The Best Chess Of 2015

The Best Chess Of 2015

| 35 | Fun & Trivia

As the calendar turns to 2016, it's time to look back at the best chess of the past year.

The year 2015 was a big one for chess. With the creation of the Grand Chess Tour, the chess world had an exciting new super-tournament series to follow all year. 

The world chess champion, Magnus Carlsen, confirmed his place at the top by winning the first Grand Chess Tour. The world computer champion, Komodo, dominated the entire year and destroyed its closest rival in the strongest chess match in history. 

The upcoming year is shaping up to be a great one, too. Aside from the usual important chess events, 2016 will include the much-awaited Candidates Tournament and the 2016 world chess championship match.

One of the contenders for that world championship, Hikaru Nakamura, will kick off his 2016 with a four-game odds match against the computer champion Komodo, January 6 and 7 live on 

With so much to look forward to, 2016 is an exciting year for chess fans. But let's remember the best chess of 2015 one more time.

The ChessCenter video team put together a special episode to hand out awards for the best (and worst) in chess this past year.

Watch the full video below for some awards not covered in this article, including the shocking upset of the year when someone beat Magnus Carlsen, and an incredible blunder of the year played by Hikaru Nakamura. 

Let us know your own chess awards in the comments and on Facebook.




2015 ChessCenter Awards: Full Video



Up-and-Coming Player of the Year

Winner: Wei Yi

Wei Yi surged into the chess elite this year, emerging as a contender for super tournaments and even world championships for decades to come. The 16-year-old is by far the youngest player in the top 40, with the 19-year-old Richard Rapport joining Yi as the only other teenager on the rating leaderboard. 

Honorable mention: GM Jeffery Xiong 


Honorable mention: GM Sam Sevian

Chess Engine of the Year

Winner: Komodo 

The terrible lizard Komodo remained atop the big three computer ratings lists -- the CCRL, the IPON, and the CEGT -- for all of 2015, and it has expanded its lead over Stockfish, its closest competitor. 

The engine also won a series of material odds matches against human titled players, and will take on its strongest human opponent ever in Hikaru Nakamura this week. 

Komodo's biggest achievement, of course, was its sublime performance in the 2015 TCEC Superfinal vs Stockfish, the strongest chess match ever staged. 

The virtual dragon kicked off the Superfinal with a dominating win:

Komodo cruised through the rest of the marathon 100-game match, winning the championship by a score of 53.5–46.5. 

Honorable mention: Stockfish 

Game of the Year

Winner: David Navara vs Radoslaw Wojtaszek

You won't believe the fireworks in this battle. Make sure to watch the full ChessCenter video for analysis of the game by IM Daniel Rensch and GM Robert Hess. 

Honorable mention: Wei Yi vs Lazaro Bruzon Batista 

GM Hess and IM Rensch also analyze this brilliancy in ChessCenter. 


Move of the Year

Winner: Khismatullin-Eljanov, 44. Kg1 


GM Denis Khismatullin wowed even the best chess players in the world with this incredible king move. Both Maxime-Vachier Lagrave and Hikaru Nakamura cited the move as their favorite of the year, and GM Robert Hess calls the move a "stunner" in his ChessCenter analysis. 

Honorable mention: Jonny vs Komodo, 145. Na8



Online Event of the Year

Winner: Nakamura-MVL Death Match

The strongest Death Match broke all kinds of records, from highest combined ratings to most online viewers ever. The result, though, was a strong win for the American number-one, Hikaru Nakamura, who adds to his resume for the best blitz and bullet chess player in history. 

Honorable mention: FIDE World Online Women's Blitz Championship

The players playing on laptops. | Photo Alina l'Ami.

Honorable mention: First Streamers Challenge



Tournament of the Year

Winner: 2015 Sinquefield Cup

In the 2015 ChessCenter awards, GM Robert Hess mentions that all five games in the first round of this super-tournament were decisive, an extreme rarity at this level of chess. Be sure to watch the full ChessCenter episode to see GM Hess's impeccable form in giant bullet chess.

Honorable mention: 2015 World Cup




Player of the Year

Winner: Magnus Carlsen

Magnus Carlsen had an eventful year on and off the chessboard. After losing ratings points in bunches, experts questioned whether "something was not right" with Magnus. But the world champion rebounded in a big way to close out the year, winning the London Chess Classic and with it the first Grand Chess Tour. For good measure, Carlsen ended the year by taking down the Qatar Masters Open, and starred as himself in two fun commercials.  

Honorable mention: Hikaru Nakamura

What were your favorite chess moments in 2015?

Let us know in the comments. 

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