCA) to sponsor their 1993 championship match.  As a result, between 1993 and 2006 there were both FIDE and PCA champions.  Kasparov was the PCA champion from 1993 until 2000, when he lost the title to Vladimir Kramnik.  Former world champion Anatoly Karpov was appointed the FIDE champion in 1993 and held that title until he lost it to Alexander Khalifman in 1999.*  In 2006, Kramnik became the first undisputed world chess champion since 1993 and was succeeded shortly thereafter by Viswanathan Anand, who won the title from him in 2007. 

Excluding the disputed period 1993-2006, chess players of Jewish descent have been either the winners, runners-up, or both in approximately two-thirds of the matches for the world championship played since its inception in 1886, and those listed below have held the world championship approximately half of that time:

* There is a listing for Alexander Khalifman in the Russian Jewish Encyclopedia (see
1. According to FBI files unsealed in 2002 and other independent archival materials, Bobby Fischer's biological father was not the German physicist Hans-Gerhardt Fischer, as previously supposed, but rather the Hungarian-Jewish engineer and fluid dynamicist Paul Nemenyi, making both of his parents Jewish.  See "Life is not a Board Game," by Peter Nicholas and Clea Benson, The Philadelphia Inquirer, 8 February, 2003.  Additional information can be found in Bobby Fischer Goes to War: How the Soviets Lost the Most Extraordinary Chess Match of All Time, by David Edmonds and John Eidinow (HarperCollins, New York, 2004, pp. 313-321).  This reference, incidentally, states (p. 39) that Boris Spassky told its authors that there is "no truth" to the widely reported claim that his mother was Jewish.
2. Jewish father, non-Jewish mother.

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