Italian/American grandmaster Fabiano Caruanais my vote for chessplayer of the year (2014). Born in 1992, the 22-year old is currently ranked number two in the world by ELO, but his real achievement has been in capturing the hearts and imagination of millions of chess fans thru out the world. Especially, Caruana’s simultaneous exhibition in St.Louis earlier this year–scoring 8.5 points from a possible 10–reminded the chess world that Bobby Fischer-type of achievements are still possible. In the past year alone, Caruana has gained 38 rating points. CONGRATS!!
FASHION STATEMENT OF THE YEAR!
Norwegian chess prodigy and currently rated number one in the world (not to mention holder of the world title), Magnus Carlsen always generates excitement and ….awe with his at the board (BORED!?) body language. To the unknowing public, Magnus seems to be saying ”W.T.F am I doing here??”
SMILE OF THE YEAR!!
Legendary Viktor Korchnoi (between Petra and Sosonko) enjoying a joke.LINKToday 83 years of age, Viktor is confined to a wheelchair and virtually unable to do what he LOVES best: play chess.
STATESMAN OF THE YEAR!
Vladimir Putin is loved and hated, depending on who you speak to. Nobody is indifferent to Putin. Vilified in N.America, Europe and to much of the British Common-Wealth nations, Putin’s reputation to the remaining 80% of the world is quite different. To many Putin is a great statesman, popular leader and–surprisingly–a defender of the free world (just being provocative!). Ok, let me clarify: the free world as envisioned by the signing fathers of the US Declaration of Independence!
MOST PLEASANT SURPRISE OF 2014!
China taking GOLD at the Tromso Olympiad! Coming 36 years after China first participated at the FIDE Olympics. Their team was the youngest of the top teams. Which speaks of a legacy that might come to be…can you one day , soon, come to think of a world where the Chinese will hold all of the important world FIDE titles? I certainly can…
2014 marked Kasparov’s 2nd failed-attempt to storm the FIDE presidency. Super well financed and marketed, Kasparov’s team made tactical mistake after tactical mistake, losing bigtime in Canada, Spain and the rest of Europe. An election marked by , if not outright bribery (on both sides), then the lowest point in ethics and morals that this writer has ever seen inside FIDE.
SUCCESS STORY OF THE YEAR!
Qiyu Zhou dreamed of being Champion. 2014 was her year! LINK A heartwarming and wonderfully inspiring story of a young girl who–finding out how cruelly competitive childrens’-chess really is–refused to give up her dream. ”The thing about chess is that whenever you see a happy face coming out of the playing venue, there must be a sad or crying face.”