Best of 2016: the results of your voting

1/11/2017 – We asked, you voted: who was player of the year 2016, who was female player of 2016, what game was the best of 2016 and what move? And which endgame did the chess fans like best? Here are the results.

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Player of the Year: Wesley So

Wesley So

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.

Female Player of the Year: Hou Yifan

Hou Yifan

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".

Game of the Year: Carlsen vs Tomashevsky, Tata Steel Tournament, Wijk aan Zee 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:


Endgame of the Year: Carlsen vs Kramnik, Norway Chess Tournament, Stavanger 2016

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:


Move of the Year: 50.Qh6!! from Carlsen vs Karjakin, World Championship match, New York 2016

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

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chessdude57 chessdude57 1/25/2017 03:13
Definitely between Magnus and Wesley but all those mentioning Magnus rapid and blitz chess well....cross that me rapid and blitz is just like flipping a coin. Oh yeah Magnus winning the WCC by rapid meh no thanks though he is the deserving winner since Karjakin just tied Magnus after 12 games and that is the way it should be. The challenger should be the aggressor and take the crown away. If it is tied after the classic games then the champion keeps the title.
Bjørn-Erik Glenn Bjørn-Erik Glenn 1/17/2017 01:00
Wesley So was obviously the best player of 2016. In the tournaments both him and Carlsen took part the results was greatly in his favour:
Tata Steel: Carlsen 1st - So 4th (2 points behind)
GCT Leuven: Carlsen 1st - So 2nd (2,5 points behind
GTC Paris: Carlsen 2nd - So 4th (5 points behind Carlsen)
Bilbao Carlsen 1st So 3rd (1,5 points behind in the classical way of countin or a full 6 points in the 3 point scoring system).
It all makes totaly sense.
yesenadam yesenadam 1/15/2017 04:31
"Game of the year, from the strange choice of 10 we provided." Well, maybe make these votes free next time?

joachimus: "taking it all into considerations he should be rewarded." Aw c'mon, CB made it much clearer this year - vote for the person who has personally impressed you most in 2016, didn't it say? (Something like that.) Not sure what you and others are talking about. It's just asking us to report a fact about ourselves. Then they add up the votes. You seem to be trying to reach a politically correct decision or something. Or trying to impose your version of what "Player of the Year" means on others.
joachimus joachimus 1/13/2017 09:15
@Angelo Pardi I understand the reason why Wesley So was chosen, however it would be good idea to give all voters a clear definition "Player of the Year". If we would use voting based on how good player was, player performing vs expected performance than Carlsen would have to perform at 3200/3300 level to stun everyone out there. And he is just Magnus, exteremely strong, even if not at his best form (WCC) he still wins most of tournament he plays and Blitz/Rapid is is just cherry on the top. And I want me even commenting his performance in Grandmaster Blitz Battle on, when he easily/convincigly outplayed everyone, including speed chess semi god Nakamura.
Anyway, for me Carlsen is on the best way to become the best player in chess history. Peace.
eyal01 eyal01 1/13/2017 04:11
I also don't think Carlsen - Tomashevsky is worthy of being game of the year in comparison to some other games (e.g., Jobava - Ponomariov), but on the other hand it's not so incomprehensible what can be impressive about it. A very smooth game, with a very nice mix of positional and tactical ideas - the surprising exchange on move 13 to strengthen control of e5, the switch to a direct attack on the K-side after 15...g5, and then another switch to a game of positional domination after the exchanges on moves 21-22.
Keith Arkell Keith Arkell 1/13/2017 06:23
I am a massive Carlsen fan - I absolutely love his style of play, to the extent that I would call myself a (very) poor man's Magnus).

However, while I would certainly agree that Player of the Year was either Magnus or Wesley, I am baffled by the choice of game of the year. I mean, was the winning game even better than this 15+2 rapid game I played against GM Degraeve last night in the Pro Chess League?

[Event "Pro Chess League"]
[Site ""]
[Date "2017.01.11"]
[Round "4"]
[White "Jean-Marc Degraeve 2591"]
[Black "Keith Arkell 2438"]
[Result "0-1"]
[TimeControl "15+2"]
1. e4 {5} c6 {2} 2. d4 {3} d5 {1} 3. e5 {1} c5 {1} 4. dxc5 {7} Nc6 {2} 5. Nf3 {
6} Bg4 {4} 6. Nbd2 {4} e6 {7} 7. h3 {10} Bxf3 {1} 8. Nxf3 {3} Bxc5 {1} 9. Bd3 {
2} Nge7 {5} 10. O-O {9} Ng6 {1} 11. Qe2 {4} O-O {3} 12. c3 {10} Bb6 {3} 13.
Bxg6 {112} fxg6 {8} 14. Be3 {2} Rf5 {15} 15. Rad1 {84} Bxe3 {41} 16. Qxe3 {5}
Qb6 {1} 17. Qe2 {79} Raf8 {5} 18. Rfe1 {23} g5 {13} 19. Rd3 {22} h6 {3} 20. Re3
{2} Rf4 {10} 21. Rd1 {8} a5 {11} 22. Rf1 {48} Qc5 {9} 23. Ne1 {11} Qc4 {9} 24.
Qxc4 {8} Rxc4 {2} 25. Nf3 {59} b5 {17} 26. Rd1 {85} b4 {9} 27. Kf1 {31} a4 {10}
28. cxb4 {66} Rxb4 {13} 29. Rc3 {5} Ne7 {37} 30. Rd2 {46} Ng6 {5} 31. g3 {35}
Rfb8 {10} 32. Rcc2 {9} R4b6 {27} 33. Ke2 {10} h5 {2} 34. Nxg5 {7} Nxe5 {1} 35.
b3 {9} axb3 {3} 36. axb3 {1} Nf7 {3} 37. Nxf7 {24} Kxf7 {1} 38. Rc7+ {14} Kf6 {
5} 39. Rd4 {2} Rb4 {123} 40. Rxb4 {4} Rxb4 {2} 41. Rc3 {0} g5 {19} 42. Kd3 {9}
h4 {3} 43. g4 {16} Ke5 {4} 44. Kc2 {16} Rf4 {5} 45. f3 {14} Rb4 {9} 46. Re3+ {2
} Kf4 {8} 47. Rxe6 {3} Kg3 {1} 48. Re5 {1} Kxh3 {1} 49. Rxg5 {3} Kg2 {9} 50.
Rxd5 {1} h3 {2} 51. Rh5 {2} h2 {1} 52. Kc3 {1} Rf4 {5} 53. Rxh2+ {7} Kxh2 {1}
54. b4 {1} Kg3 {7} 55. g5 {1} Kxf3 {2} 56. g6 {1} Rg4 {3} 57. g7 {5} Rxg7 {7}
58. Kd4 {1} Rg5 {191} 59. Kc4 {2} Ke4 {3} 60. b5 {1} Ke5 {17} 61. Kc5 {2} Ke6+
{1} 62. Kc6 {1} Rg1 {1} 63. b6 {6} Rc1+ {2} 0-1
Maturner Maturner 1/13/2017 05:59
Yeah you have to give 2016 to Wesley So. That blitz game against Kasparov was quite something and he just seemed strong for the whole year.
PFH PFH 1/12/2017 02:40
Carlsen was Player of the Year 2016:
- he kept his Classical World Title
- he tied for First in the Rapid AND Blitz World Championships
- he won Norway
- he remains #1 in the ratings
paulegaevsky paulegaevsky 1/12/2017 02:36
Definitely Wesley So deserved to be the Player of the Year! By winning two Elite Tournaments such as SINQUEFIELD, London Chess Classics and The Grand Chess Tour he is clearly a great talent and the Real Deal.
GregEs GregEs 1/12/2017 01:10
I agree that GM W. So contributed a lot to US chess team, by grabbing the gold on board 3. And also won the GCT for the US flag.
Nostalgiac1972 Nostalgiac1972 1/12/2017 11:29
Absolutely so. Very well-put!
Pionki Pionki 1/12/2017 07:58
50.Qh6!! Really?? The move was so obvious. I didn't quite follow, but it must have been a poor year in chess, if this is the best that was picked.
geraldsky geraldsky 1/12/2017 06:32
I think Carlsen's game against Tomashevsky is not the best game. When you choose a best game it should be in tactics, combinations and sacrifices.
Denix Denix 1/12/2017 04:50
I enjoyed and will long remember Wesley So vs Garry Kasparov Ultimate Blitz Challenge (2016) brilliancy than any of the best games mentioned. Its a pity it was not nominated for voting.
Aighearach Aighearach 1/11/2017 11:57
Magnus can easily have the best games and biggest achievements and not be "player of the year" because "player of the year" implies that the player stood out more than normal. Magnus being the best and being World Champion is the same as last year. It is not a prize you easily repeat until you've fallen from the top and had to climb back up. The "move of the year" being a mate in 2 I cannot explain, however, nor the game of the year being a blunder. Surely beating Kramnik in an endgame qualifies for endgame of the year though, and that one was truly a great game!
Clark Potter Clark Potter 1/11/2017 11:49
JoeCJK, I was wondering the same thing...
Angelo Pardi Angelo Pardi 1/11/2017 10:46
@joachimus : The "Player of the year" award is rather ambiguous : if it means the best player, then Carlsen should have it (again). If it means the player whose performances made the year interesting, the one who impressed everyone, then it is either So or (I think) Karjakin, and Carlsen as a close second/third.
SuperMoverBros SuperMoverBros 1/11/2017 10:45
Wesley did not win player of the year because we wanted a "new face". He just had a MUCH better year.
joachimus joachimus 1/11/2017 09:28
Altough I'm not undermining Wesley achievements in 2016, but still I believe Magnus should earn the title.
I understand that people want to see new faces and freshblood, however Magnus won few strong tournaments, defended WCC and was at the top in rapid/blitz and taking it all into considerations he should be rewarded.
JoeCJK JoeCJK 1/11/2017 08:22
Say... the game of the year feels a bit off to me. Why is this game so great?
Grandmaster Grandmaster 1/11/2017 05:02
I am happy that those victories by Wesley So are well recognised!
He is clearly the best player of the Year 2016