Best of 2016 - Female Player of the Year

by ChessBase
1/3/2017 – In the first voting about the highlights of 2016 we asked for the player of the year. In the second voting we ask for the "Female Player of the Year 2016". A lot of players stood out through their play and their successes in 2016 but which player left the deepest impression on you? Have a look at our list of candidates and choose your female player of the year 2016!

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To vote, please log in with your ChessBase Account. The result will be published after the last of the five votings. Here are our candidates for the female player of the year 2016 (in alphabetical order). 

Harika Dronavalli

World Ranking January 2016: 12
Elo January 2016: 2511

World Ranking January 2017: 7
Elo January 2017: 2539

Harika's chess year 2016 began with the strong open in Gibraltar in which she won against Nigel Short and drew against Fressinet, Bruzon and Rapport. Later in the year she won the Women's Grand Prix tournament in Chengdu and at the Isle of Man Masters she managed to beat Women's World Champion Hou Yifan.

Valentina Gunina

World Ranking January 2016: 17
Elo January 2016: 2496

World Ranking January 2017: 11
Elo January 2017: 2524


A lot of women players have an uncompromising style, but Valentina Gunina is particularly uncompromising. Sink or swim! She won the Women's Grand Prix tournament in Batumi and scored 8.0/10 at the Chess Olympiad in Baku, winning gold for the best individual result on board two. Gunina finished 2016 by winning the "London Chess Classic Super Rapid Play" with 9.0/10, ahead of many top grandmasters.


Hou Yifan

World Ranking January 2016: 1
Elo January 2016: 2673

World Ranking January 2017: 1
Elo January 2017: 2651

Ever since Judit Polgar retired from tournament chess, Hou Yifan has been the top women player and has led the women's ranking list by a clear margin. She started 2016 by playing in group A of the Tata Steel tournament, scoring 5.0/13. In March she played against Women's World Champion Mariya Muzychuk for the title and won convincingly. In 2016 Hou Yifan played a number of strong tournaments and mainly competed against male grandmasters but suffered slight setbacks. Her last event 2016 was a rapid match against Vladimir Kramnik in Medias, Romania. Hou Yifan lost clearly but won twice against the former World Champion.

Ju Wenjun

World Ranking January 2016: 5
Elo January 2016: 2548

World Ranking January 2017: 2
Elo January 2017: 2583

Ju Wenjun is currently number two on the women's ranking list. In 2016 she won the Grand Prix tournaments in Tehran and in Khanty-Mansiysk, which helped her to win the Grand Prix series 2015/2016 and to become challenger of the Women's K.o.-World Champion who still has to be established.

Sarasadat Khademalsharieh

World Ranking January 2016: 70
Elo January 2016: 2392

World Ranking January 2017: 28
Elo January 2017: 2452

Sarasadat Khademalsharieh was the newcomer in the Grand Prix series and surprised with a couple of strong performances. In Tehran she finished second, in Khanty-Mansiysk third. At the Women's Rapid World Championship at the end of the year she finished fourth. On the Fide World Ranking list for girls the Iranian is currently number three.


Alexandra Kosteniuk

World Ranking January 2016: 4
Elo January 2016: 2550

World Ranking January 2017: 5
Elo January 2017: 2549

For years former Women's World Champion Alexandra Kosteniuk has been a constant in chess, as one of the top women players and as an ambassador for the game. At the Women Grand Prix in Batumi she finished second, in Khanty-Mansiysk she shared third place, but at the Russian Championships she finished first to become Russian Champion 2016.

Anna Muzychuk

World Ranking January 2016: 6
Elo January 2016: 2537

World Ranking January 2017: 3
Elo January 2017: 2558

Anna Muzychuk, the older of the two Muzychuk sisters, made headlines at the end of the year, when she won both the Women's Rapid and the Women's Blitz World Championships in Doha. But her chess year 2016 began with the open in Gibraltar where she defeated grandmasters Fressinet and Salem. She shared third at the Grand Prix tournaments in Batumi and Chengdu, and at the Chess Olympiad in Baku she did not lose a single game and achieved an Elo performance of almost 2630.


Mariya Muzychuk

World Ranking January 2016: 3
Elo January 2016: 2554

World Ranking January 2017: 6
Elo January 2017: 2546

Mariya Muzychuk started the year 2016 as Women's World Champion but lost the title to Hou Yifan. In 2016 Mariya Muzychuk was not as successful as in 2015 but remained in the top ten and is currently number six in the world.


Elisabeth Pähtz

World Ranking January 2016: 22
Elo January 2016: 2478

World Ranking January 2017: 21
Elo January 2017: 2468

For years Elisabeth Pähtz has been Germany's number one and she is also one of the best German players ever. As ambassador of chess she travels all over the world to the game. At the European Championship 2016 Pähtz was always in the top and in the end finished sixth.


Anna Ushenina

World Ranking January 2016: 44
Elo January 2016: 2434

World Ranking January 2017: 40
Elo January 2017: 2450

Anna Ushenina, former Women's World Champion, this year also became European Women's Champion. The Ukrainian also celebrated a number of other successes this year but winning the European Championship was her biggest success.

Photos by Alina l'Ami and Pascal Simon

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