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Just as brilliant as they are insane, these geniuses devoted their entire lives to a completely useless board game. Here is my list of the best chess players of all time. Who is your favorite?
  1. 1.
    Mikhail Tal, Latvia
    Cigarette in hand, Tal was the greatest attacking chess player to ever grace the board. The Latvian born Chess World Champion would decimate the defenses surrounding your king, stopping at nothing until His Majesty lay surrounded and defeated. Tal was a heavy smoker, and his poor health was attributed to his lazy play in his later life. But Tal never made any excuses. When asked why he lost to Botvinnik in 1961, Tal simply replied "I lost because he beat me." A legend until the end, Mikhail Tal.
  2. 2.
    Bobby Fischer, USA
    Through each of his moves he demonstrated an understanding of chess akin to Van Gogh's understanding of Starry Night or Jesus's understanding of the New Testament. At the age of 13 he had already played what is still known as the game of the 20th century. Fischer, an outspoken antisemite, filled his later life with hatred and animosity. His personal beliefs were vile, but the movement of Fischer's pieces across the board radiate beauty and understanding of immortal proportions.
  3. 3.
    Alexander Alekhine, USSR
    The great Alekhine was a powerful attacking chess player. He danced on the board making his opponents seem like fools though they were strong grandmasters. Like Tal, Alekhine had a heavy drinking problem and often showed up to tournaments drunk, yet still able to play better chess than I ever will. Alekhine lived a sad later life alone with nobody but his chess pieces. Alekhine died on March 24, 1946 alongside a chessboard with the pieces still in their starting position.
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