July 31, 2011 1:57

And the 2010 Chess Oscar goes... to Magnus Carlsen

Magnus Carlsen won the 2010 Chess Oscar. The prize is a result of votes by international chess journalists and awarded by Russian chess magazine 64. Last year Carlsen won his first Oscar.

Magnus Carlsen with his first Oscar in Moscow, November last year Sixteen years ago Alexander Roshal and 64 Chess Review magazine revived the Chess Oscar – a special award for the best chess player of the year. Garry Kasparov won it in 1995, 1996, 1999, 2001, and 2002, Vishy Anand was the winner in 1997, 1998, 2003, 2004, 2007, and 2008, Vladimir Kramnik won in 2000, and 2006, Veselin Topalov took the Oscar in 2005, and Magnus Carlsen won in 2009. The 2010 Chess Oscar was awarded based on 111 lists from chess journalists of 36 countries (1st place in the list gives 13 points, 2nd place – 11 points, 3rd place – 9 points, 4th place – 7 points, 5th place – 6 points... 10th place – 1 point). For the second year in a row the Oscar went to Magnus Carlsen, who scored 1264 points. The gap between Carlsen and the runner-up – the World champion Vishy Anand – was mere 20 points! Only for the second time in history of the trophy, it was not given to the World Champion who successfully defended his title – in 1978 Viktor Korchnoi lost the World Championship match to Anatoly Karpov, but nevertheless received the Oscar. Update: as mishanp mentions in the comments, Vladimir Kramnik came 4th (!) in the 2004 Oscar voting. The young Norwegian grandmaster was the world's highest rated player by the end of 2010 (2814 Elo), and won four super-tournaments – Wijk aan Zee, Bazna, Nanjing and London. Even rather mediocre results at the Chess Olympiad and in the Grand Slam final did not overshadow these achievements. In addition, Carlsen was highly successful in speed chess – he tied for first in the Amber tournament and took the bronze medal in the World Blitz Championship in Moscow. Magnus Carlsen was mentioned as the best player of the year in 53 submitted lists. The rest of the top ten looks as follows: 3. Levon Aronian (4 first places, 767 points) 4. Vladimir Kramnik (570 points) 5. Sergey Karjakin (535 points) 6. Veselin Topalov (437 points) 7. Ian Nepomniachtchi (2 first places, 435 points) 8. Vassily Ivanchuk (1 first place, 428 points) 9. Hikaru Nakamura (215 points) 10. Alexander Grischuk (169 points) The prize was first awarded in 1967 to another Scandinavian, the legendary Bent Larsen, who passed away last year aged 75. It was given away uninterrupted until the year 1988, and then it resumed in 1995.

2009 Chess Oscar went to... Magnus Carlsen

Carlsen holding the 2009 trophy

Thanks to Misha Savinov


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Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers


ebutaljib's picture

What did Gelfand do in 2010 that Carlsen refused to?

gg's picture

Finish last in Linares and 8th of 10 in Tal Memorial?

Zacalov's picture

@gg LOLOLOLOLOL, that is too funny

Really though, apart from the obvious fact that this is a 2010 award and the Candidates took place in 2011, Carlsen had no obligation to play the Candidates! Suppose he had some personal reason to not play apart from the silly format which we ALL hated!?

Peter Doggers's picture

Maybe they didn't consider drawing with Leko 'successfully'. ;-) Corrected.

mishanp's picture

Yep - when I was checking it I found Mig Greengard's blog post from back then: http://www.chessninja.com/dailydirt/2005/04/anand-wins-2004-oscar.htm

"It's hard to decide to reward both or punish both Kramnik and Leko for their drawn match..." :)

szoker's picture

As expected ?

mishanp's picture

Although it's quoted in the Russian press release (and the English version above), the statement about it being only the second time in history the prize wasn't given to someone successfully defending his title is wrong. Kramnik came 4th (!) in the 2004 Oscar voting.

p.s. I only know that as someone pointed it out in the comments to the article I wrote on the Oscar yesterday :) http://whychess.org/en/node/1128

Harish Srinivasan's picture

right, unless the russian press release talks only about unified title

Despicableme's picture

I disagree , Gelfand did what Magnus refused to , the oscar should go to him.
But Congrats to Magnus anyway , his dominance is undeniable .

ebutaljib's picture

Here is the slide show through chess year 2010.

vimapa's picture

Well done Magnus!!!

Kevin's picture

Congrats to Magnus

Previous winners http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chess_Oscar

noyb's picture

Award for 2010 should have gone to Vishy! If nothing else for his performance in the WC, overcoming a volcano and beating the challenger in his home country!

gg's picture

I wouldn't have complained if Anand got it, but it was closer than ever and I'd probably have given it to Carlsen myself. He won Wijk, Nanjing and London, all of them super tournaments with Anand in the field, as well as Arctic Securities rapid after beating Anand in the final match. He also won Bazna with a margin of two points and shared first in Amber. He was #1 on five of the six rating lists. Anand won against Topalov, but that was very close and Topalov is no longer as strong as he was a few years back, and Anand didn't win anything else. Not surprising that the vote was close.

Peter Doggers's picture

"The award comprises a bronze statuette titled The Fascinated Wanderer."

pabitra's picture

Whom does it represent and by whom was it sculpted? Any place where I could get details , especially its relation to chess?

pabitra's picture

What does the trophy indicate? Who is that Oscar?

bronkenstein's picture

If the pool was taken from bunch of fanboys or randoms on the street , I could understand perfectly (and even expect ) the winner , but it surprises me that journalists actually voted that way .

The Golden Knight's picture

If you win every tournament you play in, AND you are at the top of the ratinglists - OF COURSE you are the right winner of the Chess Oscar!

Thomas's picture

Just for the record: Carlsen didn't win every tournament he played in, finishing third with less than 50% in the strongest one (Bilbao).

If the criterion is "winning every tournament but one", he has Karjakin for company, Aronian is also close - and unlike Carlsen, both had fine results in team events (Olympiad and World Team Championship). In rating terms, Karjakin gained 56 points in the course of 2010, Aronian 24 points, Carlsen 4 points. True, Carlsen remained ahead of them - primarily because he was demonstrably better in previous years.

With all this, I do not question Carlsen's Chess Oscar, just exaggerated claims by (one of) his fans and Despicableme saying that "his dominance is undeniable". To me, dominance means a considerable gap with everyone else, but that gap is smaller than it might seem.

lefier's picture

Well deserved by Carlsen, but we will still wait to see if he becomes 'black caviar' according to Grischuk...

redwhitechess's picture

chess oscar = highest rating or/and world champion ??

btw, I have no complaint for Carlsen as Oscar recipient, just that we need other figure so it will more refreshing.

columbo's picture

kind of red with cheese kind of figure ?

Chess Fan's picture

As expected?
I would expect a World Champion who defended his title in a dramatic last game win under the circumstances before and during the match to be considered a strong favorite for the Oscar.
Still, with Magus with his Fischer like wins, even winning the tournaments narrowly over second placed Anand when they played together, is not a surprise.
But ideally, I would say both deserved it equally, and if it should be one, it should be the World Champion, definitely for 2010.
But good luck to Magnus, whose style of play I love only next to Anand, along with Aronian at joint two.

SetNoEscapeOn's picture

A fair result. Carlsen won the Oscar by dominating tournaments in a way that is reminiscent of Kasparov. If Anand had won only one tournament the award would be his, but alas...

SetNoEscapeOn's picture

Although it is strange that the article fails to mention the fact that Vishy was 2-0 head to head against Carlsen in classical chess in 2010... that probably helps to explain the near dead heat in voting.

kaboom's picture

Measured by any standard, it had to be Anand or Carlsen for 2010. Both choices are easily defendable. Any other name is not...

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