Vote: The player of the year 2019

by ChessBase
12/25/2019 – Another eventful chess year is behind us, with great events and tournaments, impressive personalities and fantastic chess games. Help us choose the player of the year, the female player of the year, the game of the year, the combination of the year and the endgame of the year in our annual ChessBase reader poll. First up: The Player of the Year...

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Who is the player of the year?

For each poll, our editorial team has provided a list of nominees. Even with a panel involved, these are of course a bit subjective. And since we have limited ourselves to five players, undoubtedly some readers may miss their favoured choice. Our shortlist is one of many possible, we know!

The nominees

The order of the players is arbitrary and you can vote below.

Wang Hao

  • Born on August 4, 1989 in Harbin, China
  • Elo rating January 2019: 2714, #32-33 in the world rankings
  • Elo rating December 2019: 2756, #16 in the world rankings

Alongside Ding Liren and Wei Yi, Wang Hao is one of the greatest Chinese talents. He became a grand master at the age of 16 and since then has enjoyed numerous international successes. He won the Al Ain Classic in 2015, the HD Bank Cup in Ho Chi Minh City in 2016 and the Sharjah Masters and the Asian Continental Championships in 2017. But Wang celebrated the high point of his career so far in 2019. In addition to repeating his triumph in Ho Chi Minh City by winning 9th HD Bank Cup, in October, with his victory at the FIDE Grand Swiss tournament on the Isle of Man, perhaps the strongest open tournament of all time, he qualified for the 2020 Candidates Tournament in Yekaterinburg. That makes him the second Chinese player after Ding to make it into this or any Candidates Tournament.

Wang Hao with the Isle of Man win | Photo: John Saunders

Alexander Grischuk

  • Born on October 31, 1983 in Moscow, Russia
  • Elo rating January 2019: 2771, #9 on the world rankings
  • Elo rating December 2019: 2777, #5 in the world rankings

Alexander Grischuk has had a long and very successful career. Among other things, he has already participated in candidates competitions four times (2007, 2011, 2013 and 2018) and was world champion in blitz chess in 2006, 2012 and 2015.

In 2019, Grischuk qualified for his fifth candidates tournament thanks to his success at the Grand Prix tournaments in Moscow, Riga and Hamburg.

Alexander Grischuk at the Grand Prix | Photo: Niki Riga

Magnus Carlsen

  • Born on November 30, 1990 in Tønsberg, Norway
  • Elo rating January 2019: 2835, #1 in the world rankings
  • Elo rating December 2019: 2872, #1 in the world rankings

For Magnus Carlsen, world champion since 2013 and number 1 in the world rankings since July 2011, this year was extremely successful. During the course of the year he played 77 games with classic time control, won 30, and drew 47. So Carlsen not only remained unbeaten in 2019, but in fact he has not lost a single game at the tournament since Biel 2018 when he went down to Shakhriyar Mamedyarov on July 31, 2018. That's 107 classical games in a row!

Carlsen's record in 2019 corresponds to an Elo performance of 2893 and in the first half of the year Carlsen won every classical tournament he played in.

Magnus Carlsen has reasons to smile | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Teimour Radjabov

  • Born on March 12, 1987 in Baku, Azerbaijan
  • Elo rating January 2019: 2757, #14 place in the world rankings
  • Elo rating December 2019: 2765, #10 place in the world rankings

Teimour Radjabov had great success as a teenager. He became grandmaster in March 2001 at the age of 14, which made him the second youngest of all time. In 2003 he caused a sensation when be beat Garry Kasparov in a dramatic game at the Linares tournament.

In 2011 and 2013, Radjabov qualified for the candidates tournament and in November 2012 he reached as high as number 4 in the world rankings. But after his disappointing performance at the 2013 Candidates Tournament in London, Radjabov continued to slide down in the world rankings and, he says, was thinking about ending his chess career.

However, the Azerbaijani made a comeback at the World Cup 2019: he defeated Ding Liren in the final match winning the tournament and thus qualified for the 2020 candidates.

Teimour Radjabov at the World Cup | Photo: Kyrill Merkuryev

Ding Liren

  • Born on October 24th, 1992 in Wenzhou, China
  • Elo rating January 2019: 2813, #4 place in the world rankings
  • Elo rating December 2019: 2801, #3 place in the world rankings

Ding Liren was the first Chinese to qualify for a candidates tournament. In the past few years Ding has established himself among the world elite through consistently good results and strong play. From August 2017 to November 2018, he remained unbeaten in 100 games with a classical time control, and he also celebrated a number of successes in 2019.

In August 2019, Ding won the Sinquefield Cup in St. Louis after beating Carlsen in the tiebreak — the first time that Carlsen lost a tiebreak as the reigning World Champion. In October, Ding finished second in the World Cup for the second time in a row. He lost to Radjabov in the final, but qualified for the 2020 candidates tournament. The Chinese was more successful at the Grand Chess Tour final in London in December: Ding won against Levon Aronian in the semi-finals of the tournament and then against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in the final, which ensured overall victory in the 2019 Grand Chess Tour.

Ding Liren | Photo: Lennart Ootes


Who is your pick for the "Player of the Year 2019"?


Voting ends on 12/31/2019, at 22:00 UTC

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tongbits2012 tongbits2012 12/29/2019 11:52
tongbits2012 tongbits2012 12/29/2019 11:50
Ballstad Ballstad 12/28/2019 10:32
Wang Hao is the sensational Candidate player, if you don't think about the wild card... and Radjabov is the comeback of the year. I thought he never would come back to something like Candidate tournament.
Ballstad Ballstad 12/28/2019 10:30
Magnus Carlsen - since no one can defeat him in Classical games, and since he will be world champion in Rapid and Blitz as well in 2019
lagrigorescu lagrigorescu 12/28/2019 12:01
Better to call it "sensation of the year", which will go to Wang Hao
Serse Serse 12/27/2019 11:13
@saturn23 Well, in this context "player of the year" doesn't mean "best player". It is rather a research/engineering contribution to a field of interest. In the case of Fat Fritz, self-learning ability informed by expert data.
saturn23 saturn23 12/27/2019 01:30
"Player of the year 2019 : Fat Fritz"

No! Fat Fritz did not participate in any official chess engine tournament. It's not even in the top of CCRL 40/40.

Stockfish is still the king. It is number 1 in CCRL 40/40 (by a consistent margin). It destroyed the best neural network chess engine (AllieStein) in the last TCEC. AlphaZero is a myth, in the sense that it beat a handicapped Stockfish in some private matches.
Daniel Miller Daniel Miller 12/27/2019 12:11
Magnus. How does one even go from 20 points better than anyone on the planet to 50 points better than anyone on the planet and 100 points higher than all but 4 or 5 people in one year?
calvinamari calvinamari 12/26/2019 10:39
Silly question. MC
Lilloso Lilloso 12/26/2019 05:00
A very strange selection with T. Radjabov and Wang Hao but without F. Caruana, I. Nepomniachtchi, MVL and W. So !
Serse Serse 12/26/2019 11:26
Player of the year 2018 : Alphazero
Player of the year 2019 : Fat Fritz
Der Konig Der Konig 12/26/2019 07:08
No comment on that Magnus is simply the best
bornforchess007 bornforchess007 12/26/2019 06:40
Orlandipol Orlandipol 12/26/2019 05:48
Magic_Knight Magic_Knight 12/26/2019 03:21
If it weren’t for Carlsen, then definitely Ding Liren.
MJFitch MJFitch 12/25/2019 11:58
World Champ Magnus Carlsen hands down!!!
Alf23 Alf23 12/25/2019 08:50
Carlsen no doubt it, no way, he is at the top.
siddharthjagadeesh siddharthjagadeesh 12/25/2019 08:11
Obviously Carlsen. Anyone who says otherwise was living in a rock for the first six months of 2019
KrushonIrina KrushonIrina 12/25/2019 07:06
Player of the Decade:

Magnus, with no one even close.