Chess Players' MBTI - Behind the Chessboard

As a chess enthusiast, I've often found it fascinating to explore the personalities of the great minds behind the chessboard. It's intriguing how their unique MBTI personality types might have played a role in shaping their chess journeys and styles of play.

Here are the MBTI personality types for 30 chess players, with only ESFP missing:-

  1. Bobby Fischer: INTJ
  2. Garry Kasparov: ENTJ
  3. Magnus Carlsen: INTP (though self-typed as INTJ)
  4. Anatoly Karpov: ISTJ
  5. Viswanathan Anand: INTP
  6. Vladimir Kramnik: INTJ
  7. Judit Polgár: INTP
  8. Hikaru Nakamura: ENTP
  9. Mikhail Tal: ENFP
  10. Vassily Ivanchuk: INFP
  11. Sergey Karjakin: ISFJ
  12. Levon Aronian: INFJ
  13. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave: ISTP
  14. Peter Svidler: ENTP
  15. Viktor Korchnoi: ESTP
  16. Mikhail Botvinnik: INTJ
  17. Veselin Topalov: ENFJ
  18. Alexander Alekhine: INTJ
  19. Wesley So: INFJ
  20. Ruslan Ponomariov: INTJ
  21. Nigel Short: ENFP
  22. Vladimir Putin: ISTJ (Yes, he's known to play chess and his MBTI type has been speculated)
  23. Fabiano Caruana: INTJ
  24. Teimour Radjabov: INTJ
  25. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov: ESTP
  26. Boris Spassky: ISFP
  27. Alexandra Kosteniuk: ENFJ
  28. Nona Gaprindashvili: ISTJ
  29. Jan Timman: INTP
  30. Viktor Kortschnoj: ESTJ

There was also an unprecedented chess competition between a great Sensor and Intuitive in 1975 in which Bobby Fischer forfeited the competition and Anatoly Karpov ended up winning by default:-

  • Bobby Fischer, the enigmatic INTJ. His intense focus, strategic thinking, and unyielding determination propelled him to become one of the greatest chess players of all time. His introverted nature might have contributed to his legendary ability to spend countless hours analyzing positions, making him a true master of preparation and execution.
  • Anatoly Karpov's ISTJ personality might have been the foundation of his rock-solid positional play. His introverted, sensing nature allowed him to meticulously analyze positions and make calculated moves. This patient and disciplined approach often wore down opponents, earning him a reputation as a strategic mastermind.

Curious about the unique strengths of Sensors (S) and Intuitive (N)? Explore the fascinating contrasts between these two personality dimensions and learn how they influence your interactions, decisions, and aspirations. Ready to gain fresh insights into Sensors and Intuitive.

There's Magnus Carlsen, the poster child for the INTP personality type, even though he self-typed to be an INTJ (Click here to explore the Perceivers vs. Judgers dynamic). His introverted, intuitive nature led him to explore unconventional openings and creative tactics that often left opponents puzzled. His ability to see the bigger picture while navigating complex positions showcases the hallmark traits of an INTP thinker. 

Some comparable grandmaster with Perceiver and Judger differences are:

  • Garry Kasparov's ENTJ personality shines through his ambitious and visionary approach to the game. His extroverted nature allowed him to connect with audiences worldwide, turning chess into a global spectacle. His intuition and strong decision-making skills were evident in his ability to think multiple moves ahead, always aiming for the checkmate that would seal his legacy.
  • The charismatic ENTP Hikaru Nakamura brings excitement to the game, often pushing boundaries with innovative ideas and unexpected sacrifices. His extroverted, intuitive personality serves him well in rapid and blitz games, where quick thinking and adaptability are crucial.

It's not just the grandmasters who exhibit these intriguing connections between personality and play style. Local chess clubs are filled with a variety of personalities, each bringing their unique strengths to the board. I remember playing against a fellow INFP who approached chess with a deep sense of artistry, viewing each game as a chance to create a unique masterpiece on the sixty-four squares.

MBTI Chess Players
INTJ Bobby Fischer, Vladimir Kramnik
ENTJ Garry Kasparov
INTP Magnus Carlsen, Viswanathan Anand
ISTJ Anatoly Karpov
ENTP Hikaru Nakamura, Peter Svidler
ENFP Mikhail Tal, Nigel Short
ISFJ Sergey Karjakin
INFJ Levon Aronian, Wesley So
ISTP Maxime Vachier-Lagrave
ESTP Viktor Korchnoi, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov
ISFP Boris Spassky
ENFJ Veselin Topalov, Alexandra Kosteniuk
ESTJ Vladimir Putin
INFP Vassily Ivanchuk, Fabiano Caruana
ESTJ Vladimir Putin

Of course, these correlations between MBTI types and chess personalities are not set in stone. People are complex, and their experiences and choices are influenced by numerous factors. However, delving into the realm of MBTI adds an extra layer of fascination to the already captivating world of chess. As I continue to study the game and play against opponents of all types, I'm reminded that chess truly is a reflection of the diverse range of human thought and expression.

Ready to unlock the mysteries of personality types? Imagine having the power to decipher someone's MBTI type with uncanny accuracy. It's not magic – it's a skill you can master! Whether you're a people-watcher, a team leader, or just curious about the hidden layers of human behavior, this guide will empower you to uncover those four little letters that shape our personalities. Ready to become a personality detective? Click here to uncover the secrets of guessing someone's MBTI type.

Efforts have been made to get the information as accurate and updated as possible. If you found any incorrect information with credible source, please send it via the contact us form
Author: Sky Hoon
Website Builder. He has a Bachelor Degree in Computer Science and loved to use technology to solve the world's issue, one at a time. For now, trying to blog for a living.
Read His Personal Blog
Back to blog