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Aron Nimzowitsch

Aron Nimzowitsch was the most famous of Hypermodern chess masters. He was born in Riga in 1886 into a wealthy family. He learnt chess from his father and chose a career of professional chess player in 1904. The next few years saw him score several important tournament wins.

During the 1917 revolution, Nimzowitsch escaped to Berlin and after a few years to Copenhagen, where he lived the rest of his life. His chess career was at a peak in the late 1920s and early 1930s. He became the third best player in the world during this time (behind Alekhine and Capablanca). Among his notable achievements were first place at Copenhagen 1923, Marienbad 1925, Dresden 1926, Hannover 1926 and Carlsbad 1929.

He is recognized as one of the greatest writers in chess. His works influenced numerous other players; the book "My System" written in 1925 is one of the most important books on chess strategy, even today. Concepts such as 'overprotection', control of the centre by pieces, 'blockade' and 'prophylaxis' were first discovered and elaborated by him. He was also the leading advocate and exponent of the fianchetto development of the bishops. His death came early at the age of 49, in 1935, when he was bedridden for several months before succumbing to pneumonia.

RIP Svetozar Gligoric

He was not only one of the top 10 players in the world, but also one of the most popular due to his pleasing and engaging personality. He was born in Belgrade and started chess during his late teenage years. He quickly found success by winning the club championship. After the War, his tournament results progressed and he was awarded the title of Grandmaster in 1951. Thereafter he became a full time chess professional and was an active player well into his sixties.

Apart from his over the board prowess, he was also a writer of great repute. He has authored several popular chess books and regular columns in famous magazines.

Viktor Korchnoi turns 80

Victor Korchnoi is currently the oldest active grandmaster on the tournament circuit.

He was born on March 23, 1931 in Leningrad, USSR. He learnt to play chess from his father at the age of five. In 1947 he won the USSR Junior championship, the first major tournament victory and later became a Grandmaster in 1956.

He first qualified as a World Title candidate in 1962. His best results were challenging Karpov for the title in the 1978 and 1981 championship matches (both which karpov won). Also in September 2006, he won the 16th World Senior Chess Championship in Italy. His playing style initially was an aggressive counter-attack. Later his style became all rounded with mastery in all stages of the games and in all types of positions. He has defeated 8 world champions from Botvinnik to Kasparov as well as FIDE world champions Ponomariov and Topalov. He has been at or near the top of the game for nearly half a century. He continues to play many tournaments every year. He has authored some wonderful Chess Books like "Chess is my Life", "My Best Games" (Vol 1, 2 & 3) and "Practical Rook Endings".

Mikhail Tal

Mikhail Tal was the greatest attacking Grandmaster of all time.

Born in Riga, Latvia on Nov 9, 1936, he learned chess while watching his father. In 1951 he qualified for the Latvian championship and by 1954 became a Soviet Master. By winning the Soviet Championship in 1957, he got the title of Grandmaster. He defeated Botvinnik in the famous 1960 match to become the youngest (till then) World Champion at the age of 23. His highest ELO rating was 2705 achieved in 1980.

Tal won several strong tournaments like Bled 1961, Hastings 1963, Tbilisi 1969, Novi Sad 1974, Montreal 1979 and Buenos Aires 1991. His playing style was magical. He often sacrificed material for attack and created vast complications in which his opponents would get lost. During his later years, he adopted a more positional style. He was troubled by health problems throughout the better part of his career, which seriously affected his chess results. Every time he would recover and score another victory. He was also a profilific journalist of repute (editor of Latvian chess magazine) and authored some famous chess books (Life and Games of Tal). He was a popular person among fellow masters who would be obsessed with blitz chess even during free time. He died of kidney failure on June 28, 1992 in Moscow.

Matthew Sadler

Matthew Sadler is one of the strongest Grandmasters from England.

Though he took up chess relatively late in life, he quickly proved his brilliance. His first best result was winning the British championship at the age of 21; thereafter he regularly figured among the top results in British and World Chess events.

He was also a successful writer and authored several famous books and magazine articles. His book 'Queens Gambit declined' won the Book of the Year award from British Chess Federation. Matthew quit professional chess and opted for an IT career in Holland. After quite a gap, he again returned to chess this year to play in the Rapid tournament where he won with 7/7 over other prominent grandmasters.