Top 10 Chess Players by FIDE rating cover image

Top 10 Chess Players by FIDE rating

Here are the best chess players in the world as of March 2024.

Chess is a centuries-old game that established the competitive industry all the way back in the 1800s. And after hundreds of years, the competitive scene of chess remains vigorous and healthy. But who are the masters of this ancient game in the modern era? Let's take a look at the top 10 chess players in the world according to FIDE's classical ranking (March 2024).

#1 Magnus Carlsen (2830)

Photo by Norway Chess
Photo by Norway Chess

Magnus Carlsen is the world's best chess player and his achievements are unprecedented. The 33-year-old Norwegian became a chess Grandmaster at only 13 years old and earned the world champion title in 2013 at 22 years old. He holds astounding achievements including reaching the highest classical rating of all time at 2882. He is the five-time World Chess Champion, four-time World Rapid Chess Champion, and six-time World Blitz Champion. Recently, Carlsen abdicated the world champion throne but still actively competes in chess tournaments worldwide.

#2 Fabiano Caruana (2804)

Photo by Chess.com
Photo by Chess.com

The 31-year-old Italian-American, Fabiano Caruana, played his first chess tournament at five years old. He then achieved the Grandmaster title at 14 years old, surpassing Nakamura's previous record. In the same year, he won the Italian Chess Championship. Caruana delivered a notable performance at the 2016 Sinquefield Cup which saw the highest-ever performance rating in history. He is also a two-time and the current U.S Chess Champion.

Caruana's biggest achievement is a victory at the Candidates Tour 2018 which allowed him to challenge Magnus Carlsen in that year. He became the first American citizen since Bobby Fischer to participate in the World Chess Championship and he brawled in a close contest, barely losing to Carlsen.

#3 Hikaru Nakamura (2789)

Photo by Maria Emelianova/Chess.com
Photo by Maria Emelianova/Chess.com

Despite rocking a successful full-time streaming career, Hikaru Nakamura comfortably sits among the top 3 chess players in the world. The Japanese-American was introduced to chess at seven years old and trained to reach the Grandmaster title at fifteen years old. This made him the youngest American GM at that time, surpassing Bobby Fischer's record by three months. The 36-year-old is a five-time U.S Chess Champion and he recently became the 2022 Fischer Random World Champion. In the 2022 Candidates Tour, Nakamura achieved an impressive third-place finish.

#4 Ding Liren (2762)

Photo by Grand Chess Tour
Photo by Grand Chess Tour

The 31-year-old Ding Liren came from a Chinese town that is known to have a vigorous chess community. He started training early but gained traction after a brilliant performance at the 2009 Chinese Chess Championship. At only 16 years old, he became a national champion and simultaneously earned the Grandmaster title. Liren also became the first player from China to qualify for the Candidates Tour in 2018, which he finished in fourth place without a single defeat. But his biggest achievement so far is qualifying for the World Chess Championship in 2023, an ongoing event that sees him clashing against Ian Nepomniachtchi.

#5 Anish Giri (2762)

Photo by World Chess
Photo by World Chess

Anish Giri started playing chess at six years old and achieved the Grandmaster title at fourteen years old. He was born in Russia but is now playing for the Netherlands. The 29-year-old is a four-time Dutch national champion. He also won many major international tournaments including the 2012 Reggio Emilia tournament and the 2017 Reykjavik Open.

During the 2022 Tata Steel Chess tournament, Giri defeated Carlsen in classical for the first time in 12 years and he also went on to win the tournament. Aside from his prowess in chess, he is also known for his active online presence and comical, satirical remarks on Twitter.

#6 Alireza Firouzja (2785)

Photo by Maria Emelianova/Chess.com
Photo by Maria Emelianova/Chess.com

Alireza Firouzja is the youngest player in the world's top 10 at only 20 years old. The Iranian-born player, who is currently playing for France, first won the Iranian Chess Championship at 12 years old and claimed the Grandmaster title at only 14. Two years later, the chess prodigy became the youngest person in history to reach a 2800 rating in chess. He won the 2021 FIDE Grand Swiss Tournament and recently triumphed in the 2022 Grand Chess Tour. He is also currently rank #1 in Blitz, surpassing Nakamura. Firouzja recently opened up to pursuing fashion design while still committing to chess as a career.

#7 Ian Nepomniachtchi (2758)

Photo by Eteri Kublashvili, Chess Federation of Russia
Photo by Eteri Kublashvili, Chess Federation of Russia

Ian Nepomniachtchi has been training in chess since he was four years old and developed early to grab multiple European championships at a young age. In 2002, he also defeated Carlsen in the World Junior Championship. Nepomniachtchi earned the Grandmaster title at 17 years old and would actively participate in championships worldwide. The 32-year-old won consecutive Candidates Tour both in 2021 and in 2022 - allowing him to challenge the world champion twice. In 2021, he lost against Carlsen but his fate has yet to be determined for 2022.

#8 Wesley So (2757)

Photo from Wesley So website – Antonio Milesi.
Photo from Wesley So website – Antonio Milesi.

Wesley So is a 30-year-old Filipino who is now playing for the United States. He started competing at ten years old and became a Grandmaster four years later. He was the youngest GM in the Philippines and became a three-time Philippine Chess Champion. But following his transfer to the US in 2014, he began competing in the U.S Chess Championships and has won three iterations so far. He has tremendous international victories including in the 2015 Bilbao Chess Masters, 2016 Grand Chess Tour, and the 2017 Tata Steel Masters.

#9 Wei Yi (2755)

(Image via Chess.com)
(Image via Chess.com)

Wei Yi is the second Chinese in the top 10 chess players according to classical ratings. The 24-year-old is the 9th youngest person to obtain the Grandmaster title at only 13 years old and 8 months old. In 2015, he made a remarkable record by winning the Chinese Chess Championship, becoming the youngest Chinese champion in history. Wei Yi did not stop there and continued his path to claim the 2022 Asian Games chess victory. He managed to break through into the top 10 after crucial wins against Nodirbek Abdusattorov and Gukesh D at the 2024 Tata Steel Chess Tournament.

#10 Viswanathan Anand (2751)

Photo from chessbase
Photo from chessbase

In tenth place is Viswanathan Anand, the oldest GM on the list at 53 years old. He is a legendary Grandmaster and a former five-time world champion. He started his chess endeavor at six years old and skyrocketed to the international scene. Anand earned his Grandmaster title at 19 years old, becoming the first Indian Grandmaster in history. Anand would then also make history to win five Corus Chess tournaments and grab victories in each of the Big Three super-tournaments (Corus, Linares, and Dortmund).

Anand's legacy has sparked a wave of young Indian Grandmasters in the last decade and his country awarded him the highest sporting honor. This could be seen in the 2024 Candidates where there will be three young Indians participating for the first time in history.

Anand was not in the top 10 list for a while, but he re-entered after a brilliant performance at the 2022 Norway Chess - defeating multiple super-GMs including Carlsen. In 2022, Anand was elected the deputy president of FIDE.


And that's it for the top 10 chess players in the world! Stick around esports.gg for more chess news and updates!