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Which chessplayer impressed you most in 2015?

Last week’s question was: “Which chess engine is best?” Komodo seemed in the lead all week, but a late surge gave the win to Stockfish. As the count shows, these two engines dominated the field.



As the year draws to a close, it is natural to look back. So my question this week is: Which chessplayer impressed you most in 2015?

Maybe that’s an easy one for you: Magnus Carlsen is World Champion and World Number 1. But he didn’t have a great year, by his standards. So maybe for you it is the (almost) unbeatable Anish Giri. Or perhaps World Cup winner Sergey Karjakin, or runner-up Peter Svidler, who so nearly won. Maybe you are impressed by Veselin Topalov reaching World Number 2 and hitting a peak of 2816. Or possibly the player who caught your eye was Wei Yi: at 16 he is already in the Top 30. Or someone else entirely?

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  1. pawnfury
    December 22nd, 2015 at 04:58 | #1

    for me it’s Giri who impressed me.

  2. Seth
    December 22nd, 2015 at 05:20 | #2

    An odd list of candidates.

    I went with – Other – Nakamura

    Except for his 0.5/3 finish in the Grand Chess Tour, I thought he was the best/most improved player/most consistent player in 2015.

    I would put Giri at #2 or maybe in a tie.

    I don’t understand why Carlsen and Topalov are options, as Carlsen (while winning some events and barely winning the Grand Chess Tour) dropped 60+ rating points or so while Topalov seemingly sat on his rating for most of the year, began to sink at the midpoint of the Grand Chess Tour, and finished in sole last place in London. Not really impressive!

    Karjakin I can understand, but Svidler not so much. I am not sure what else he accomplished except finishing #2 in the World Cup.

    I could see Kramnik getting some votes as well, as he has quietly snuck back up the rating list.

    Only my meaningless opinions, though! 🙂

  3. kieran
    December 22nd, 2015 at 08:01 | #3

    My vote goes to Giri who has steadily move to world no 2. I like his openings and witty remarks!

  4. Ray
    December 22nd, 2015 at 09:06 | #4

    I also vote for Giri, mainly because I’m a chauvinist.

  5. Lars
    December 22nd, 2015 at 09:35 | #5

    I went for Karjakin because of events like Karjakin-China and the world cup.

  6. chessmayhem
    December 22nd, 2015 at 10:03 | #6

    After London I’m fed up with these super tournaments. Earlier this year I was already following the lesser gods. And one that stood out for his tantalizing chess is Denis Khismatullin. Often on the receiving end, but a highly risky and imaginative player.
    His wins against Eljanov and Svidler spring to mind.

    The visual excitement of his games remind me of why I like chess. And motivate me to work on my own game.

  7. chessmayhem
    December 22nd, 2015 at 10:11 | #7

    I must add, that I’m also positively surprised with Giri’s performance in Qatar so far. He seems to be the only super GM who demonstrates that there actually is a huge gap that divides super GM’s with the mortal ones.

  8. Tim S
    December 22nd, 2015 at 10:16 | #8

    I can understand why someone might vote Carlsen as the best player of the year (I wouldn’t personally) but not the most impressive. His level is noticeably lower than previous years so by his exalted standards it’s underwhelming.

    From the elite Giri and Nakamura have impressed me the most by consistantly giving top draw performances. Kramnik deserves a mention too. He was being written off by many after a couple of bad results but has successfully silenced his critics again for a while at least.

  9. Thomas
    December 22nd, 2015 at 10:50 | #9

    Michael Adams for the greatest achievement of the year:
    A win with White in the Berlin (great game against Aronian).

  10. James
    December 22nd, 2015 at 14:40 | #10

    For me it’s Giri followed by Aronian. Giri has stormed to rank 2 and deserved to win the GCT based on overall performance. I think the current Candidates tournament will limit his chances to face Carlsen, he would do better under the old knockout style tournament due to his solid style.

  11. Jacob Aagaard
    December 22nd, 2015 at 14:58 | #11

    Leading the Russian team to a rare win at the European Teams…

  12. December 22nd, 2015 at 18:05 | #12

    Can I answer Komodo for this poll too? 🙂

  13. Chris
    December 22nd, 2015 at 19:03 | #13

    What about a poll how many QC books do you have? That might be interesting (if it has not been done before).

  14. Mephibosheth
    December 23rd, 2015 at 01:27 | #14

    Eljanov, absolutely Eljanov!
    It’s such a pity that he didn’t make it to the candidates!

  15. Jupp53
    December 24th, 2015 at 10:16 | #15

    Wei Yi. Great games and his youth.

  16. December 24th, 2015 at 17:55 | #16

    Magnus Carlsen – still human 🙂

  17. trispios
    December 25th, 2015 at 14:30 | #17

    Giri. Before I didn’t like his character, but I think that now he has become more humble (at least seems so).

  18. TonyRo
    December 27th, 2015 at 00:39 | #18

    I voted for other, intending Kramnik, but Giri is a close second. It’s really impressive how little he loses, and he’s had some great results lately.

    December 27th, 2015 at 09:36 | #19

    Hi Tony 🙂

    My favorite is also Kramnik 🙂

    I started to study your “Killer Sicilian”! I’m very pleased with the book…

    Many thanks for Kalashnikov and have a happy and prosperous New 2016 🙂

  20. TonyRo
    December 27th, 2015 at 17:27 | #20

    Never get sick of hearing it – thanks for the kind words! Happy holidays! 😀

  21. John Johnson
    December 27th, 2015 at 19:14 | #21

    Yes, Tony ,the Kalashnikov book is a fine effort. Now comes the consequence of a good first book. When will the second one done?

  22. Thomas
    December 27th, 2015 at 20:26 | #22

    And what will the second one be about? The Katyusha?

  23. December 28th, 2015 at 00:24 | #23

    @TonyRo, JohnJohnson,Thomas, I think everyone is eagerly waiting for Tony to finish off Bryan Paulsen’s 1 Nf3 book. Tony, any news? ETA? Waiting and anticipating ……
    Am going to look closely at your Kalashnikov in the coming holidays ……
    Can I get you to produce a similar one-volume repertoire book on a Black Defence to 1 d4 to match the Kalashnikov book? I know you have been playing the KID. Perhaps a KID book? on similar level to your Kalashnikov book?

  24. TonyRo
    December 28th, 2015 at 03:51 | #24

    This blog is not really the right place for questions like this, but I’ll be brief, and urge you in the future to just shoot me a PM @ ChessPub, same handle.

    Bad news – I had to drop off the “Play 1.Nf3” project. I thought finishing it up would be quite a bit quicker than it was. Bryan had a very large majority done, but even so, once I decided to put my name on something, I felt the need to check everything, etc. I simply didn’t think I could finish it up in as timely a matter as Bryan deserved. As far as a second book, I think a companion 1.d4 repertoire is a good idea, but I doubt it will be the KID. I grow weary of playing it, and you can see from Kotronias’ excellent works that it’s not small task either! There are a few Black defenses to 1.d4 that haven’t been covered adequately in a while that I’m fond of, but even if I ever get around to it, it likely won’t be for a while. I have a wedding to plan and my own chess improvement to focus on.

  25. The Doctor
    December 28th, 2015 at 07:48 | #25


    What 1.d4 book would you want to write about if not the KID?

  26. John Johnson
    December 28th, 2015 at 12:33 | #26

    I do apologize for sort of dragging the thread off topic.

  27. Larsen_fan
    December 28th, 2015 at 19:29 | #27

    There can be only one! Carlsen is the player who impressed me the most. Maybe not his best year but still he holds the position not only as World champion but also as dominant player and as the one they are all afraid of. Will Carlsen be at his best? is what everyone ask before a tournament.

  28. k.r.
    December 28th, 2015 at 19:53 | #28

    X on Larsen_fan comment.

  29. Bill
    December 28th, 2015 at 22:44 | #29

    Gaoiz Nigalidze had some pretty astounding results.

  30. Ray
    December 29th, 2015 at 14:12 | #30

    Is Korchnoi still playing?

  31. Larsen_fan
    December 29th, 2015 at 17:42 | #31

    Not his best year but….
    1st place in Wijk
    1st place in Grenke
    1st place in Shamkir
    catastrophe in Norway
    2nd place in Sinquefield (shared)
    won the World Rapid Championship
    1st in London
    1 st in Quatar
    would be an ok year for most people i guess.


  32. Lorenzo Razzano
    December 29th, 2015 at 19:15 | #32

    Without no doubt Wei Yi.

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