Chess Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for serious players and enthusiasts of chess. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Between 1916 and 1924, future World Champion J.R. Capablanca (as of 1921) experienced a period of eight years without a single (tournament) defeat. He was then regarded as one of the world's best defensive players, although he also drew more than other Grandmasters of similar stature.

Has any Grandmaster or World Champion since then had an equal or longer record of being undefeated?

share|improve this question
up vote 11 down vote accepted

From this Discussion

In terms of games played, it would be Tal with 95 games (46 wins, 49 draws) from October 23, 1973 to October 16, 1974. He also has the second longest streak of 84 games (47 wins, 39 draws) from July 1972 to April 1973. In terms of time, Capablanca was undefeated for 63 games (40 wins, 23 draws from February 10, 1916 to March 21, 1924.

share|improve this answer
+1 However, I do think Capablanca's streak is more impressive because he has a higher percentage of wins and also because during that period he was the "man-to-beat" for everyone else. Tal was not regarded as such in 1972. The man-to-beat at that time was Fischer or even Spassky. – Wes Jun 4 '14 at 16:43
@Wes Yes, perhaps. There's some other long streaks such as Kramnik's 82 game streak and also Kasparov's 15 consecutive first place tournament finishes (record for tournament 1st places) – Alan Jun 4 '14 at 17:00
@Wes Fischer was not a man to beat during Tal's 95 games strike, since he was not active at all. During 84 game strike Fischer was playing the Championship match (July 11 to August 31), and then became inactive, so it was not possible to play Fischer unless your were Spassky. – Akavall Jun 5 '14 at 2:38
Ya, I actually saw the second set of dates (July 1972 to April 1973) and missed the first. I think during this period, Tal might have been among the top 10 in the world, but Spassky, Korchnoi and even Karpov were already better than him. It would be interesting to see how many games he played against better players during this streak. – Wes Jun 5 '14 at 14:35
@Wes: Capablanca's strength was that he maintained his dominance for such a long time, even if games were played at a slower rate 100 years ago than today. His only "downside" was (relative) small sample size. – Tom Au Jun 9 '14 at 21:43

It is always an almost futile effort to try to compare two persons in any endeavor be it, boxing (Ali VS Marciano) Chess (Capablanca VS any (Fisher, Tal, Magnus, Kasparov, etc.)) Capablanca was independent of psychology as Lasker noticed and mentioned and of computers. In other words, I would say he was the best ever of all champions, he came before all of the others, they learned and copied him, whereas he invented Chess in his mine and not as others on computers and software.

He had no external help as the later players had. In Russia all of the players got help from the government and the multitude of players that exist there as a national sport. Else they used computers to do research on players, openings, middle games and endgames.

We can see Capablanca's results from all of this..

Thank you. RR

share|improve this answer
Welcome aboard, Raymond! This is a Q-and-A site rather than a discussion forum, and since what you posted here doesn't offer an answer to the question above, it's actually out of place. – ETD Feb 9 '15 at 6:11

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.