Around the world, there are a few chess players who are given the title of “Grandmaster,” or the highest title that chess players can get aside from “World Champion” when they best all the other chess players through the World Chess Championships. If you’re a follower of the competitive world of international chess, you’re probably familiar with some of the best chess players – especially since they’re the ones who constantly compete at the world championships. But how do chess players get ranked and who are the top 5 chess players in the world today? In this article, we’ll talk about how global chess rankings are calculated and who the 5 best chess players are this 2022.

How Are Chess Player Rankings Calculated?

Much like the top players in other types of sports, chess players are judged based on various ranking factors, including their participation in international chess tournaments and their wins against other international chess players. For international chess players, the primary chess governing body is the Fédération Internationale des Échecs (FIDE), with the federation awarding outstanding chess players with specific categories that reflect their skill level. These classes are Candidate Master (CM), FIDE Master (FM), International Master (IM), and Grandmaster (GM).

These are calculated using the Elo rating, which takes into consideration the score of players and their opponents, as well as their performance ranking. Candidate Masters need about a rating of 2200 to be awarded the CM title, and the rankings go up by 100 per rank. The highest of which is the Grandmaster title which requires a 2500 or more FIDE rating.

Who Are the Top 5 Chess Players in the World in 2022?

Since chess is a highly competitive sport, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that chess players from around the world are continuously vying for a spot in the Top 100. If you’re curious who the best chess players are today, here are 2022’s best chess players according to their FIDE rankings this June.

  1. GM Magnus Carlsen

With a FIDE rating of 2864, Magnus Carlsen is a Norwegian Grandmaster and chess prodigy who has held the world’s top chess player spot since 2011, after reclaiming it from India’s Viswanathan Anand. He is also the reigning and five-time World Chess Champion since 2013.

Carlsen first played chess when he was only 5 years old, and officially earned the GM title when he was just 13 years old. He first topped the FIDE rankings in 2010 when he was only 19 years old, making him the youngest Grandmaster to reach the top. With his numerous achievements even before reaching the age of 30, Magnus Carlsen has been dubbed one of the best chess players of all time – if not the best. This is one of the reasons why Magnus has been the subject of a must-watch chess documentary that’s eponymously titled.

  1. GM Ding Liren

GM Ding Liren has a FIDE rating of 2806, earning him the second spot in the world’s chess rankings. A Chinese grandmaster who earned the title when he was 16 years old, Ding Liren has become one of the world’s best chess players of his time. In fact, he held a record-breaking 100-game win streak in 2018, which was only broken by Magnus Carlsen the following year.

  1. GM Alireza Firouzja

An Iranian French chess grandmaster, Alireza Firouzja has a FIDE rating of 2793. He is also one of the youngest chess player to be included in FIDE’s Top 100 at only 19 years old. In May 2022, he broke Magnus Carlsen’s record of being the youngest chess player to hold a FIDE ranking of 2800 by about 5 months. Originally representing Iran and eventually competing under the FIDE flag, Alireza Firouzja officially started representing France in mid-2021 after becoming a French citizen.

  1. GM Fabiano Caruana

GM Fabiano Caruana is an Italian American chess prodigy who has a FIDE rating of 2783, earning him fourth place in the world’s top 100 chess players. He also held the record of being the youngest grandmaster in both the US and Italy at the time, with his US record only being broken by Samuel Sevian who was awarded the Grandmaster title when he was 13 years old. In addition, he also holds the record of being the youngest Italian Chess Champion.

  1. GM Levon Aronian

An Armenian chess grandmaster who currently represents the US, Levon Aronian currently holds a 2775 FIDE rating, granting him fifth place as of June 2022. As the leading chess player in Armenia, Levon Aronian has become a popular figure in the country, even being touted by CNN as the “David Beckham of Chess.” However, due to dwindling support in his home country, Aronian decided to transfer to the US in 2021.

Do You Need to Be a Child Prodigy to Be a Top Chess Player in the World?

The majority of the top chess players in the world start presenting proficiency in playing chess at a young age – most are classified as child prodigies in the realm of competitive chess. However, while child prodigies do make up a significant number in the world’s top chess player rankings, there are still those who excel in competitive chess through rigorous training and studies.

This just shows how chess isn’t monopolized by the gifted, but it can also be dominated through the sheer amount of effort and skill that is built through years of experience.