Of the ten players who made it to our shortlist because of their outstanding performances in 2016 Wesley So was your "Player of the Year 2016". So started 2016 as number ten in the world, at the end of the year he was number four - and is one of the few players with a 2800+ rating. So had an outstanding performance at the Chess Olympiad 2016 in Baku where he won gold with the American team, he won the Sinquefield and the London Chess Classic and that helped him to win the Grand Chess Tour.
At the start of 2016 Hou Yifan played in the A-Group of the Tata Steel Tournament in Wijk aan Zee. Hou Yifan was the only woman in a strong field with several players from the absolute top and she achieved a respectable result. A few weeks later Hou Yifan regained the title of Women's World Champion which she had lost because she had refused to take part in the last K.o.-Women's World Championship. Hou Yifan is the reigning Women's World Champion, number one on the Women's World Ranking List and for you she is also "Female Player of the Year 2016".
An impressive performance by the World Champion: after a quiet opening Carlsen suddenly developed strong pressure on the kingside and outplays Tomashevsky tactically and strategically.
Carlsen's second Peter Heine Nielsen annotated the game for the ChessBase Magazine:
The World Champion also won the endgame competition. Against Vladimir Kramnik in Stavanger 2016 Carlsen played a textbook game: after an early exchange of queens in a well-known line of the Queen's Gambit Declined he demonstrated how to exploit weak squares (f5!) and what dominating pieces are about. More than 50% of all voters thought that this was the "Endgame of the Year".
Mihail Marin annotated the game for the ChessBase Magazine:
Most players would be happy if they had the chance for a spectacular queen sacrifice that mates the opponent who is busy to drum up counterplay against your king. These players would be even happier if they found such a move with little time left on the clock, and if the queen sacrifice ended a difficult match in which they sometimes seemed to be close to losing. In general it is difficult to think of a more spectacular end of a World Championship match. No wonder, Carlsen's 50.Qh6+ in game four of the Rapid Playoff of the World Championship match against Sergey Karjakin was the move of the year 2016 for most people.
Translation: Johannes Fischer