My favourite players and why (no particular order)
The criterion for inclusion on this list is not outstanding over-the-board success (though it helps!) but an attitude or way of playing that surprises and delights. I deliberately include no world champions. My list might change next week! Who are your favourite players?
Michael Basman: Botvinnik was impressed by Basman and tipped him for great things. His championing of off-the-wall openings such as the Grob, limited his progress to IM level -though he became an IM when the title really meant something - but his originality has often led to some absurdly inspired games and made people look anew at what is really important in a position.
Vassily Ivanchuck: A real genius who can beat anyone and has managed to stay at or near the top of the tree for more than two decades. His penchant for coming up with astonishing moves which no other player would even have considered, let alone played, always adds to the excitment of any event in which he appears.
Tony Miles: The first English player to become a FIDE recognised GM and an inspiration and target for the generation of players who emerged in the 1970s. Tony could beat just about anyone on his day, including Karpov, and combined a fresh approach to tactics and strategy with unbending determination.
Ljubomir Ljubojevic: a leading player through-out the 70s and 80s who, again, added something original and unique to chess. Always too inconsistent to reach the very top, but a formidable player on his day.
Judit Polgar: laid rest to the myth that woman could never be as good as men at chess and cut a swathe through the higher echelons of the game, reaching the top 10 at her height. She is also a very inventive and aggressive player.
Jim Plaskett: Not a top rank GM but a GM nonetheless and with a style of play which leads to both brilliant wins and quite a few brilliant losses!
John Nunn: A deep thinker and theorist who is repected by all and was a top 20 player at his most successful. I once found myself playing on the next board down in a rapid play tournament as he marmalised his opponent with his KIngs Indian Defence. Very distracting!