OK, Boomer: the best chess players of a generation

Generational meme wars escalate as “OK, boom” (often with the necessary comma omitted) is now a catch-all answer to eclipse any disagreement between young and old.

This unstoppable meme has made its way onto the internet, everywhere Ticand even (dare we say it?) in “real life”.

While the popular phrase shines the spotlight on baby boomers (born 1946-1964), classify them best chess players of this great and important post-war generation.

While this era of chess was completely dominated by two giants of the game (see below), the baby boomer generation produced quite a few powerful grandmasters.

Bobby Fisher narrowly misses the cut, as he was born in 1943, a member of the so-called “silent generation”. At the other end of the calendar, we have Vishy Anand (born in 1969) inaugurating the best grandmasters of “generation x”.

But who were the best chess boomers? Our list is below; let us know your picks in the comments.

okay boomer

Honorable mention:

  • Ulf Andersson (born 1951, max score 2655)
  • Yasser Seirawan (b. 1960, max score 2658)
  • Jaan Ehlvest (born 1962, max score 2660)
  • Rafael Vaganian (born 1951, max score 2670)
  • Jan Timman (born 1951, max score 2680)
  • Artur Yusupov (born 1960, max score 2680)

okay boomer

The best chess boomers of all time:

5. Mikhail Gurevich (b. 1959, max rating 2694)

Mikhail Gurevich.Mikhail Gurevich. Photo by Frank Hoppe via Wikipedia.

Gurevich had an interesting chess career. He was born in Ukraine, part of the Soviet Union, and was the two-state champion in the late 1980s. Gurevich then made a comeback playing for Belgium, winning that country’s championship in 2001 at around the time of his highest grade in chess.

He is now a referee and chess coach and was second to Anand during his world championship years.

Here the strong boomer uses his queen, bishop and passed pawn to give Sergei Movsesian nightmares on the chessboard:

4. Alexander Beliavsky (b. 1953, max score 2710)

Alexander Beliavsky.
Alexander Beliavsky. Photo by Andrejj via Wikipedia.

Beliavsky, another Ukrainian-born boomer, was also the USSR champion, winning the title four times. He then joined the Slovenian federation.

He shares the record for the most undisputed world champions beaten in his career. According to Wikipedia:

Paul Keres, Viktor Korchnoi and Alexander Beliavsky are the only chess players to have beaten 9 undisputed world champions in classical games. Beliavsky beat all the undisputed world champions from Smyslov (7th) to Carlsen (16th), except Fischer: Smyslov, Tal, Petrosian, Spassky, Karpov, Kasparov, Vladimir Kramnik, Viswanathan Anand, Carlsen.

Beliavsky is also a chess coach and senior FIDE coach.

In 2006, Beliavsky defeated the future Millennial World Champion, Magnus Carlsen:

3. Valery Salov (born in 1964, max score 2715)

Valery Salov
Valery Salov. Photo by Rob Bogaerts via Wikipedia.

Salov was born in Poland and was a chess prodigy, winning the World Under-17 Championship in 1980.

He then shared first place in the USSR Championship and qualified for two Candidates Tournaments in the World Championship cycle.

Salov played in some top level tournaments in the late 1990s, but has not played in a FIDE rated tournament for 20 years. He is an advocate of Fischer Random chess to circumvent the overkill of opening preparation.

Here’s Salov with an elegant late-game win over fellow boomer Timman in 1991:

2. Anatoly Karpov (born in 1951, max score 2780)

Anatoly Karpov.
Anatoly Karpov. Photo: Russian Duma via Wikipedia.

It’s a huge leap now to number two, a legendary player whose accomplishments go far beyond what will be covered in this listicle-style blurb.

Karpov, of course, is one of the greatest chess players of all time and was world champion from 1975 to 1985, bridging the gap between Fischer and Garry Kasparov.

Karpov was world number one for a total of 102 months, behind Carlsen and Kasparov, and his world championship matches with the latter in the 1980s defined an era in chess.

Now retired from competitive chess, Karpov serves as an ambassador for the game and is involved in humanitarian causes.

Watch Karpov show off his knight’s superiority over Kasparov’s bishop in a 1984 world championship final:

1. Garry Kasparov (b. 1963, max score 2851)

Garry Kasparov.
The many faces of Garry Kasparov. Photos: Maria Emelianova / Chess.com.

Garry Kasparov is the rare chess player famous beyond the game. A serious contender for the greatest intellectual competitor of all time, Kasparov was world champion from 1985 to 2000. He won all the top tournaments on the circuit and pioneered human versus machine chess, defeating IBM’s supercomputer. deep blue before losing the rematch.

Kasparov retired from competitive chess in 2005, but is still active as a casual player, politician and general chess celebrity. He is also notable for his achievements as a chess author and humanitarian.

There is no debate: Garry Kasparov is the greatest chess boomer of all time. More than adequate, Kasparov is awesome.

How do you choose which Kasparov game to show? This is perhaps his best known and most played match, a 1999 masterpiece against Topalov.

Who are your favorite chess players from the boomer generation? Let us know in the comments, okay?

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