Who Is The Real Mozart Of Chess?

After clicking on to CNN I noticed ‘Mozart of chess’ now unbeaten for 111 games directly below ‘Jeopardy!’ crowns ‘Greatest of All Time’. I clicked onto the Mozart of chess story where this picture was found:


‘The Mozart of Chess’

Edward Winter

Christian Sánchez (Rosario, Argentina) enquires about the origins of a nickname given to Capablanca, ‘The Mozart of chess’, and wonders when it was first used. We plan to revert to that matter later on, and readers’ assistance with citations will be welcomed. Firstly, though, we would point out that the term has been applied to many masters. Some examples:

  • Paul Morphy:

‘Morphy was the Mozart of chess.’
Page 228 of the Columbia Chess Chronicle, 29 December 1888 (article by G.H.D. Gossip).

Page 305 of the August-September 1884 BCM had stated: ‘What Mozart, as to innate, natural ability, was to music, Morphy likewise was to chess.’

  • Emanuel Lasker:

‘The Mozart of chess’
Page 45 of White King and Red Queen by D. Johnson (London, 2007).

  • Mikhail Tal:

‘El Mozart del ajedrez’
Page 113 of El campeonato mundial de ajedrez by E. Gufeld and E.M. Lazarev (Barcelona, 2003).

  • Boris Spassky:

‘Spassky has been called the Mozart of chess.’
Page 65 of Bobby Fischer Goes to War by D. Edmonds and J. Eidinow (London, 2004).

  • Bobby Fischer:

‘Fourteen-year-old “Mozart of Chess”’
Page SM38 of the New York Times, 23 February 1958 (article by H.C. Schonberg – see C.N. 5491). Schonberg referred to Capablanca as ‘the Mozart of chess’ on page 181 of Grandmasters of Chess (Philadelphia and New York, 1973).

  • Anatoly Karpov:

‘He is the Mozart of the chessboard …’
Page 21 of Karpov-Korchnoi 1978 by R. Keene (London, 1978).

  • Magnus Carlsen:

‘In January 2004, I called Magnus Carlsen the Mozart of chess for the first time. It was a spontaneous, last-minute decision to meet a deadline for my column in the Washington Post. The name was picked up immediately and spread around quickly. It was used, misused, overused.’
Lubomir Kavalek, article dated 23 February 2012.



Chess during Mozart’s time: “Nannerl”



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