(46% of undisputed world chess championship runners-up)*


The listing of world chess championship runners-up of Jewish descent given below is based on the list of so-called "undisputed world chess championships," 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.  The list below excludes the disputed period 1993-2006.
* In this enumeration, multiple-time runners-up are counted multiple times.  Counting multiple-time runners-up just once yields a Jewish percentage of 48%.
1. Jewish mother, non-Jewish father
.  It should be noted that there is considerable controversy over this claim.  It should also be noted that in the late 1970s, when Viktor Korchnoi defected from the USSR and leveled charges of rampant anti-Semitism in the Soviet chess establishment, Soviet government newspapers, in an apparent effort to counter those charges, published lists of Soviet Jewish chess luminaries whose successful careers, it was claimed, proved the absence of any such bias.  Those lists of Jewish, or partly Jewish, players included Vasily Smyslov (They did not include Boris Spassky.) 
2. According to recently unsealed FBI files 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.
3. "Of mainly Jewish descent"; see The YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe, edited by Gershon David Hundert (Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 2008, Vol. 1, p. 316).
4. Jewish father, non-Jewish mother.

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