Chess Oscar

In 1967, Spanish journalist Jorge Puig Laborda (1928-1989) of Barcelona, and the Association Internationale de la Presse Echiqueenne (International Association of Chess Journalists or AIPE) created what is known as the Chess Oscar.  It is an international award given annually to the best and most entertaining chess player that year.  The winner is selected by votes that are cast by chess journalists from around the world. The voting procedure is to request accredited chess journalists to submit a list of the ten best players of the year.  The award itself currently takes the form of a bronze statuette representing a man in a boat and called “The Fascinated Wanderer.”  The statuatte used to be a lady standing underneath an umbrella.  Now the statuette is named after a character drawn from the 19th century novelist Nikolai Leskov’s most famous work.  The prizes were awarded from 1967 until 1988.  Puig died in 1989 and the Chess Oscar was stopped for several years.  In 1995, it was resumed by 64, the Russian chess magazine.  Its editor-in-chief is Mark Glukhovsky.  The first Chess Oscar went to Grandmaster Bent Larsen in 1967 for his four tournament wins that year.  The award ceremony was held in Madrid, Spain.


1967  Bent Larsen

1968  Boris Spassky

1969  Boris Spassky

1970  Bobby Fischer

1971  Bobby Fischer

1972  Bobby Fischer

1973  Anatoly Karpov

1974  Anatoly Karpov

1975  Anatoly Karpov

1976  Anatoly Karpov

1977 Anatoly Karpov

1978  Viktor Korchnoi

1979  Anatoly Karpov

1980  Anatoly Karpov

1981  Anatoly Karpov

1982  Gary Kasparov

1983  Gary Kasparov

1984  Anatoly Karpov

1985  Gary Kasparov

1986  Gary Kasparov

1987  Gary Kasparov

1988  Gary Kasparov

1995  Gary Kasparov

1996  Gary Kasparov

1997  Viswanathan Anand

1998  Viswanathan Anand

1999  Gary Kasparov

2000  Vladimir Kramnik

2001  Gary Kasparov

2002  Gary Kasparov

2003  Viswanathan Anand

2004  Viswanathan Anand

2005  Veselin Topalov

2006  Vladimir Kramnik

2007  Viswanathan Anand

2008  Viswanathan Anand

2009  Magnus Carlsen

2010  Magnus Carlsen

2011  Magnus Carlsen

2012  Magnus Carlsen


The 2012 Chess Oscar was decided in June 2013.  It was based on Carlsen’s 2012 results:


2nd place in Tata Steel Tournament

1st at Tal Memorial

2nd at the World Rapid Chess Championship

1st at Grand Masters Final

Highest chess rating, surpassing Kasparov’s best historical mark

1st at the 4th London Chess Classic.


6-time Oscar winner Vishy Anand said this of the Chess Oscars, “Winning the Oscars gives you the satisfaction that people have appreciated your games.  In the years when the World Championship didn’t happen, the Oscars gave a sense of order in the chess world.”


Another category of the Chess Oscar is best woman.  Judit Polgar has won the women’s Chess Oscar 8 times.