Who voted for whom, and why?
[Edited and updated translation of a German version] Early January 2016 is the time to look back on 2015, also regarding chess. I will focus on “best player” and skip the rest: best game, best endgame, highlights and lowlights, … . Many people, experts and others (titled and untitled chess players) seem to agree who should and will get the Chess Oscar, once again. Only one person seems to disagree, saying – in English more clearly than in German – “I want to make a certain point”. From #2 onwards people disagree – players are mentioned or not, and ranked quite differently.
Chronologically: (For me) Emil Sutovsky was the first one to publish his “vision of the Chess Oscar 2015” on Facebook. Chess24 ‘recycled’ his list, which provoked discussions and eventually six more lists. More or less concurrently two other experts published their lists: Stefan Löffler – in German here, in English here, and Sergey Shipov – Russian version here, English translation also at chess24. This piece is inspired by the discussion at chess24, including my own contributions – but there each comment is limited to 2000 characters, here I can mention everything and more in one article. My own opinion is one of many, and turned out to be surprisingly “average” or “mainstream”.
Really a new era in chess?
This article (or rather column/opinion piece) was published in German on April 25th, the translated version is modified here and there as additional information became available. A press conference in St. Louis had been introduced as “biggest announcement in professional international chess since 1988”. “New era in chess” is from chess24 [the English version has been extensively updated and the title was apparently changed – but the hyperlink reflects the initial title]. They added a question mark, so do I. What is it all about? The new, well not really new concept is that some existing tournaments work together under the name “Chess Tour”. Earlier the name ‘Golden League’ circulated. What else is new? They agreed that players like Gelfand, Svidler and Naiditsch (this name was for a German audience, fill in other names as you wish) will NOT be invited – only the very best (plus one wildcard) are welcome. They have lots of money and spend it – on players that are already rich or at least affluent. Last but not least: Kasparov (in a secondary role also Short) play a chess political role. Disclaimer at the start: not everything that follows is absolutely seriously meant, sometimes I tend to be ironic or sarcastic.