How Sashenka Kosteniuk got elected

3/24/2002 – As you probably know we conducted a Player of the Year poll in February, and it was surprisingly won by not by Kasparov, Kramnik or Ponomariov, but by 17-year-old Alexandra Kosteniuk (the exact results are here). Today we give you some excerpts from the messages we received. They give you a good insight into the grass-roots feelings in the chess world. More

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A selection of messages received by us

Our Player of the Year poll lasted from February 1 to 28, and you were asked to nominate up to five players – male, female, electronic – who had impressed you most during the year 2001 (or more precisely, during the period between October 8, 2000, when the BGN match in London started and including the FIDE world championships in December 2000 up to January 22, 2002). We also asked you to include brief comments on the top nominations.

In the 28 days we received a large number of entries – close to 2000. One of the things we have discovered is that it is inordinately difficult to scan through this volume of messages with any hope of objectively selecting the most interesting. We had to use a more random approach, pressing the Page Down key and stopping only when something caught our eye.

Well, here are the excerpts from the emails we received on the polling account. They represent, we believe, a pretty good overview of the grass-roots sentiments out there in what we refer to as the chess world. It is a lot of text to read, but very entertaining. Even the editor who had to put it all together had a lot of fun doing so. Here are a few teasers taken from the messages below to get you started:

  • Alexandra Kosteniuk is a go getter. Friendly, and was kind enough to respond to my email that I sent her. That means she has integrity and is respectable. – Derek McDonald.
  • "My choice is Vishy Anand. Who can be a better man to represent chess? And that coming from a person who lives in a country that is not friendly to India is a true compliment to Vishy, the person and the chess player." – Tahir Khan, Pakistan.
  • "5. Almira Lautier-Skripchenko – for being more glamorous than A. Kosteniuk." – Menno Boendermaker.
  • "4. Lennox Lewis – he promised me not to hurt me if I nominate him. 5. Fritz 7 – less than a man, but more than a chess player." – Mike Hood.
  • "5. Adams: for masterfully luring everyone into a false sense of security, before he finally strikes for the top – this year please Mickey! – Jamie Morgan.
  • "1. Chessbase staff: for having such a wonderful sense of humour about chess and the bizarre universe that surrounds it. Are you really Germans??" – Carlos Pappier
  • I vote for Alexandra Kosteniuk. Her plays are perfect and spectacular. Besides she is just a charming girl. Well, I am also her future husband – inshAllah. – Ali Adnan Shah, Kohat, Pakistan.

The winner of the special prize – a personalised and signed copy Alexandra Kosteniuk's book "How I became a grandmaster at age 14" – will be announced next week.

Links:

A selection of the messages we received

Derek Jones: 1st Kasparov. Because a man of such colossal ego was able to be so (relatively) generous in defeat against Kramnik, and because he showed that his spirit had not been crushed by winning everything in sight in the following year, and re-inforcing his claim to be considered the greatest ever chess player. 2nd Kramnik. For defeating Kasparov and for the unusual achievment of avoiding defeat in a world championship match. 3rd Ponomariov. For a rapid advance in the rating lists and for winning the FIDE title at such an early age. It was not his fault that the FIDE system is imperfect and his victory was a considerable achievement even if the most unsatisfactory gain of a title since Euwe's victory over Alekhine in 1935. 4th Korchnoi. For some excellent results by a 70-year old, whose chess development was completed long before the use of computers in chess preparation, and long before opening theory became so important. 5th Kosteniuk. For her performance in the FIDE women's championship as a 17 year old. Anyway, after visiting her website and observing her photos and her poetry, how could anyone fail to include her as a candidate for an award!?

Antonio Angel Gil Suarez, Sevilla, (Spain): Garry Kasparov. He keeps winning and bashing all the other players in fair head-to-head contest. Ah, and keeps saying aloud that FIDE is wrong!

Anheru: 1. Pocket Fritz – at last PDA users can play against a strong pocket player. 2. Garry Kasparov, for being the strongest player. 3. Fritz 7, for its funny comments and it's strong game. 4. Alexandra Kosteniuk, for such a mix of beauty and brain – perfect girlfriend for a regular chess player! 5. Vishy Anand, for living in Spain (he had a very interesting interview in a Spanish sports radio program) and being such a good guy.

Gary Roe: I vote for Kasparov. What he has done for chess is extraordinary, not to mention his writing on chess, which ranks best with the best (Alekhine, Tal, Bronstein) _

Angus Wang, Chess in China: 1. Garry Kasparov, who struggles against new time controls, cares about condition of chess and furthermore, the tournament record shows shows he is actually at the top of the top. 2. Fritz 7 – miracles happen when Fritz is on the board. This nomination is simply for turning Bahrain qualification match upside down in the end. 3. Alexander Kosteniuk, pretty good playing on the FIDE championship.

Nestor: 1. Garry Kasparov. I saw him in Prague (simultan game vs. Czech team). He is so incredible actor, player, really best chessman. 2. Fritz 7. Really best program. I have it . I can play again human on internet . It is prefect. 3. Judith Polgar. Very nice woman, very magnificent chessplayer.

Derek Grimmell: My nominations for creature of the year are: 1. Anand. For being a very, very nice person, showing one need not be a spoiled brat, a loathsome beast, or a lunatic to be great at chess. If our game is to prosper in the future, I believe it will need to require top players to behave like Anand rather than like, well, like so many of the others. 2. Shirov. For his continued willingness to risk defeat in the pursuit of victory. For keeping chess a competition rather than a logic problem... 5. Fischer. For vowing never to play regular chess again, and thereby sparing us the embarrassment of being exposed once again to his vicious
idiocy.

Antenor Pelegrino Filho, Brazil: 1. Alexandra Kosteniuk: Play very good and in a very interesting style in 2001, has charisma and would be a very good ambassador to promote chess and ChessBase! 2. Viktor Kortchnoi: A legend, who shows at 70 years old so much energy by playing. 3. Ruslan Ponomariov: Was able to win the FIDE world championship, without having won a big tournament before.

Lautaro Fernandez, Montreal, Canada: 1. Kramnik – deepest understanding of chess in the world. 2. Kasparov – the strongest practical player. 3. Ivanchuk – absolute genious. 4. Kosteniuk – sweety. 5. Grischuk – future world champion.

Gabriel Podrepsek: 1. Vladimir Kramnik – for beating the unbeatable Kasparov, 2. Garry Kasparov – for recovering marvellously after the London tournament, 3. Viktor Korchnoi – for playing some very cool tournaments last year, 4. Robert J. Fischer – for still being Nr. 3 of the FIDE-list (although inactive), 5. Fritz7 – for not being a (wo)man but still playing very good chess

Mike Hood: 1. Alexandra Kosteniuk – the perfect (wo)man to bring glamour back into chess, and a role model for teenage girls. 2. Gary Kasparov – after all these years still the world's most successful chess player. 3. Vassily Ivanchuk – cheated out of the FIDE world championship by the new time controls. 4. Lennox Lewis – he promised me not to hurt me if I nominate him. 5. Fritz 7 – less than a man, but more than a chess player

Paul Fielding: 1. Korchnoi – He is the "Energizer Bunny" – takes a licking and keeps on kicking. 2. Kasparov – although I am still mad at him for punting the computer match deliberately, hoping to get some more of those IBM buckaroos. 3. Alexandra Kosteniuk -almost pulling off winning the Championship. The clothes thing is a bit bizarre – but so what, it looked like fun. 4. Shirov – gets my pity vote. Psyched out by the big boys, but still plays some very interesting chess. Losers of the Year: 1. Kramnik – his quote should be: "I believe everything BGN .... ah no Einstein tells me, but where's my million dollars?" A lot of his games are high quality technical boredom. 2. FIDE – stupid time controls.

Ilia Malishev, Nizhny Novgorod, Russia: I vote for Alexandra Kosteniuk. I am Russian. I did not know about Alexandra before World Chess Championship 2001. And I am very glad that there is such young talented player in Russian

Menno Boendermaker, Netherlands: 1. V. Kramnik – for being the strongest player on earth, 2. Ponomariov – for being the youngest world champion, 3. Zhu Chen – for being the woman's world champion, 4. R. Fischer – for being the one and only living legend, 5. Almira Lautier-Skripchenko – for being more glamorous than A. Kosteniuk.

Tahir Khan, Pakistan: my choice is Vishy Anand. Who can be a better man to represent chess? And that coming from a person who lives in a country that is not friendly to India is a true compliment to Vishy, the person and the chess player.

Fernando Hermes Lusardo, Brazil: I vote for Alexandra Kosteniuk. She is charming and her trajectory at the world chess championship make her the number one of the year 2001. Her plays are like poems, beauty!

Roger Østebø, Norway: 1. Garry Kasparov, so far above all other players, so I feel it would be wrong to mention other names. 2. None. 3. None. 4. None. 5. None. 6. Perhaps Ponomariov.

Jamie Morgan: 1. Kasparov: especially for that final round in Astana., for fighting back so impressively after losing to Kramnik. 2. Kramnik: for a fantastic performance vs Kaspy. 3. Ponomariov: after all, he did actually win it. 4. Kosteniuk: almost... 5. Adams: for masterfully luring everyone into a false sense of security, before he finally strikes for the top (this year please Mickey!)

Aurelien Jolly, France: Too bad you have not asked the reader's worst five list. It would have given something like this for me (in decreasing order): 1. Fischer, for saying what he says about everything. 2. Ponomariov, for thinking seriously that he is the world champ and that this means anything with the new time control. 3. Karpov, because of the Botvinnik Mem withdrawal and losing consequently to an unknown chess player in the Fide matches after having said all that stuff about "bringing the title back to Mother Russia". 4. Ivanchuk, because he lost to Ponomariov despite being a much stronger player. 5. Anand, for not winning the Fide thingy and losing to Invanchuk.

Arifur Rahman, ERA: 1. Vishy Anand, to encourage him still go for chess at 100% momentum. What the heck, I admit, I'm his fan. 2. Vassily Ivanchuk, for being such a mystery-man in chess. 3. Evgeny Bareev, for being so open and for giving interesting interviews. 4. Vladimir Kramnik, for achieving such favourable conditions for his match against Fritz. 5. Garry Kasparov, for having the guts to criticize other top players. Please do not sue me for not being partial or fair.

Ryan Hubert: 1. Vladimir Kramnik, for beating the almighty chess god Garry Kasparov, 2. Ruslan Ponomariov, for winning the Fide World Championship and keeping his head about him as nearly every big name in the chess world deemed him undeserving.

John Pasco, USA: Ms. Kosteniuk, an excellent ambassador for the game, something that so many others are not. Her drive to the Championship was exceptional and deserving of much more attention than it has received. Her book, if you have not seen it, is original in content and outlook. I hope she remains in the world of chess to inspire my 5-year-old daughter.

Jason C. Bokar: 1. Viktor Korchnoi. Has been, and always will be, one of the most brilliant, fascinating, determined people in chess. A great mind and great personality. I met him in St. Petersburg, Russia and he played a blitz game with me!

Stephen J. Goodman: I nominate Victor Korchnoi. Winning a strong grandmaster tournament at the age of 70, against players forty and fifty years his junior, is an amazing accomplishment – a triumph not only of talent, but of character.

Steffen Breitfelder: #1 Garry Kasparov, because he is still the best player; #2 Wladimir Kramnik, because he gives a much better example of how the world champion should behave, #3 Judit Polgar, because she shows that woman play chess as well as men, #4 Victor Kortschnoi, because he is the man who probably played top level chess for the longest period, #5 Fritz 6, because Fritz really helped me to analyse why I lost most of my games (I still keep loosing though).

Elaine Ferreira Froes: Ruslan Ponomariov. The new FIDE World Chess Champion is shaking the scene. All others players are speaking about him is nonsense, he only get what they didn't – winning the title in his teens. Go Pono!

Sam Kim: 1. Ruslan Ponomariov, for actually winning the Fide tournament against the best of the best chessplayer in the world at a such young age; 2. Garry Kasparov, for being the best chess player ever; 3. Deep Fritz6b, for being the strongest chess program all time, and for being a teacher, friend, and partner for many chessplayers.

Takeshi Sakata: 1. Gary Kasparov: the best player of all time and all years. 2. Vladimir Kramnik: the only man to win Kasparov in a match. 3. Chess Tiger 14: because of the title in Argentina. 4. Fritz 7: because the new interface and strong engine. 5. Shredder 6: because the strong positional engine and endgame abilities.

Jonas Bergfalk, Sweden: 1. Garry Kasparov. He's the greatest player of all time, and will probably top lists like this until he retires. 2. Viktor Korchnoi. His book on the 1978 world championship was probably the only book I read all through, and there's very little chess in it! 3. Vishy Anand. Nominated for showing that people know how to play chess in other parts of the world than the former Soviet Union. 4. Kirsan Illumzhinov. This guy has single-handedly ruined all credibility left in Fide. That might be an accomplishment to some people. 5. Alexandra Kosteniuk. Hopefully some day a woman will be the best human player in the world. Unfortunately, when that happens, a computer will be the very best player.

Anil Bahulayan: 1. Garry Kasparov! Being an Indian myself I want to nominate my idol Vishy Anand, but there's no denying Garry has been more impressive this year. He's clearly the strongest player of our times and deserves this recognition. 2. Vishy Anand! I can't resist it anymore. He's a terrific person and one of the greatest chess talents to grace our times. 3. Viktor Korchnoi. He's a great character and gives me and millions of my peers hope of achieving a Master title one day, no matter how long it might take. 4. Ruslan Ponomariov. He might not be a household name as yet. I am very eager to watch his play against the top chess players of the world in Linares. 5. Fritz 7! Cause I love the Fritz style of play. It's a wonderful analysis partner, a great product of the ChessBase company. Its been a plaeasure playing against it and having it help me prepare against my fellow human opponents.

Tsiouras Athanasios: 1. GM Raymond Keene, whose BGN or Einstein enterprises have kept Kramnik out of every major tournament (bar the Botvinnik Memorial) because of a ghost-match with Fritz 7. 2. Fritz 7, for the above reason. 3. GM Garry Kasparov, for winning virtually everything since losing his WC title. 4. GM Loek Van Vely, for being a great player, who only needs his morale boosted. 5. GM Alexander Grischuk, for being the best player of the world in his age (better than Ponomariov!).

Giordano Bergamo: 1. Vlad Kramnik, the one and true champ. If the champ needs Fide, then not only Morphy, but also Steinitz and Lasker weren't champs. 2. Garry Kasparov – he fully deserves rematch. 3. Alexandra Kosteniuk – I appreciate her . 4. Fritz 7 – I am running a 18 engines tournament without any book; it hasn't lost a game well into the second half of it. 5. Hiarcs – my favourite engine, which I hope you'll upgrade soon. Come, Hiarcs 8!!!!

Fam Spoor: 1. Gary Kasparov – Still the Nr. one player, what more can I say? 2. Viktor Korchnoi – I wonder if Gary will be as strong at this age. 3. Ruslan Ponomariov – Has shown us that he is one of the best new comers, at this age World Champion! 4. Vish Anand – Has always bin a favourite of mine. Even my wife loves him although she doesn't understand chess. 5. Fritz 7 – I use Fritz for such a long time now, and every time a new version brings new joy to my chess life.

Bill Leonard: Evgeny Bareev. I liked his funny and candid interview in ChessBase Magazine # 82.

Noam Guttman, Israel: #1 – Garri Kasparov. The reason for this choice is simply the way he plays, and not the results. Many other new and young players play tactical and efficient chess, but Kasparov plays beautiful chess, which I believe is more important.

Rakesh Rai: 1. Vaselin Topalov, for turning in a spectacular performance at Dortmund and the Fide championships (although he ultimately lost gallantly fighting to Shirov); 2. Kirsan Illumzhinov, for successfully organizing the Fide championships yet again, in spite of criticisms left, right and centre; 3. Vishy Anand, for treating Super GMs (Morozevich, Topalov, Kramnik) on par with tourists (Touzane) when it comes to losing a chess game; 4. Bobby Fischer, for his anti-US remarks and being in the news without much chess; 5. Alexandra Kosteniuk, for bringing glamour into women's chess.

Michael Stevenson, Christchurch New Zealand: My man of the year is GM Tony Kosten because he kindly answered my queries and made me think "outside the square", and to play with a wee bit of panache!

Riccardo Carrozzo: 1. the new Fide time control, for its overwhelming effect of the latest Fide wcc and on next events; 2. to the memory of the quality of play (recently killed by the new Fide time control) for having brought joy and pleasure to chess fans all over the world; 3. "Big K", Garry Kasparov, simply the best, always in search of new and harder challenges (contrary to what most top players do, isn't it mister "little k" Kramnik?); 4. Robert J Fischer, quite obviously a mentally disturbed person, who has anyway conceived Fischer Random Chess, a way to restore the importance of playing well against exhaustive preparation.

Rodion Voronov, Germany: Alexandra Kosteniuk. I like her, she is a beautiful woman, but the most important thing is her soul, she always plays with her soul!

Ali Adnan Shah, Kohat, Pakistan: I vote for Alexandra Kosteniuk. Her plays are perfect and spectacular. Besides she is just a charming girl. Well, I am also her future husband – inshAllah.

Francisco Barbosa: GM Shirov – because he is the only one playing a kind of chess that gives it a future. He is the one who brings emotion and agressiveness to chess.

Konstantin Akimov, Moscow: I place my vote for Alexandra Kosteniuk. I'm vote for Alexandra because I am Russian

Jeroen Frijling, Netherlands: I vote for Alexandra Kosteniuk because she will be the new Judith Polgar in the future. And of course because of her performance at the world championship where she almost became world champion at the age of 17. And she is one of the kindest girls in the chess circuit.

Michael A. Obajuluwa, USA: 1. Garry Kasparov: For being my hero in chess who despite the London loss kept going and never quit. He is like the Michael Jordan of chess. 2. Alexandra Kostenuik: For being basically hot both as a lady and as a chessplayer. She has really strong determination and intelligence to match. 3. Vishy Anand: For being one of the coolest dudes that ever played chess. A man of principle even when things are not looking good.

Dr Kenneth W. Regan, USA: 1. Kasparov, 2. Zhu Chen, 3. Ponomarionov, 4. Morozevich, 5. Korchnoi. And no, I have not made any deals with the Russian, Chinese, and Ukrainian judges...

Alex Sukhorukov, Novosibirsk, Russia: I'm vote for Alexandra because shi is the best!

Cory Nimetz: 1. Alexandra Kosteniuk – for having one of the best personalities of young chess players today. She is not only an inspiration to young girls, but to all chess players and fans involved in the game! 2. There is no one else close!

Ruslan Miranovich, Minsk Belarus: I vote for Alexandra Kosteniuk. It is the charming girl, picture of beauty. Per the young years she has achieved very much much. Her manner of game is original and is delightful.

Oleg Stukalov, Head of Scanning Probe Microscopy Group, Laboratory of Semiconductors Physics, Institute of Solid State and Semiconductors Physics, National Academy of Sciences of Belarus: Alexandra Kosteniuk represents my ideal of women – very clever, very artistic, very charming girl.

Ashwani Tiwari, Jalandhar India: 1. Vladimir Kramnik: For his simple yet elegant style of chess. He is the non official worldchampion but there is no doubt that he is one of the strongest player and his victory over Kasparov confirms that. 2. Garry Kasparov: For his robust personality irrespective of what goes around him in chess circles. Excellent and unmatchable opening preparation even in this age of computers. He has been the strongest player since many years. 3. Vishwanathan Anand: Though officialy dethroned in the world championship yet is still admired by people no less than Garry Kasparov and Vladmir Kramnik. No doubt that he is very strong player with a humble touch. 4. Victor Korchnoi: He has given chess all his life and is the oldest living chess legend. He has shown the world that age is no bar in this game and every chess players admires and learns from his games. 5. Judit Polgar: For her competitive spirit. And setting such a high standard for women chess which have not been touched till date by any other women. Her contribution in the women chess world is invaluable.

Heraldo de Barros, Sao Paulo: 1. Gary Kasparov – Do I really need to say something? 2. Vladimir Krammik – Examples like this make me think who is the master and who is student. 3. Ruslan Ponomariov – He is the World Champion after all. 4. Alexandra Kosteniuk – Her glamour gallery is so glamorous. 5. Fritz 7 – Because it defeat me! I really expect that I have to put it in an upper position next year!

Chidi Oko: My nominations are: 1. Garry Kasparov – For defeating the Czec national team, for a 3000+ performance in the EuroAsian championships in Batumi. For a stellar year in chess which saw him winning everything that chess has to offer. 2. Ruslan Ponomariov – For winning the Fide championships while still in his teens. For having a greater understanding of the new Fide time controls. 3. Fritz7 – For coming from an almost impossible position to win the right to play against the world champion. For helping humans play against other humans on the internet. For generally being the best chess companion to man. 4. Deep Junior – For providing Fritz7 with a very capable opponent. For winning virtually every other tournament entered for since the defeat by Fritz. For having what has been described as perhaps the most human style of play. 5. Stefan Meyer-Kahlen – For significantly improving Shredder, a program that literally has a stranglehold on the single processor category of any computer chess championship. Most notably for introducing the "Triple Brain" program structure. For programming Pocket Fritz, a program that actually secured a draw against GM Peter Leko

Natalia Bazarnaya, Kiev: I vote for Alexandra Kosteniuk. She is very nice girl, also she is clever and intellegent. She plays perfect.

Jens Kasten, Stuttgart Germany: Alexandra Kosteniuk. She is my favorit that's why I vote for her. I hope she give us the same performances on her chess in the next saison .

Cameron Jackson, USA: Alexandra Kosteniuk. She is a very nice girl, I have had the chance to talk to her on icc; she is also a brilliant chess player and a good looking one at that. Please vote her in for the prize.
Andrew Stone, Auckland NZ: 1. Gary Kasparov, for being one of the aggressive player of all time. 2. Alexandra Kosteniuk, for being a hot looking chick. 3. Rudy Giuliani, for actually holding the match between Anad and Kasparov on September 11th in the WTC. 4. Vladimir Kramnik, for doing just about nothing after he won the world title. 5. Judit Polgar, for being the top rated woman in the world

Jose Perez, Basel Switzerland: 1. Ruslan Ponomariov: Fide World Champion, 2nd European Tournament, 1st Team, World Champion. 2. Garry Kasparov: Winning every tournament after London. 3. Pocket Fritz: For making the reading of chess books so much easier. 4. Alexander Grischuk: For getting used to high levels tournaments and always playing for 1st place. 2nd in Corus, 1st in Aeroflot. 5. Radjabov: For very good performances at his age. Good tournament in Naidorf Memorial. Was disqualified from the Fide world championship for absurd reasons.

Terry Wilson, USA: I nominate Alexandra Kosteniuk for being an extremely attractive young lady who can play chess with the best of them.

Piet Levrier, Heist-op-den-Berg, Belgium: My vote goes to Alexandra Kosteniuk. She is almost as good in chess as she is good-looking.

Hon Wong, Malaysia: I vote for Alexandra Kosteniuk. She made the greatest impact in the women scenes and her play was impressive in the world woman championship. For a teenager to achieve such feat, her achievement was more admirable. She has also attained IWM, IM, and WGM title at very early age and show signs of becoming a awesome player one day.

Ashwin Sewambar: 1. Anatoly Karpov, cuz he's the best; 2. Alexei Shirov, cuz he's the weirdest; 3. Vishwanathan Anand, cuz he's the nicest; 4. Alexander Grischuk, cuz he's the most talented; 5. Jan Timman, cuz he's the most drunk.

Paul McKeown, England: 1=. Zhu Chen and Alexandra Kosteniuk – for playing real chess, when so many others only pretend; 3. Viktor Korchnoi – Indomitable, indestructable, even Old Man Time struggles to get the better of Grandmaster Korchnoi. 4. Alexander Morozevich – A Grandmaster who actually dares to play interesting "non-elite" openings against the elite – and then Sasha even has the temerity to win.

Gurbuz Aslan: 1. Ruslan Ponomariov: Why? Are you kidding? 2. Chess Tiger: Certificated GM performance and anti-human playing style. 3. Garry Kasparov: Because he is Garry. 4. Victor Kochnoi: Forever young. 5. Alexandra Kosteniuk: Another shining star.

Bas van Nunen, Alkmaar, Netherlands: 1. Bobby Fisher, for keeping his brilliance and his less popular statements to himself. 2. Garry Kasparov, for being the best. 3. Kramnik, for trying to be. 4. Alexandra Kosteniuk, for bringing the populistic desires of the world back into chess. 5. Willem Prins, a 60-year old picking up chess this year at my club.

Carlos Pappier, Buenos Aires Argentina: 1. Chessbase staff: for having such a wonderful sense of humour about chess and the bizarre universe that surrounds it (are you really German??). 2. Pocket Fritz: for keeping me playing at the mall while my wife shop. For letting me win a game now and then. 3. Genna Sosonko: for writing so well about the golden age of chess. 4. Viktor Korchnoi: for finally writing his game collection. 5. Garry Kasparov: oh, by the way, he was the stronger player last year, and the millenium before that.

Jonathan Hains, USA: 1. Ruslan Ponomariov – For his accomplishments over the course of the year at such a young age. 2 – Pocket Fritz – For being every player's secret weapon. 3. Victor Korchnoi – For his indomitable competitive spirit, love for the game, and overall excellence as a player.

Derek McDonald, Texay USA: I would like to cast my vote for this young woman, Alexandra Kosteniuk. She is a go getter. Friendly, and was kind enough to respond to my email that I sent her. That means she has integrity and is respectable. Thank you very much! God bless you all!

Davut Uysal, Turkey: I vote for Alexandra Kosteniuk. I vote for her although, I don't know how she plays actually. It's just because a friend wanted me to vote for her.

Harm de Oude, Rotterdam Holland: I vote for Alexandra Kosteniuk. Her play at the Fide WC was such, that I think there can be no other winner then her.

A . Siva Prasad, Dehra Dun India: I find Alexandra Kosteniuk to be the best amongst the present generation . Her skill is second to none. Her brilliant performance at world chess championship best speaks volumes about her. Her sheer grit and determination at such a young age should be appreciated.
Blake Gibson, USA: # 1 Viktor Korchnoi: The way this man plays, and plays, and plays, is amazing! His skills at confusing his young opponents and his untiring energy. He deserves it! # 2 Pocket Fritz: An amazing breakthrough! If only you could add text notes on it. # 3 Ruslan Ponomariov: Mature play in the World Championship. But the main reason is that he sat beside Kasparov at the opening ceremony in Linares!! Way to go Ruslan! # 4 Anatoly Karpov: For his play in the current tournaments. And his desire to still play after he is past his prime. # 5 Vassily Ivanchuk: Poor guy! He deserves some type of reward.

Eng Liong: 1. Gari Kasparov: Innovative, brilliant and has everything to be the highest Elo rated player and also the best (share with Fischer – in my opinion) in the chess history by combining his talent and computer technology. 2. Robert J Fischer: Still the best (with Kasparov) in the chess history but his eccentric ruin his career. His skill is also incredibly strong and almost perfect. 3. Judit Polgar: She is also one of the exception in the chess history. She is the only woman who constantly compete in the man tournament and has kept her Elo rating over 2600 over a decade. 4. Fritz 7: It signs the chess world as a threat of human race in chess. Anyway it is a revolutionary in artificial intelligent, a killing machine in chess. 5. Vladimir Kramnik: He is a current world champion. Cool, solid and stabil is his character in chess. He is the only player can beat Kasparov in world championship and has the best head to head score against him.

Ling Kay Soon, Singapore: 1.Gary Kasparov – Although been beaten by Kramnik at Brain Games, he is still been consider the Number 1 in the world. He have been here since 1985 until 2001 (16 years), and it makes sense he will still reign and rules for another 10 years. 2. Kramnik – He is Number 2 and most probably will take over Kasparov seat. He is everyone favourite player. 3.Vishy Anand – For he modest and honest charather. Although he didn't have the Kasparov busniess mind, he have the eastern fighthing and strugling mind. 4. Korchnoi – Always a true fighter. Never backed out. And still played at highest level although he is 70+ age. 5. Kosteniuk – Young and pretty, and will be the next Judith Polgar.

Pradeep Kumar Nag, New Delhi: 1. Garry Kasparov – For showing the world what stuff a true and legendary chess champion is made of. 2.Vishwanathan Anand – For keeping his cool even after his disasterous Dortmund And also for his phoenix-like escape artistry in many crucial matches. For showing us top level chess is not only grim faced determined nervous war between two individuals: 3. Alexander Grischuk – For reviving that romanticism in chess. 4. Alexandra Kosteniuk – For mixing beauty with brain and make chess popular to those pitiful individuals who does not know chess. 5. Victor Korchnoi – For showing chess prowess does not necessarily decline with age.

Laurent Chardon: 1. Ruslan Ponomariov, for winning the championship coming from (almost) nowhere. 2. The Mayor of Linares, for really putting the pressure on Ruslan and forcing him to play the tournament.

Frédéric Duwez, France: 1- Kasparov [The greatest: he clearly won all in 2001!] 2/- Korchno´ [The youngest: listen to him!] 3/- Kosteniuk [So cute... So strong...] 4/- Ponomariov [Was he lucky? People said that about Mickael Tal] 5/- Kramnik [the greatest after the greatest; his flegm].

Till Wippermann, Germany: 1. My dad, for still believing that the King's Gambit is the only playable opening. For sponsoring a talentless chess dude for over a decade. And for loving the game deeply, though understanding not much of it. 2. Close behind: Victor Kortschnoj, for showing that success is neither a matter of age nor courtesy. For saying what he thinks whether it's appropriate or not. And for also loving the game deeply, though understanding very much of it! 3. Nigel Short, for discovering Bobby Fischer on ICC. For publishing this unique experience. For causing lots of chess articles in the world press. And for finding out that he was just taken in by some humorous computer kid. 4. Garry Kasparov, for being the only man who crushes national teams all alone. For opposing Kirsan Ilyumzhinov constantly. And, of course, for some of the best chess ever played on this planet. 5. Almira Skripchenko-Lautier, for being married to a cool guy. For playing interesting chess and making nice ChessBase reports. Well, honestly: for just looking pretty damn good!!

Ty Lytton, USA: 1. Fritz7 – for internet chess. 2. Kasparov- for helping chess.net. 3. Kosteniuk- proving chess player are provocative. 4. Kramnik – providing hope for under dogs. 5. Anand- besides more obvious things- cool name.

Keith Seng Mun Lee, Melborne: 1. Chess Tiger, 2. Vassily Ivanchuk, 3. Garry Kasparov. Comments: Chess Tiger wins by default, since I believe the Player of theYear should win for good performance rather than news-worthy bad performance. Of the humans, Kasparov's unbroken tournament success cannot make one overlook his title loss. Kramnik hardly played, Anand bombed out spectacularly in Dortmund, and Ponomariov's temper tantrums in Linares overshadow his play. Of the programs, only one has really performed brilliantly against humans in this time period. Ivanchuk gets a runners-up nomination for completely unintentionally exposing the shorter time controls for the disaster they are, with his collapses in the FIDE final in won positions.

Ben Stonehouse, Australia: 1. Garry Kasparov – For not knowing who Ponomariov is "if he sat next to him", and having the guts to blame it on Pono's unknown status rather than his ageing memory. For remaining at the top of the chess world, despite being without an official championship title. 2. Alexandra Kosteniuk – For being clearly the best looking chess played this side of – well, whatever – and for having the same first name as my girlfriend. Oh, and for that no-holds-barred drawless final. Far more exciting than the men's final!


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