November 17, 2010 17:21

And the 2009 Chess Oscar went to... Magnus Carlsen

2009 Chess Oscar went to... Magnus CarlsenMagnus Carlsen won the 2009 Chess Oscar. Yesterday, just before the start of the World Blitz Championship, Carlsen received the trophy. It was the first time that the Norwegian won the prize, which is a result of votes by chess journalists and awarded by Russian chess magazine 64.

The participants of the World Blitz Championships had been asked to come to the playing hall 1.5 hours before the start of the tournament. After speeches by FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, former World Champion Anatoly Karpov and Head of the Supervisory Board of the Russian Chess Federation Arkadij Dvorkovich, suddenly Magnus Carlsen was asked to come on stage. Something he didn't expect.

"I knew that I won it," Carlsen said, "but I thought they would give me the award during the closing ceremony." He received the prize from Mark Glukhovsky, the editor-in-chief of Russian chess magazine 64. The magazine has been coordinating the prize for years. It sends out questionnaires to leading journalists, who then send in their top 10.

2009 Chess Oscar went to... Magnus Carlsen

Magnus Carlsen, honored to receive his first Chess Oscar, with FIDE President Kirsan ilyumzhinov in the background

Carlsen received the trophy, a bronze statuette, and thanked Glukhovsky. "It's an honour to receive a prize witch such a long tradition," Carlsen said.

The prize was first awarded in 1967 to another Scandinavian, the legendary Bent Larsen, who passed away this year aged 75. It was given away uninterrupted until the year 1988, and then it resumed in 1995.

The last two times the Oscar was won by current World Champion Viswanathan Anand. Garry Kasparov holds the record for winning the Oscar 11 times; Anatoly Karpov won it 9 times.

2009 Chess Oscar went to... Magnus Carlsen

Carlsen holding the trophy


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Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers


Bobby Fiske's picture

Congratulation Magnus!

Now go early to bed and crush the bugs tomorrow. Winning the WC Blitz and (eventually) London Classic will secure you another Oscar next year.


BTW: How many Oscars did Kasparov win? -His basement is probably full of those "beautiful" trophies. LOL

reality check's picture

Just for the record, GM Levon Aronian and runner-up, GM Sergey Karjakin, just burst your buddies (Carlsen) bubbel at the WC Blitz in Moskau
Bobby Fiske, we'll see who has the last laugh in London. :)

Bobby Fiske's picture

Yes, congratulations to Aronian.. He deserved to win this year.

London next!

reality check's picture

Many people are still mad at GM Kramnik for denying, the legend in his own mind, GM Kasparov the re-match. Vlady's courageous decision (Sorry Garry, we all know your good, but if you want to contest the World Championship ever again you must first re-qualify) not to give in to Garry's audacious demand was correct and really got the film rolling toward re-unification.
Re-unification has been a success!
Let's hope the bafoons bent on retarding further progress are kept in check, on billboards, in Norway.

Geist's picture

what about the crown?

reality check's picture

They left the clown in the box for fear of disheveling MC's hair shd Kirsan or Karpov rush forward ((photo op) to set it upon his head.

reality check's picture


iLane's picture

Are you sure 2009?? We are going into 2011 soon...
I don't get it. :o

ebutaljib's picture

Admitedly it is strange that the Chess Oscar for year 2009 is given so late, but yes it is for year 2009.

In previous years it was awarded around May. I already thought that Chess Oscar was discontinued (again) when there was no word on it during the whole year.

I still think that Chess Oscar for 2009 should go to Kramnik and not Carlsen. Kramnik had a better string of results throughout the year 2009 than Carlsen (who had a fantastic finish). You can compare their results through 2009 here:

Zacalov's picture

I clicked your link and saw nothing to show that Kramnik's results were better. You seem to forget how groundbreaking Carlsens results were in Nanjing- that shook the entire chess world! And then he topped it off with the World Blitz and then London where he toppled your Kramnik...sorry, 2009 and 2010 have been Carlsens!

gg's picture

Of course, hard to disagree with that.

ebutaljib's picture

As I already explained - when I look at the final ranks I always see Kramnik's name in the 1st or 2nd row. Only once you have to go down to the 4th row.

With Carlsen it is very different - a lot of time you don't find him in forst two rows, specially in the 1st half of 2009.

And this is what matters to me. If you ask me, I would give it to Kramnik.

gg's picture

He played what, three tournaments? Won two without impressing while Carlsen performed 3000 Elo in Nanjing and won other top tournaments like London. And reached #1 when 18 years old. He must have won that vote in a landslide.

ebutaljib's picture


You either can not count or you have a mistaken belief that Chess Oscar is awarded for classical chess only.

Thomas's picture

Of course a known Carlsen fan won't disagree ... . I don't say that Carlsen doesn't deserve the Oscar, and that the voting journalists got it all wrong - but ebutaljib is correct that 2009, like any other year, had 12 months and didn't start with Nanjing in October. If the first half gets full consideration, Aronian (who completely dominated two FIDE GP events) would also be a serious candidate.

IMO, arguments in favor of Carlsen were:
- Nanjing was a stellar performance, and people remember the more recent results more.
- He was/is a rising star who hadn't received the Oscar before, so it was his turn.

But there is no need to minimize Kramnik's results: If Tal Memorial 2009 wasn't impressive, what would be impressive? So while a Carlsen victory is deserved, a "landslide" isn't - BTW are the full results available anywhere? How big was Carlsen's margin, and who were the runner-ups?

gg's picture

"But there is no need to minimize Kramnik’s results: If Tal Memorial 2009 wasn’t impressive, what would be impressive?"

He won it fair and square, but with 0.5 point after being quite lucky against Ponomariov and Gelfand (he was more unlucky this year so it evens out with time). Several other players could just as well have won it in 2009 though. A good result for Kramnik but not something that really stays in the mind like Karpov's Linares 1994 or Carlsen's Nanjing 2009. The same thing with Kramnik's Dortmund. +3 in 10 rounds after +2 against Naiditsch. Good, yes, but not particularly memorable.

Naturally one can count non-classical events if one wants, and then Carlsen had the by far most impressive achievement in 2009 when winning the blitz title with a huge margin.

Jagdish Dube.'s picture
Gilgamesh's picture


Karpov still there!!! That is it. If you want to change things is preferible to be there and not out there!

Kirsan is also a smart guy! He knows that his rival is very important and wants him next to him. This is working.


john's picture

Karpov likes to keep his friends close, and his alien friends closer

Calvin Amari's picture

The Chess Oscar isn't about annualized statistics and Magnus taking off like a rocket in late '09 was unquestionably the most notable development of the year. His subsequent trajectory certainly suggests that, rather than some fluke, this burst quite plausibly was a beacon signaling a new era in chess. Well deserved.

midi's picture

Do we know how the voting went?

Bobby Fiske's picture

Nice photo by the way. Everybody happy and smiling, uniting old and young, candidates, players and presidents. It's a pitty it can't be like that all the time.

"i wish everyday could be like Christmas"


foo's picture

vishy: I would rather keep winning WCC's:)

sundararajan ganesan's picture

actually vishy anand has won the chess oscar for six times! as such, the line " the last two times the oscar was won by the current(!) [have you heard karpov or kasparov described like this?] world champion viswanathan anand" reads dubious!

gg's picture

"actually vishy anand has won the chess oscar for six times!"

And soon he will have won it a seventh time, for 2010 :-)

john's picture

“It’s an honour to receive a prize witch such a long tradition,”

and the World Chess Championship is not worth fighting for?


Z's picture

"If Tal Memorial 2009 wasn’t impressive, what would be impressive?"

Actually, it was even more impressive getting 2nd place, while being very sick, like Carlsen was. When he recovered, he totally crushed the field in Tal Blitz,, with the highest score ever 74%.

Summer 2009, Carlsen finished school and became professional chess player.

ebutaljib's picture

Read again what you wrote and what I wrote.

You said: "Carlsen dominated 2009"
and then I said: "IF someone dominated first 3 quarters..."

I presented all the results that both players played during the whole year 2009. You only pick those who are in favour of your point and disregard the rest.

gg's picture

"Read again what you wrote and what I wrote.
You said: “Carlsen dominated 2009?"

I didn't, but let's say Kramnik dominated 3/4th's of the year and that it was wrong to give Carlsen the Oscar, and finally end this discussion :)

ebutaljib's picture

Oh yes, sorry. It was Bobby Fiske who said it, and my response was to him, but then you challenged what I wrote making an impression that you agree with that.

I still say Kramnik, with Carlsen being my 2nd choice. But it's already decided so it doesn't make any sence to continue the debate.

Now who do you think deserves it for 2010? :)
Notable events in 2010

gg's picture

It's all good :) For 2010 I'd give it to Anand. Carlsen's results have been better on the whole but winning the title match and returning to #1 on the rating list is enough for me.

gg's picture

Carlsen might naturally win it also in 2010, but I'd give it to Anand.

noyb's picture

Vishy should have been awarded the Chess Oscar this year for his win over Topalov in the WC. A great display of championship chess and character overcoming a volcano, Bulgarian organizers, and an opponent using a Super Computer!

gg's picture

For 2010 yes, Carlsen won the Chess Oscar for 2009.

reality check's picture

Of all the Chess Oscar winners Carlsen is by far the least deserving considering all other recipients of the award participated in Candidates Matches or contested World Championships or became World Champion.
Sad that this years panel lowered its standard to accomodate a two-bit celebrity.

Bobby Fiske's picture

Time for you to do a reality check ;-)

Carlsen dominated 2009.

ebutaljib's picture

Carlsen dominated last quarter of 2009. If someone dominated the first 3 quarters then it was Kramnik who was always 1st, except for Amber where he was 2nd behind Aronian. This 2nd place was the only "stain" on Kramnik's record in the first 3/4 of 2009, everything else he has won. OK he didn't play so much, but everywhere he showed up he won. Only then came Carlsen, but Kramnik was right after him in London, and ahead of him in Tal Memorial.

reality check's picture

He only won two significant tournaments in 2009. All I'm saying is, when compared to the previous Chess Oscar winners since 1967 his achievements (up to now) just don't cut the mustard.
Seems to me the panel bought into the hyperbole lock, stock, and barrel and ignored, or overlooked former WC Kramnik's 2009 achievements.

gg's picture

"Oh and when did Carlsen dominate?"

I didn't say that Carlsen dominated the first half of the year. You stated that Kramnik dominated the first three quarters of the year, I just pointed out that it's a generous view to see Kramnik as dominating when he didn't even play for the first half of the year and more. Apart from two rapid events of which he won only one (the by far weaker one, where he only played opponents from Azerbaijan).

There might be a case for saying that Kramnik dominated the third quarter and Carlsen the fourth but none of them dominated the first quarters of the year. That Carlsen won his first games in Nanjing during the third quarter isn't important, and it doesn't matter how the hairs are split, it was just Carlsen's year. It doesn't matter that he had a bad start the first months, what matters is Nanjing Elo 3002 +6 and 18-year old #1 2800+. That is wow factor on a different level than some other player winning two events in a year, for the 20th time, with a small margin. Carlsen could probably even have had a bad London instead of beating Kramnik and winning the event at the end of the year, or not won the blitz world championship with an incredible margin never seen before. But that's just what I think, and enough on the subject for me.

ebutaljib's picture

Oh and when did Carlsen dominate? Maybe when he was 5th in Wijk aan Zee? Or maybe when he was 3rd in Linares? Or 4th in Amber tournament? 2nd in Sofia? 2nd in Dortmund (behind Kramnik)?

That is some real dominance you have there, huh? If you disregard Leon (which you do!) then Carlsen first win came in October 2009 in Nanjing.

2009 has 12 months, you know.

gg's picture

"If someone dominated the first 3 quarters then it was Kramnik who was always 1st"

Amazingly impressive considering that he didn't play a single tournament the first half of the year :) Oh, one rapid minievent that was more of the exhibition kind where he scored the best result against Guseinov and Gashimov, but no one would of course count that as an event that signifies anything whatsoever with regards to the Oscar.

flshstar's picture

Carlsen won the Oscar. It was a done deal. Its been decided and just accept it. All the argument is only for an opinion.People who's votes matter voted for Carlsen. But everyone are entitled to their opinion. Some of Nakamuras fans probably would say he deserve the honor instead, some will pick Aronian or Anand since he is the world champion, it goes on and on and on...never ending arguments.

Patrick's picture

Over 40 comments and no mention at all of Nakamura until your post. Are you some anti-Naka Carlsen fanboy or something? In case you're wondering, I like Carlsen but I'm very upset and disappointed by his decision to not go for the championship title.

reality check's picture

"People who’s votes matter voted for...." Why shd we take the Panel's point of view at face value? The arguments, pro and con, posted up-thread help put the group of judges decision in perspective.
What criteria did the Panel use to determine the winner?

taxi's picture

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