Some of the chess capitals of the world include Moscow, Havana, London, Reykjavik, New York, and Chennai.
Moscow is known to be home to the most number of grandmasters. The headquarters of the Soviet Union, chess was a game that was greatly popularised by its leaders. The city has hosted a whopping 15 World Championships and two chess Olympiads. It is also known for its extensive history in the game being the birthplace of numerous chess grandmasters such as Vasily Smyslov, Vladimir Kramnik, Boris Spassky and many more.
Since the rise of legendary Cuban grandmaster Jose Raul Capablanca, Cuba as a country has been eminent in the popularisation of chess. Jose Raul Capablanca became Cuba’s first international grandmaster in 1921. The Havana Chess Club was founded in 1885. One of the most famous tournaments held in Cuba is the Capablanca Memorial Tournament, one of the best paid events in the world of chess.
London held the first formal international chess tournament in 1851. The city has hosted seven world championships and has seen multitudes of brilliant matches between the greats.
Reykjavik has been a popular chess capital ever since the famous 1972 match between American Bobby Fischer and the Soviet Union’s Boris Spassky. The match was referred to as the ‘Match of the Century’. Since then Reykavjik has been home to 6 of Iceland’s 8 grandmasters.
New York is famously known for its public chess tables, creating a vibrant environment for the growth of the game. Washington Square Park is dotted with these public chess tables where many grandmasters have played. One of the oldest chess clubs in the United States is active in New York; Marshall Chess Club. New York famously hosted the computer-human match between Deep Blue and Kasparov.
Chennai is an up and coming chess capital which has been home to the most number of Indian grandmasters which include Vishwanathan Anand, R. Praggnanandhaa and the country’s first grandmaster Manuel Aaron. At one time, chess tournaments would only take place in Chennai. Chennai is known for having a wide chess culture.