The official world championship is generally regarded to have begun in 1886, when the two leading players in Europe and the United States, 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 which remained until 2006 when the title was unified at the World Chess Champioship 2006.
Viswanathan Anand(India)is the current champion -
who won the World Chess Championship in 2007,2008,2010 and 2012
India's Vishwanathan Anand won the World Chess Championship for the 5th time defeating his Israeli challenger Boris Gelfand on Wednesday May 30,2012 in Moscow.
India's Vishwanathan Anand sealed his fourth-consecutive world title beating Gelfand 2.5-1.5 in the four-match tie breaker at Moscow's State Tretyakov Gallery.
Viswanathan Anand has held the undisputed World Chess Champion title since October 2008, when he defeated Russia's Vladimir Kramnik in Bonn, Germany. He defended his title in 2009 by beating Bulgarian opponent Veselin Topalov 6.5-5.5 in Sofia.
Viswanathan Anand has been world champion since 2007, and this is his third successive title defence .
The Indian chess wizard bagged his first world title in 2000 before winning three in a row in 2007, 2008 and 2010
Details of Viswanathan Anand's World Championship Wins
2000: After several near misses, Anand won the FIDE World Chess Championship for the first time after defeating Alexei Shirov 3-1/2 by 1/2 points in the final match held in Tehran, thereby becoming the first Indian to win that title.
2007: Anand became world champion again by winning the FIDE tournament held in Mexico City. He won the double round-robin event with a final score of 9 out of 14 points, a full point ahead of joint-second place finishers Vladimir Kramnik and Boris Gelfand.
2008: Anand convincingly defended the title against Kramnik in the world chess championship held between 14-29 October in Bonn, Germany. The winner was to be the first to score 6-1/2 points in the twelve-game match. Anand won by scoring the required points in 11 games, having won three of the first six games (two with the black pieces).
2010: Anand's hold on the world chess championship continued when he beat Veselin Topalov in Sofia, Bulgaria. The score was tied 5-1/2 after 11 games, but Anand forced his opponent to resign in the finale and retained the title.
2012: Anand retained the world championship for the third time by beating Boris gelfand in the rapid games. Anand beat Gelfand 2.5-1.5 in rapid chess tie-breaker at the Tretyakov Gallery here after the two Grandmasters ended the 12-game championship match with a 6-6 stalemate.
Jayalalithaa hands over Rs. 2 crore to Anand
TN Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa on Wednesday June 06,2012 presented a cheque for Rs 2 crore to Grandmaster Viswanathan Anand for winning the World Chess Championship crown for the fifth time.
Anand, along with his wife Aruna, called on Ms. Jayalalithaa at the state secretariat where she complimented the world champion for his achievement.
The Chief Minister had earlier sent a letter to Anand saying that he had brought laurels both to Tamil Nadu and India and announced a reward of Rs 2 crore.
The state government has brought out a booklet in honour of Anand, fondly called as Vishy Anand, detailing his achievements from 1986 to 2012.
The information material, published by Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu (SDAT), termed him as the “Pride of Chennai -- The Greatest Chess Player”, and praised him for bringing an “Anand Wave” to inspire more Indians take to the game.