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The official world championship is generally regarded to have begun in 1886, when the two leading players in Europe, Wilhelm Steinitz and Johann Zukertort, played a match. From 1886 to 1946, the champion set the terms, requiring any challenger to raise a sizable stake and defeat the champion in a match in order to become the new world champion. From 1948 to 1993, the championship was administered by FIDE, the world Chess federation. In 1993, the reigning champion (Garry Kasparov) broke away from FIDE, leading to the creation of two rival championships. This situation remained until 2006, when the title was unified at the World Chess Championship 2006.

The current world champion is Viswanathan Anand, who won the World Chess Championship 2007 and successfully defended his title against former world champion Vladimir Kramnik in the World Chess Championship 2008, and again against the challenger Veselin Topalov in the World Chess Championship 2010. He will defend his title against challenger Boris Gelfand in the World Chess Championship 2012.

In addition, there is a separate event for women only, for the title of Women's World Champion, as well as separate competitions and titles for juniors (under 20 years of age), seniors (60+ for men, 50+ for women), and computers. Computers are barred from competing for the open title.

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Q: Champion chess player of the early 20th cenury?
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