Best of 2015: Summary

by ChessBase
1/11/2016 – After asking you to vote for the "Best of 2015", we now want to show you the results. Daniel King dedicated his latest Power Play Show to the poll and presented the winners. In the following article you can see if there were any surprises or if all polls ended as you expected. Have a look at the winners.

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Daniel King's "Best of 2015" show

In his "Power Play Show" from last week English grandmaster and popular commentator Daniel King presented the results of your vote. The show is now in the archives, but if you are a premium member you can watch it here.


Magnus Carlsen: the World Champion from Norway is the world's number 1
and winner of the Grand Chess Tour 2015. He had an uneven year,
scoring bad results in the Norway Chess tournament and at the European Team Championship
in Reykjavik, but ended the year on a high note by winning
the London Chess Classic and the Qatar Open. 

The following table from the next issue of our ChessBase Magazine (CBM 170) shows the "Top Ranking 2015", that is, the average of the Elo-performances the world's best players achieved in 2015. Despite his surprisingly poor performances at the Norway Chess Tournament and the European Team Championship Magnus Carlsen still had the best performance of all players in 2015. On average he performed better than any other player in the world and is the only player with an average performance of more than 2800.

(Only classical games were considered. To make it to the list the players needed to have played a minimum of three top tournaments and 25 games in 2015.)


Hou Yifan: the former Women's World Champion from China is the world's number 1 female player.
She played (and hold her own) against the top elite in Wijk aan Zee, at the Dortmund Sparkassen
tournament and the World Cup. She is steadily heading towards the 2700 barrier. Next year she will face
Mariya Muzychuk and play for the title of Women's World Champion.

The vote for the "Best female player 2015" was clearly won by Hou Yifan, with Mariya Muzychuk coming second. In March 2016 the two will play a match for the World Championship. Judging from their results in 2015 Hou Yifan is favorite to win this match.


To find out which opening the top players liked best (or at least played most often) we created a database with all classical games played by players with an Elo of 2500+ in 2015. In no less than 86 games the Berlin was played. Emil Sutovsky, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Alexander Grischuk played it more than four times with white, Magnus Carlsen, Anish Giri and Yuri Kryvoruchko used it regularly with black. Most often (in 49 of the 86 games) White decided to continue with 9.h3, and now Black tried a number of different moves. The most popular were 9...Ke8, 9...h5, 9...h6 and 9...Bd7. However, White still seems to have found no weapon against the Berlin and we are curious what the top players with White will come up with in 2016. (If you like, you can replay or download all 86 Berlin games.)


For our readers, who decided to join the vote, Navara's king march against Wojtaszek is the "Best Game of 2015". The brilliant attacking game Chinese prodigy Wei Yi played against Lazaro Bruzon and Wesley So's defensive queen sacrifice against Ding Liren also attracted a lot of supporters. During the poll a lively discussion about the merits of the ten games ensued - and indeed, all ten games were superb. We can only hope that the best games of 2016 will be as entertaining as the best games of 2015.


So-Vachier-Lagrave was voted as best endgame of 2015. With superb technique Vachier-Lagrave converted an endgame in which he had knight and two pawns and So had four pawns (all six pawns on the kingside) into a win. Have a look:


For feedback, proposals and discussions please use the comments section.

Pictures by Amruta Mokal

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