Who was the player of the year?

by André Schulz
1/7/2018 – At the end of our survey of 2017, we will be voting for the "Player of the Year 2017". We picked ten players who stood out over the past 12 months, excelling in one way or another. Choose your player of the year in our poll.

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Choose the "player of the year"

Many players have performed fantastically during the year. Of course you always look first and foremost at the top players in the world. In our pre-selection for the player of the year 2017, we have not lost sight of the best of the best, but also considered newcomers and climbers. See if one of your favorites is also there, and vote for him (or her)!


Wei Yi

Wei Yi is from Yancheng, China, where he was born on June 2nd, 1999. In 2010 he became U12 Youth World Champion. In 2013, he attracted a lot of attention when, at the age of 14, he threw Ian Nepomniachtchi and then Alexej Shirov out of the FIDE World Cup in Tromso, Norway.

At the Junior World Cup 2014, he was U20 Vice World Champion and then set off on a rocket-like climb to the top of the world rankings. In 2015 he won the B tournament in Wijk aan Zee and participated in 2016 for the first time in the A tournament (finishing seventh). In 2017 he was invited again and finished fifth. Wei Yi won the Chinese national championship in 2015, 2016 and 2017. At 16, he was the youngest player ever to reach an Elo rating of 2700. He is No. 1 in the U20 World Ranking List and No. 23 in the World Ranking List.

Wei Yi

Wei Yi | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Richard Rapport

Richard Rapport was born on March 25th, 1996 in Szombathely, Hungary. At age four, he learned chess from his father. In order to improve his grades in mathematics, he began to study chess more intensively. From 2006 he was heavily promoted and in the same year he won the European Championship U10. At the age of 13 years and eleven months he was awarded the grandmaster title, replacing Peter Leko as the youngest Hungarian grandmaster of all time.

Rapport is one of the most original players in the world and often surprises with many unusual ideas and experiments early in the opening. Up until December 2016 Rapport was the best junior player in the world, and with an Elo rating of 2700, he is currently number 42 in the world rankings. 

Richard Rapport

Richard Rapport | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Praggnanandhaa R

Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa, nickname 'Pragg', is one of several Indian prodigies. Born on August 10th, 2005 in Chennai, the 12-year-old is currently number 45 in the Junior World Ranking with Elo 2515 and is hunting for his third GM norm, which, if he succeeds, would make him the youngest grandmaster of all time. Praggnanandhaa R. is undoubtedly one to watch in the future.


Praggnanandhaa R | Photo: Alina l'Ami

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov

Azeri GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov is one of the newcomers of the year. Although he has always belonged to the world's top, but he has made significant strides in the last twelve months. He is currently number three in the world ranking list with an Elo rating of 2804. Mamedyarov was born on April 12th, 1985 in Sumqayit,  Azerbaijan. Together with his colleagues Teimour Radjabov and Vugar Gashimov, who died prematurely in 2014, Mamedyarov was one of the "miracle children" from the country, who played on the Azeri national team at the 2000 Chess Olympiad as a 15-year-old and struck fear into the hearts of established grandmasters from other countries. Mamedyarov will play in the Candidates Tournament in Berlin and could well be the next challenger of Magnus Carlsen.

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov | Photo: Alina l'Ami

Hou Yifan

Hou Yifan is also nominated in the Female player of the year poll, but ChessBase Magazine editors believe that the best female chess player in the world is also one of the best players of the year. In her tournament victory at the Chess Festival Biel she left behind several strong male grandmasters and showed her deep understanding of chess. In protest against the conditions of the Women's World Cup, she has said goodbye to the Women's World Championship cycle and only wants to play against the best competition she can. Recently, she was awarded a prestigious Rhodes scholarship to Oxford University, where she will begin studying next Fall, a move which will likely require a scaling back of her competitive aspirations.

Hou Yifan

Hou Yifan | Photo: Pascal Simon

Vladimir Fedoseev

Vladimir Fedoseev, born on February 16th, 1995 in St. Petersburg in Russia, is a member of the upcoming Russian generation of world-class players. In this year's World Cup, he advanced to the quarter-finals, where he was beaten by Wesley So. In 2015, Fedoseev had taken part in the World Cup for the first time, but was eliminated in the second round against Alexander Grischuk. Fedoseev won the 2017 Aeroflot Open and qualified to the GM tournament in Dortmund, where he finished second, ahead of Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Vladimir Kramnik.

As early as 2016 Fedoseev made a strong run at the Russian championship and complained afterwards about agreed games of his opponents. In 2017, he dominated the Russian Championships for a long time, but was caught at the end and wound up in third place. Then just weeks later at the Rapid World Championship in Riyadh, he narrowly missed the victory, losing a tiebreak to Viswanathan Anand. So, Fedoseev was often second this year, but he will not be the "eternal runner-up" for sure.

Vladimir Fedoseev

Vladimir Fedoseev | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Ding Liren

Ding Liren, born on October 24th, 1992, was U10 and U12 World Champion in 2003 and 2004 and has won the Chinese National Championship three times. With the Chinese team, he won Gold at the 2014 Chess Olympiad in Tromso and at the World Team Championship in 2015.

In the 2017 World Cup he made it to the final and qualified for the Candidates Tournament 2018 in Berlin, despite losing to Levon Aronian. Ding is currently the best Chinese chess player and the first Chinese to play for the World Chess Championship. His recent game against Bai Jinshi is already considered by many chess fans to be one of the finest in chess history.

Ding Liren

Ding Liren | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Magnus Carlsen

Magnus Carlsen is by far the best chess player in the world and arguably the best ever. Chess became a sport with the Norwegian, and the 16th World Champion has rediscovered the art of the endgame.

This year, Carlsen shone especially at the Isle of Man Open and was also the best player on the Grand Chess Tour. At the end of the year, Carlsen added the World Championship title in blitz chess in Riyadh to his laurels, and finished fifth at the World Rapid Championship. In all three disciplines — classical chess, rapid chess and lightning chess — Carlsen is currently the number one in the world rankings. In all his tournaments he fights for the tournament victory, provides for tension, entertainment and brilliant chess moments. 

Magnus Carlsen

Magnus Carlsen on a visit to ChessBase in November | Photo: Pascal Simon

Levon Aronian

For many years, Levon Aronian was the number two in the world, always on the way to the top. Then he fell back a bit in 2014. But with brilliant results in 2017, Levon Aronian has come back to "his" old place. The Armenian won the Norway Chess tournament, the Grenke Chess Classic in Baden-Baden, the World Cup and the Grand Prix in Palma de Mallorca. He will also be present at the Candidates Tournament in Berlin. Maybe this time, a shot at the World Championship will be in reach.

Levon Aronian

Levon Aronian | Photo: Pascal Simon

Viswanathan Anand

Viswanathan Anand celebrated his 48th birthday on December 11th, 2017. Almost 30 years ago, the fast-paced player from Chennai appeared in Europe and the international tournament scene and quickly became a regular in top chess, having already become the youngest Indian champion of all times in 1986. In 1995, Anand played against World Champion Kasparov for the world title, and in 1999 against FIDE World Champion Karpov. Both times he narrowly failed. But in 2000 Anand became FIDE World Champion in a knockout tournament held in New Delhi, India, and Tehran, Iran, and in 2007 he also earned the undisputed World Champion title in classical chess. He defended his title in matches against Vladimir Kramnik in 2008, Veselin Topalov in 2010, and Boris Gelfand in 2012, before losing to Magnus Carlsen in 2013.

Although he is no longer World Champion in classical chess, Anand can still beat every player in the world — including his successor — on a good day, as seen at the Blitz and Rapid Chess World Championships in Riyadh at the end of the year, where Anand took the World Champion title in rapid chess. In his homeland, Anand made chess a popular sport. He is the first World Champion from India, but is unlikely to be the last.

Viswanathan Anand

Viswanathan Anand | Photo: Pascal Simon

Other 2017 "best of" polls

André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.


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tonate tonate 1/9/2018 08:44
rohuegel rohuegel 1/8/2018 08:11
Aronian! What a year!
maxharmonist maxharmonist 1/8/2018 07:11
Well, Ivanchuk won the year before at the same age, but I wouldn’t rank him as the player of the year for 2016...
Catholic_Church Catholic_Church 1/8/2018 03:19
I did not see AlphaZero in above list...
ulyssesganesh ulyssesganesh 1/8/2018 02:22
anand has found his mojo again! come on vishy ....2018 is yours!!!!
albitex albitex 1/8/2018 02:00
This are all super players, and make a great 2017, but Anand have win to 48 years old the Wch rapid, and for this he deserves the title.
King Black King Black 1/8/2018 12:32
Aronian by far!
melante melante 1/8/2018 08:54
Aronian for President! I mean... World Champion! :)
ctchess ctchess 1/8/2018 04:25
You can say Carlsen is still clearly the best player, but "by far the best" is not supported by his current 23 point lead in the live ratings list.
frankieheng frankieheng 1/8/2018 01:34
KrushonIrina KrushonIrina 1/7/2018 10:32
Come on, it's Aronian.
kandydat1969 kandydat1969 1/7/2018 08:32
levon Aronian best
maimonides maimonides 1/7/2018 08:21
Lev Aronian is for me the best player of 2017
saurabh19 saurabh19 1/7/2018 05:49
Aronian, without any doubt.
geraldsky geraldsky 1/7/2018 05:09
Aronian is the best choice
kenneth calitri kenneth calitri 1/7/2018 05:04
Lev Aronian gets my vote.
turok turok 1/7/2018 04:46
why didnt nalamura play in blitz rapid championships
Desfluorano Desfluorano 1/7/2018 04:20
Magnus is a good player ... but he is a bad loser ...
YmmitNaahais YmmitNaahais 1/7/2018 01:26
2017 is for Aronian for sure.
ricardoalves ricardoalves 1/7/2018 11:52
Anand or Aronion!